Nature & Berlin
I have been living for almost 7 years in Berlin and every time I tell someone, I am surprised that I have been living for that long in this city. It still feels like I just moved here because the city is so big and there is always something new to discover. But then I think of everything that happened in these 7 years and then it feels like a lifetime.
I still remember how I felt the first couple of months living in this city. I hated it, it was dirty, loud and people looked so depressed. It was winter and it felt like I made the biggest mistake of my life. I was born and raised in Antwerp and I always thought that I grew up in a big city. Until I came to Berlin and I realized, Oh this is what a big city is like. So it was definitely a culture shock. But then luckily spring came and Berlin started to bloom. And I started to discover the city in a new light.
Because I love spending time in nature, I tried to be outdoors as much as possible. And that is why I love Berlin so much because there are so many green areas to go to. I quickly discovered that the FKK culture is everywhere. That for me was part of my culture shock. Being nude in a public place was not easy for me in the beginning. But now it is second nature and I enjoy it. For me, it is so important having this balance between city life and nature to recharge.
That was the beginning of my self-discovery and the path to feeling good in my own skin. Allowing myself to discover new things sexually was very important to me. Because I felt stuck in this idea of what and how sex should be. So I wanted to break down all these notions and trying to erase the shame that I felt about my sexual life. That is why cruising was so important to me to try that out. In a time of dating & hook-up apps, I felt cruising was like a last resort thing, almost like a sad attempt for sex. Just writing this down now, makes me feel disappointed in myself that I ever had this idea about it. Because spoiler alert, I love cruising and I love the connection that I make with the other person, even if it is just a short one.
The first time I went cruising, my heart was racing and I was scared. But it is kind of like learning how to ride a bike. In the beginning, it is not easy and scary but then once you got the hang of it, you enjoy doing a tour. It is this non-verbal communication that is important. It is like learning a new language so for me sometimes I was lost in translation. For me these moments in the woods or the bushes are real connections. I am not staring at a screen asking for pictures and other details to determine if I would hook up with this person. I am outdoors surrounded by nature and other persons. Of course, it is still based on external attributes and physical attraction and yes sometimes it can hurt if the other person doesn’t make eye contact and looks the other way. Making eye contact and giving a little smile to another person feels more natural to me than writing the same messages over and over.
I am grateful that Berlin has so many options to cruise and that so many people in the city enjoy it as well. But it took me a while to get rid of this shame, to allow myself this and enjoy it. I feel it is important to openly talk about it and break the stigma that other people might have.