berlin, dahlia, dahlia schweitzer, electro, identity, los angeles, nyc, reinvention, writing
Photo from my first tour in Berlin.
[As I go through massive change in my life at the moment, I am reminded of those other moments of massive change in my life, when I left NYC for Berlin, and then when I left Berlin for LA. I’m revisiting those changes partly out of nostalgia and partly as a way to feel more grounded and complete now. As part of that process, I am sharing some entries from my diary as I remind myself of what that time felt like. This is circa 2003.]
I am even more in love with this city then ever this time around and desperately trying to figure out what I want to do next.
Fact: I have never felt so at home in my life as I do in Berlin. I have never felt so validated, so convinced that what I was doing was right.
Fact: New York leaves me with self-doubt. What is it about Berlin that is so damn different?
Fact: I performed Saturday night to a crowd of 600 people at 4am. The party was still going at 6am. Makes New York look like a bunch of uptight wankers. People here just seem to have their priorities straight. They are warmer and more open and more energetic. It is something magical that I can’t explain. It is like a drug.
Fact: As much as I crave it, I’m terrified of change.
My head feels like it’s on a roller coaster ride. There is so much whizzing through, it’s taking everything I’ve got to hold onto the sides of the car and to keep my head from flipping back. The wind is in my hair, my hands are out the window, and I’m racing down the road, with no control over anything — and all I can do is not fight it, let myself go with it — because resistance is futile and will only make it harder.
I went to this party in order to introduce myself to Kiki from BPitch Control to see if maybe I could convince him to work with me. I couldn’t find him, I got totally frustrated by the attitude in the club, and was on my way out, when I ran into someone I’d met before who introduced me to someone else from New York. “Maybe you guys will know each other? He’s also from NY.”
Of course we didn’t know each other, but we totally hit it off, anyway.
I ended up spending the entire evening — maybe five hours – making some of the most honest, direct, no-bullshit conversation. The fact that he’s Ice-T’s producer, the fact that he’s an electro legend, the fact that he’s been djing since he was seven, the fact that Afrika talked to me as if he’d known me forever, only served to make his opinions and his comments carry all the more weight.
Basically, the point of the conversation was, “Why the hell aren’t I living in Berlin now?”
What am I afraid of? Why can’t I commit to myself and my dreams? Why am I afraid to put it on the line? Why am I hedging? Why, if this city feels more right than anything else, am I going back to New York? What can New York give me? Why do I even want to pay one more month of New York rent? Why don’t I put my money where my mouth is and really go for it?
Afrika took me to one of the top electro studios in Berlin and introduced me to several of the top electro producers, including some of the top djs in Europe. After opening my big mouth and telling one of them the reasons why I didn’t like his latest track (and he made the changes I suggested and acknowledged that I was right), he gave me his number and asked if we could do some work together next week.
As if that wasn’t enough, later that night, we all went to see the Chemical Brothers dj at a club called Cookies, off Unter den Linden. I arrived in style with one of the greatest djs in Europe, not to mention my new best friend, Afrika.
Certainly makes one wonder what there is to go home to in New York…
Fact: This is the city where all my opportunities lie. This city puts my pictures in magazines, introduces me to international booking agents, gives me audiences of 600, and provides me with the best fucking techno I’ve heard in my entire life.
What, exactly, am I going to get out of going back to New York?
What am I really so afraid of?
So the question is, do I move here? The funny thing is, at this point, other than the fact that I’d like a coat or two; I don’t give a shit about anything that is back in NYC. I made a list of all the things I would have to do in order to wrap up loose ends in New York and move here. The list was surprisingly short. It’s almost disappointing that what we think is stable, what we’ve spent five years building, can be wrapped up with a couple lines on a steno-pad.
I feel like I’ve been swept off my feet in a dizzying love affair, and I can’t remember what life felt like before.