Dear Reader, this essay is on Hommage to my family and their history. Grown up in the south-west of Germany, I left my parents house by the age of 19. Over years of therapy, I discovered that I left a void for my parents, the same way, they did with their way of not seeing me. This is an imaginary walk to an old house, set in the wild and melancholic woods of Ravensburg.

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It’s again just me, another millennial or member of this ominous generation y. Why you? Why me? Why them? So many why’s, that we can’t even remember, what we wanted to do with our lives. Never to mention, we have to face a long line of historical and personal events, in order to avoid making the same mistakes as our parents or grandparents, all over again. We’re a generation full of doubt and fear for what we will face in the future. Do we have to flee as well one day? I don’t know, but I had that fear so often in my life, until I just had to do it. All of the sudden, as all refugees had to. Being gay with a philosophy full of conventions, restrictions and the fear of being seen by others, influenced me all my teenage years and would still do so, if I hadn’t found out, that this was the missing why in my DNA. Why couldn’t I see and be seen, as I need it? Shouldn’t be that difficult? But for some people it is. 

I became a refugee. My own family members were never able to see me, until my secrets became hard to ignore and even harder to live with it anymore. There was no way, to cover up these kinds of sins and pray a handful Ave Marias, to get out of this. I just couldn’t resist, to fire back with the words circulating in my head, the particular moment, my uncle dropped another of his racist comment. I had to speak and tell what I was carrying for so many years. Being excluded, for what I am, for what you are, what we all are, human beings with special preferences. They call us the others. Or inverted, as in just wrong. As we would be different from other humans, just by having other sexual ideas or cultural backgrounds. For me there was now wall. For him, there was a big one. 

Responding to what had happened, my grandmother squeezed out a single tear, full of resentment, which was collecting in her dark brown eyes, paired with fear and neglect. This moment I knew, why she was still hating my mother, years after their divorce. She and her disbelieve in god, was what must have infected me, to become a sick creature. 

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Dear grandma, there is no cure for this disease, because it isn’t one. My father was silent and left the room. Don’t tell anyone. Be silent. Just don’t talk about it. Commands over commands, but why didn’t they just see me? Don’t judge, why should you? I am your son. 

I couldn’t even introduce my boyfriend to him for years. He’d known, but his way was silently ignoring, he didn’t want it to be true. There was always another way, to make it good again, even after he destroyed my computer on which he’d found gay porn. His answer was Money. We didn’t had that much, when I was younger, but he does nowadays and I’m a struggling Artist. Why didn’t you do something appropriate? Why haven’t you been to university? Their questions, are still lingering around in my mental atmosphere, every time after visiting them. I didn’t want to. Neither did I wanted money or expensive gifts. Nor from my boyfriend or my parents, if this is their value for love? What does a new phone mean, if you don’t use it to connect through it? Why not just value me and my ideas, instead? Cause I can make it alone. 

“I see a red door and I want it painted black
No colors anymore I want them to turn black
I see the girls walk by dressed in their summer clothes
I have to turn my head until my darkness goes”

THE ROLLING STONES

I’ve been the outsider all my life, never wanting the attention for being different. As I’ve known it, standing outside and thinking differently, meant being bullied for your whole life. Until I had to do it myself. My way, with words. I had to find a way to get on ease. I’d used words, even more painful, than a knife could possibly be, tu hurt those, who’d hurt me first. I had to question them all, with the endless string of feelings, attached to that heavy rock I was carrying around. Find a way of telling the truth or at least discuss, as the adults called it. The consequences for that unwelcome behavior were harsh, but I’d deserved it. There was no other way, then just writing about, what I thought and felt in this moments of looniness and fear, when there were teachers or classmates judging you for being an independent thinking human. It was the first time, my father recognized me and my power. Neglecting that strength of mine, he said, I would try to be something better than he was. All I’ve got was punishment and grounding, after this conference with the principal on this very special 16th birthday. Why? Isn’t that what parents wish for their children? To make it better, than they did? Or at least, in their own ways? But it was the phone, which opened my horizon to new adventures and my first class flight ticket out of this world, finally to Berlin

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Having access to the whole world and dating apps, made me find my first prince charming, on his trip, heading south in a shining airplane. It was the possibility to be seen in many angles. On runways, behind the scenes or sexy—in the millennial nudes way—he’d seen me in many angles through his phone. We’ve lived together for almost five years, messaged and called each other every day and on every urge we’ve had, until we weren’t happy any more.

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One day, I couldn’t write or talk anymore, I couldn’t stand the side of his secrets and the lies, he had told me over the years, the huge pile of unopened letters and the loss of communication—again—as I decided to leave him and be free. Leave the guy, who once had left me on a cold snowy January morning, the 5th in 2012 to be exact, just to come back and leave with me for good, a few months later. We’ve been closely together, loved each other trough hell and back, he’d freed me of my family and their beliefs, he’d given me so much, until the only thing left, was a distant email from him, with the urge to send him his boxes to South Africa. Why so distant? I did everything for you.

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Looking back, I could almost laugh about these emails of him and the others I’ve seen. I could print them, curating them, almost like a bible of todays communication. I tried one of this modern day letter to my parents. But even in this case, the writers words are a struggle for my origins, who don’t like to call or visit me here in my home, before there is no wedding, or worst, a funeral to attend. Why? I really don’t know, but I feel home in Berlin. Home again, calming to be here, after thinking about them. The line „gonna follow the lights to the love“ from Unkle comes in my mind, while I was thinking about Berlin, as the place where I found shelter and peace of mind. Here, I could finally breath and see the world through my eyes. 

I’d left the house, which has lost its signal to the world, so old and sinister, resting silently in the woods, away from the others. Its inhabitants, against all beliefs in God, breath the air of this haunted walls, still believing demons and all sorts of monstrosity are amongst us. Not to mention, I could be one for them. The dusty walls, are still breathing in my memory and haunting me at night. Blank walls of a small room built into the attic and covered in dust, my old room.

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This dreams have no happiness or glimpse of hope, that the future would lead me there for a good reason. Once a lighthouse in my life, guiding me through my childhood, it became an abandoned place, overshadowed with the sorrow about taking care for my originals. Nothing’s changed since I left, the red door, I would paint black forever, but never will be able to. Coming back seems, they’ve all lost hope and just live to die. Again and again, it hasn’t changed, how they see me, but it did how I see them. Again, who I am, to judge them?

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Them, they’re part of my history, while the path I have chosen to find myself in this certain era—with its wild and unpredictable decision—is led by heart. Why? Because I believe, that we all exist to co-exist and no matter which decision we make, it has consequences to others, no matter how much we try do denial it. Face me, I face you. Maybe this is the key? △

Alexandre Renaldy
Posted by:Alexandre Renaldy

Editor in Chief, Work: The Corner Berlin, flair magazine, H.O.M.E.; Signature Places, Vestiaire Collective, EVE images, B'SPOQUE magazine etc.