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Befriending the fear

Ece Temelkuran
Ece Temelkuran
I’ve been telling this too many times, maybe, but here we go with another reminder.
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This is our last free letter. Throughout March, we’ll be thinking and writing about ‘befriending the fear”, the 3rd chapter in Together. 

Befriending the fear
I am writing to you from the airport, on my way to Hamburg. When I left, the emptiness of my Zagreb apartment looked like Picasso’s “Portrait of a Weeping Woman”; distorted and painfully beautiful. I already know, the kindergarten playground behind my apartment that looked like a small republic of happy dwarves will be badly missed. The coarse sound of the old ceramic heater that compassionately has been putting me to sleep for the last five years will be my go-to mental place if insomnia hits. 
I am traveling light. All the small, seemingly unnecessary nice stuff that makes the home cozy is left behind in Zagreb. Have you seen Freud’s house in London? I was amazed when I saw the numerous tiny trinkets he carried with him when he ran away from Austria during the Nazi invasion. As opposed to Sigmund, I am traveling light. Because I am living in the 21st century, and I know Christina Bargu was right when she said in our previous English meeting that home is made of moments of intimacy for the homeless. Unfortunately, as the war rages in Ukraine and many are forced to leave their homes, this fluid definition of the home might be helpful for the new refugees. It is not only them, though. As all that is solid melts into the air, as Marx said once, we might all have to fluidize our definitions to enable ourselves to fit our age of uncertainties. 
We’ll be discussing befriending the fear during March, the third chapter in Together. How befitting, ah? 
Thanks to the dizzying speed of world events, we don’t have a scarcity of fear at the moment. In our last Turkish meeting, Yağmur Steidl, who lives in Vienna, told about her mother back in Turkey and that her first concern related to war was the future natural gas bills. “How odd,” Yağmur was saying, “when people are dying over there, she was thinking about this.” It is not at all strange. Humans do get funny when they are afraid. The confusion disables us in terms of classifying fears in the correct order. We might find ourselves holding onto frivolous things to find our balance when the ground under our feet shake — just like Freud probably did once with his trinkets.  
Home is made of moments of intimacy for the homeless.
It seems absurd to remember that people in Kyiv were filling the restaurants when it was almost inevitable that Putin would attack the following morning. When afraid, the human brain plays bizarre games; it shuts down with a soothing illusion. The lukewarm motto circulates between the neural ways; No, it wouldn’t happen. But then, when your wine glass holding hand suddenly begins to practice how to work a machine gun, one cannot find time to stop to think how crazy it all is. Like a wound-up toy, you disassociate and begin to do the things you are supposed to do. When the unbearably high noise of war takes over, thinking becomes almost impossible anyway. 
When afraid, the human brain plays bizarre games; it shuts down with a soothing illusion.
I feel like the worst killjoy when I say that such conditions are no longer limited to war zones. But, unfortunately, life is such now all over the planet. Ours is the age of uncertainty, and now we must find new ways to live with our cluster of fears — unless, of course, you are rich enough to build an impregnable castle for yourself. 
Tell me, how are you managing your fears? What is your new fear that wasn’t there ten years ago? 
Next week, I will write to you from Hamburg, from my new home. Let’s see how many new fears I’ll have by then. Ha! 
Don’t miss out on the other issues by Ece Temelkuran
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Ece Temelkuran @LettersFromEce

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