Reimagining Disappointment At 27: Two Weeks Of Failure

I’m drinking the tea that Tanya gave me when I saw her at Christmastime. Indian Holy Basil Tea. I’m drinking it because it’s supposed to be good for people like me; excitable people. I’m drinking Indian Holy Basil Tea because I’m excited.

Agitated would really be more like it. I’m very, very agitated. I have been, to varying degrees for the last week or so. My agitation comes with a host of accessories: chest pain, irritability, fatigue, and a general sensation that I am–emotionally–wringing my hands. Emotional hand-wringing. Heart-wringing, then? Maybe that explains the chest pain.

The sources of my agitation are varied, however the Grand Kahuna–the hawaiian high priest of my problems–is the foreigner’s office in Berlin. Last week they denied me, for the 2nd time since November, a visa on the grounds that I do not posess proper health insurance. I, however, do not posess proper health insurance because I do not posess a visa. It is far more complicated than all that, but in a nutshell, there you have it.
I have one more avenue I’m going to explore on Wednesday morning (the next time my case worker will be taking phone calls) and failing that, it will be time to hire a lawyer. A lawyer for my troubles. A lawyer to guide me by the hand like some blind child through the schoolyard of immigration. And there are many potholes in the ground. And the kids are playing ‘keep away’. And my right to be here is the baaaaaallllllllll!!!

I’m just too anal retentive. I like to cross my ‘t’s and dot my ‘i’s….as long as there’s the threat of deportation I just can’t seem to relax……

Then there’s my application with the Kunstlersozialkasse, the KSK. They’re a sort of government-run organization that acts as an employer for artists, enabling them to sign on with publicly-run health insurance providers and paying half. If you’re an artist here, it’s the way to do it. Which is not to say that they’re a club to which gaining membership is easy, simply that it’s worth a try.

My case worker at the foreigner’s office told me that I should simply call them up and ask for a faster answer to my application–one before the 10th of May, when I have my next meeting at the fo’ o’. Implied in her solution, however, are two fallacies. The first is that the KSK would be any more receptive to bending their own rules than would be the foreigner’s office (and indeed, I had asked them if there was any mechanism for speeding up the application review process, and was told that there is none). The second is the suggestion that my application will be accepted. If only I could be so sure….
A friend, who has been a great help since this whole visa-debacle began, called the KSK again last week to ask if they would speed up my application review. She was told that they needed further information from me, and that I would be receiving a form in the mail. The form arrived, and while most questions were straightforward–even things I had answered in my initial application–one question poses a problem. They want documentation from the last six months of artistic activity in Germany. Not just proof that I’ve been working in the studio, but a bill for sold work complete with a bank statement showing the money; or a contract with a gallery; or material from a show I was in.
This is a problem. There was a sale, but I was paid in cash And while there is talk here and there of a commission or a show, I have no contracts or documents of proof.
All of which makes me feel, when I look at it, like rather a deadbeat artist, a failure even. Yes, despite having worked consistently for the last 6 months, I can’t produce the least document to show that I am an artist in Germany. If a painting gets painted in Germany and nobody sees it…….
….which throws my KSK application (at least for the moment) into question, which complicates–by extension–my visa application.

At it’s worst, it feels like the country I want doesn’t want me and I’m a failure as an artist. Harsh words, I know, but I did say ‘worst.’

Add to it all the fact that my bike (The Bee) got sick and it’s going to cost 55€, and I had a slight fender-bender of the heart on Valentine’s Day, and I’d say it’s been 2 weeks of standout vexation.

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7 Comments on “Reimagining Disappointment At 27: Two Weeks Of Failure”

  1. John Says:

    I’m not much for inspiration of the hand-on-shoulder wisdom variety. But I can say that, of what I know of you, you’re kind of awesome. So keep being awesome.


  2. Noah Says:

    Oh man this is so boring I fell asleep on the toilet.

  3. takosuke Says:

    oh oh no dont worry about that at all. Ive been through the process of making up proof of (nonexistant) artistic careers, both for myself and for other people (the japanese girl i told you miraculously got her visa thru a lawyer), and its not that bad.
    Think of it this way – the bureaucrats are a bunch of squares and they don’t know shit about how artists career work, they only know about the really professionalized ones who have other sub-artists in their payroll!they don’t know. Just do some good looking prints of posters for your exhibitions yo never had, get some recommendation letters from friends, get that buyer to write you some kind of invoice…its got nothing to do with being a better artist just a better cheater
    lawyers, though. I suspect bureaucrats are just gatekeepers, not telling you anything that could help you, unless you really know the rulesi have to got os leep now

  4. tgood Says:

    Hey, I know of some health insurance you can get without a visa. Check out Hanse-Merkur, they have a visitors health insurance and it’s cheap.

  5. salty wisdom Says:

    hey, thanks for the tip.
    Actually I already had that one, and it’s just in the last year (I’ve since been told by someone at Hanse-Merkur) that the foreigner’s office has stopped accepting it. I went in with that insurance in February and they still refused me. However just today I got the contract confirmation for another type of insurance from Hanse-Merkur. Normal private-type. Not so cheap, but I’ve been guaranteed the fo’o’ accepts it….

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