Froid: Running Free And Wild With Flowers In My Hair.

{Photo credit: Simone Winkler}

{Photo credit: Simone Winkler}

Today I want to tell a story. One that I am telling for the first time — and that I will be telling for the last time. A story about love, nature, and running free and wild.


I drew the painting above when I was 17 years old. I drew a person with no body and a heavy red head that is caught in the web. She is caught in a lime-green toxic world that she was born into — surrounded by seeming coldness (froid), yet aware of a warm place somewhere far away that is watching her with love.


That person was born into a world in which her elders didn’t know very much about love, as they hadn’t experienced it themselves.

In that little world of hers, she bought love for a high price, and sometimes she obtained a little bit of it by enduring emotional abuse, emotional distance, an alcoholic and suicidal surrounding, and more.

In that world, a small token of love could be bought with perfect grades, by being more and more and better, just never quite enough, with constant work, with the yearning attempt to get some attention, by enduring being lonely and bullied throughout all school years — but it never ever came for free.


The little girl was exhausted, lonely, and immensely hurt. She knew she needed to be loved to be alive, and thought that if she stopped eating, the right people would notice her disappearance and miss her, and so she started buying love at the price of self-destruction.

She knew that this had to be the way because love came at a high cost, always. She was also really afraid to grow into a woman, as she saw so many women living in so much pain.

She ended up with an incredibly scary weight as a broken-down yet awfully strong statue of bones, with a hot and fierce head, ready to give it her all, even her life — as a little girl with no body, caught in an ever deeper darkness of the oh-so-blinding lime-green world, so very hungry for love.


This little girl was Simone — me — at age 17. I dropped out of school.

As life tightened its noose around me with a very dysfunctional body, with pain from my bones even just from lying flat, and endless physical and emotional sorrow and suffering, I decided to take a jump into the deep abyssal unknown and get full committal help.

I drove into the void, to a clinic where I was told that they’d teach me how to walk through life again. “You will have to learn how to run for yourself though,” they said. Every bite of every meal, as hard as it was, was a step into freedom, a breath of fresh air, and filled me with energy from the warm watching world.

Slowly the cold snow outside melted, and the tree in the yard grew leaves, sending me its nurturing energy of nature and the warm world, day by day, ever more, like a true miracle.


After six weeks, I was allowed to leave the clinic and emerge into the world. It was still lime-green, and I was sad and scared. Nothing had changed. But I had. I even had a new scary body.

And so I took all that stored-up energy and decided to restart school. I finished 15 exams within less than two weeks to make up for the school year, and graduated with final exams and highest possible grades a month later. I traveled Europe on a train and explored, searching for places that weren’t lime-green.

I enrolled in an excellent engineering program, and graduated in less than minimum time with distinction. I went on to work toward my PhD in Canada, and I am now proud to be an accomplished researcher at one of the most renowned universities in the world.


Achieving this rather astonishing career success was quite easy — you might laugh — because matters of the head were never a problem. It was the heart that was still not sure, it was the heart that had never seen love that came for free and kept buying it for secondary currency at the black market of the lime-green world.

In all these years, there had been many such attempts: there was the time when she got bits of it by allowing to get hurt emotionally and physically, choked with pillows and words, stabbing like swords. There was the other time when she thought distance was normal, and invested her entire fortune in trying not to feel.

There were more times, and in all of them she got immensely hurt when at last, they left her because she had nothing left to give after using up her fortune in the hungry gamble for love.


After many years, I had developed into a genuinely happy person, enjoying my life at every breath and moment, had found freedom in every step, dancing to the loving witch-broom sounds all through the night. I had a very healthy friend environment.

Yet, a little piece of that little shattered heart still belonged to the lime-green world, still paying a small price each time love was at stake. Then, one late night, a little yellow bird took the little heart with him, and flew into the room of a quirky stranger who lived deep inside the warm watching world.

He took it on a journey where it received love for free, where nothing was hidden, and everything was open — for the first time in its life.

The quirky wizard that night left his window open, so that the little yellow bird could do what he was destined to do — set Simone’s heart free to let it fly; to see and love and breathe the warm watching world that suddenly surrounded her.


And as such, I am now standing on a cliff, watching the horizon and the crashing waves, breathing the cool and fresh air of immense freedom.

Having crossed over the mountaintop from a dark valley of emotional dependence, where love was expensive and unattainable at last, brainwashed, where each giver of love had to be admired like a North Korean dictator, where people were hungry.

I crossed over into a peaceful valley where people are wise and calm, where people wear flowers in their hair, and where love comes for free.


Today I am standing on this cliff, and my travels have ended, my past and the lime-green world have sailed away into the distance. I can and am ready now to turn around and give love, to others, and especially to a next generation without carrying over old hurt.

My mission to break the generational chain of pain has been solved and completed — and as such, one fine day, the little hearts that I will bring to this awesomely loving world will smile and jump and dance in excitement. Because no little heart deserves to cry alone like so many of us did.


And as we speak, a brand new moment comes up on the horizon just for me, a moment being the only thing I want to see and live in, the only thing that counts and that I can count on. I am free at last, full of passion and storm and calm, freed like a bird after having gotten lost in a dark little room many decades ago, free at last.

Free and united with the trees, the ocean, the wind — where we are all one to speak and sing to each other, in the language of nature.

I have decorated the red head with flowers, and the only sign of the once boiling energy inside can be seen when I am igniting a fire, a world in which nature and my passion for life live and grow together as one, and play the song of loving flying witches.


I have learnt to run, and run I will. Run far, run wild, run free — with flowers in my hair, smiling in excitement at every step. The world is an incredibly happy place.


Today I told a story. I told it for the first time. And I told it for the last time to myself. I will keep telling it to those who suffer — to help and encourage them. I will run for hope — against emotional trauma, eating disorders, domestic violence, and for education. I will run for love.

The wild dance of the flower girls,
Outside the longing shade,
Observed by wits for times to pass,
Until she leave at last.

For when the sun is right,
They’ll climb up way the mountain top,
With wits and heart to ask,
For them to bloom at last.


SimoneWinklerSimone Winkler is in love with life. She is also in love with nature, dancing, positivity, and ultrarunning. She works as a biomedical engineer at Stanford University, and as a professional photographer. If anyone asked her what is on her mind for life, she’d bluntly answer, “Passion.” For anything and everything, every leaf on every tree, every smile on every person’s face, for every scientific discovery, and for the sunrise that we are offered for free every single day. For the realization of every dream, and be it only in your imaginative world of wonder. And for every tear and the overcoming of every challenge, fierce we stand. With flowers in our hair. For living the moment in each moment, because that’s all we have, that’s all that counts, and all that we can take for granted. You could contact her via Facebook, and find her photography here.


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