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Siebenkilopaket: Courage to be visible

Hello! I’m Daniela, I’m 39 years old, and at siebenkilopaket I blog about everyday life in my rainbow family. We – that is my enchanting wife, our two wonderful boys, our female boxer Emmy, and I – together create the colorful, loud, happy chaos we call life.
And as if that weren’t adventures enough, we also fight for important causes like recognition, equality, and inclusion. As same-sex parents and mothers of a child with a disability, our paths may not always be linear, but we are rewarded with the most beautiful sights – sights that few people ever get to see ❤️

How would your 20-year-old self describe you today?

Wow! What a fascinating question! I have to admit, the first spontaneous thought I had about that was: I think we would have simply walked past each other :) But if I think about it a little longer, I am certain that we would have had a lot to say to each other. The self I am today would revel in memories of how easy it was to wander through life, and I would marvel at the young woman who, despite her history, radiates so much joy. My former self would almost certainly be impressed by this woman of today who follows her path imperturbably – no matter how many twists and turns and detours it takes. And also speaks openly and honestly about how it feels when the path doesn’t always just follow a straight line.

When do you feel free?

I always feel free when I can put my focus fully on my family. I thrive when I’m surrounded by my loved ones and can happily forget everything else going on around me. Whether it’s a cozy afternoon doing crafts with the kids at home or a long weekend on the North Sea coast: I don’t need time for myself – what really fuels me is the time we spend together, just for us, and our family life.

Of course, all that implies a working assumption that we are indeed recognized as being a family. Unfortunately, as a rainbow family, that’s not the case at all and the road to getting there is a very, very long one. Although much has been achieved in recent years to promote equality for gay couples, it is unfortunately still not a given today for same-sex couples to have children. Quite the opposite, in fact: There is talk of privileges and advantages, while all that is needed is acceptance. I am afraid that as long as this isn’t the case, it’s also not possible to feel completely free – I, too, haven’t quite succeeded so far.

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When was the last time you did something a little bit crazy and when was the last time you were brave?

Last year! No question about it! Taking parental leave, packing our bags, setting off, and getting far, far away from what had become our new everyday life. My wife and I had our second child in 2018. The pregnancy was a complicated one and ended with a birth that came far too early, in the 32nd week of pregnancy, which unfortunately didn’t remain without consequence: Two cerebral hemorrhages resulted in early brain damage, which affected both the locomotor system and the optic nerves. The time that followed – fraught with uncertainty, insecurity, and fear – was by far the greatest challenge of our lives, knocking us far, far off our center. There was no one who could tell us what would happen to our son and how our family life would unfold. Packing everything up on the spot and escaping this new daily life of therapy treatments, hospital visits, and terrifying diagnoses was the craziest and best decision we’ve made in the last few years.

This journey has allowed us to reclaim the time to get to know him, which we were deprived of as a result of his excessively premature birth and the ensuing complications.
Since then I have continued to be courageous every day and try to rely on my gut feelings, to live in the present, to look at the future with new eyes, and to leave my comfort zone whenever I can.
It’s a feat of strength that requires daily practice. But if you lean into it, it’s amazing how often it works!

What event in your life has had a particularly significant impact on you?

Fortunately, I can look back on quite a few profound experiences that have made me who I am today. But the one experience that has shaped me the most is without doubt my emigration from Brazil at the age of 14.
From one day to the next I found myself plunged into a completely new life: learning a language that had been completely foreign to me until then, creating an entirely new circle of friends, getting to know and learning to love a mentality that seemed strange to me... And in the midst of all this turbulent happiness, this newly won freedom, and this impelling curiosity, I was confronted with an overwhelming longing, with the deepest insecurities, and with bitter disappointments.

I am fully aware of the force of the adjectives I have chosen – and yet they aren’t powerful enough to articulate the roller-coaster of emotions that you experience in every aspect of life during your first years as an adolescent immigrant.
I would even go so far as to say that emigration is an extreme experience. One that confronts you with unimagined challenges – challenges that you often don’t feel the slightest bit equipped to face. Knowing that I mastered them in spite of everything has taught me the most valuable thing in my life. Of one thing I’m sure: If you have happiness in your heart, you can be happy anywhere and under any circumstances. And you can do that no matter what other people, circumstances, or places you happen to be surrounded by. And that feels liberating!

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What moves you the most (right now)?

No question: Rainbow families and equality are issues that will (unfortunately) always be part of my everyday life. The fact that we’re different is brought home to us every day. The work to raise awareness on a daily basis is real: Be it when we’re filling out a form that doesn’t accommodate one of us or when we’re invited to explain once again to complete strangers how “all this” can even be a thing. Two women and two children – everything from the desire to have children to their conception, all the way to future family planning – it seems as if no question is too intimate for other people to ask.
But most of the time, we appreciate it when people take an interest and also the openness with which they approach us, depending, of course, on who asks us and, above all, how they ask us. The name of the game is to dispel the reticence – on both sides. The interest and the willingness to overcome prejudices cannot be a one-way street.
I am convinced that even the mere presence of a rainbow family living in the public eye can make a substantial contribution towards forging one’s own identity and gaining acceptance. Whether it’s because you’re at the beginning of your journey and don’t know where to start and where everything might lead, or because you suddenly find yourself confronted with ways of life that you never thought possible.

These very thoughts are the reason why I started the siebenkilopaket blog after the birth of our first son. In the blog, I not only share experiences from our own lives, I also provide a platform for other rainbow families to take the bold step into the public eye.
In an interview format, couples who want to have children, parents of gay children, children whose parents live in a same-sex relationship, and families – in every constellation – are given a chance to have their say. This generates an incredibly valuable dialogue along with very personal insights into lifestyles, aspirations, and, of course, the challenges facing rainbow families.
You can find out what else moves me every day on my Instagram channel: It’s about courage. The courage it takes to actively pursue your dreams. The courage it takes to leave your comfort zone. The courage it takes to live, laugh, and love.

What are your hopes for the future?

The short answer: health. Because you always manage to get everything else to work out somehow 🙂 But if I had even more wishes, I would wish that I could take advantage of all the opportunities that the latest technical advances have to offer.
Being able to communicate and share your knowledge with anyone at any time on any subject from anywhere in the world is a gift.
Anyone who wants to can do their part to change this world – either by taking things into their own hands and inspiring others to do the same, or by embracing the inspiration and starting with themselves.

This audacious wish has long become the reality for so many! Sustainability, diversity, open-mindedness, protecting the environment, reconciliation, awareness... The list of issues that are currently causing change could go on and on. I have the feeling that I am part of a movement and that through my commitment, I am actively shaping its development.
My wish is that the emerging generation will soon have even greater technical capabilities and creative ways to drive change, to fight for visibility, and realize their true selves.
Breaking down barriers just feels way too good!

 

Many thanks for this wonderful interview, dear Daniela!

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