weary’s the word.
sometimes it really trips me out that I am going to a prestigious art school. let alone the fact that I am typing this from the train. in chicago. um, whoa.
that’s the funny thing about goodbyes. we are never promised the next hello.
post car accident, i strain to retain my memories. this is an incredible loss, as my recollections used to be crisp and accurate. i’ve always loved my camera, always loved snapping candids and multiple frames, capturing the evolving emotions on a persons face. i’ve even found comfort in replicating these aforementioned captured emotions in pen and ink to use in my mixed media. there is something wonderfully familiar about a memory, like the sweet kiss of a past love. you know what i mean.
that being said, i pose the question: does our society understand the concept of being present in a moment? why am i led believe that the best way to feel and capture a memory is best found in the aid of technology? a photograph, a film clip, a tweet, a facebook status. i find myself in the most beautiful of moments, in the snowy wilderness with a friend, making raviolis with my gram, laughing with my friends… and experiencing these moments through a viewfinder or the touch screen of my iphone. it seems we haphazardly, nonchalantly go about our lives, interacting with these beautiful human lives on such a distracted level. it seems we extend so much effort in our capturing of these moments… that i wonder if we actually are able to claim and possess them in a deep, meaningful way?
this most likely seems like an abstract thought, and it is. and maybe it has nothing to do with the cause and effect that brought me to this place of questioning. but, essentially, i’m acknowledging that i want the most from my moments. my hellos and my goodbyes and the life in between.
i’m saying a lot more goodbyes lately. and while i am moving 31 hours away to what feels like a truly new life, i realize that our entire existence is a series of hellos and goodbyes. we are never promised a return sighting, no matter how great or slight the physical distance. should we be more diligent in prizing our moments with each other in such great regard to our fragile existence? or should we give our interactions less weight in the same vein of thought?
i said goodbye to my grampa today. it quite possibly is my final goodbye to him. i despise writing that. but it is true. he told my dad recently that he feels his time is coming to a close, and as i sat next to him today, i know it’s true. it breaks my heart.
ten years ago, my grampa “should” have died. he was given a ONE PERCENT chance of living after being diagnosed with a mystery condition they believe he contracted through his exposure to rat poison. (whatever that means…) i was fifteen as i stood by my grandfather’s hospital bedside, as he lay in a coma. i said my final goodbyes and read a poem i had written, kissed him on the forehead and watched as his heart rate fluctuated and eyes blinked [in correlation?] to my words and touch. i thought that it was a forever goodbye when i walked out of the hospital that day. please don’t misunderstand, i am so incredibly grateful for the ten years that we have had together since then. but i feel like i’m right back by that bedside today.
my father’s family is stoic and reserved. they are not emotional and they are not what you would describe as “warm.” but things were different after grampa got out of the hospital. our relationship was different. there was some unspoken change and it was deep. i really adore that man. at christmas he made me promise to come say bye before i moved. and i did. but as i kissed him on his cheeks and hugged him twice before walking out, he whispered to me, “now you take care of yourself, you hear? take care of yourself.” i looked at him, and i know he looked at me in the same way. like it was goodbye.
ryan asked me recently if i fear goodbyes, and i immediately, pridefully, shot back a resounding “no.” but i do. i hate them, i hate them, i hate them. i hate change and i hate being out of control. and if there’s anything that combines those two elements i despise thoroughly… it’s a goodbye. it’s a final goodbye. it’s death. none of us can escape it, either. the ultimate being out of control.
so today, i took pictures of my gramps when he wasn’t looking. i cozied up to him and made that stubborn mass of a man actually smile with me for a picture. i didn’t really know what else to do.
i’m existing in a strange state. i’m not necessarily “here” anymore. i’ve clocked out of my last shift at 514, my possessions are in various states of disarray; i’m feeling a little homeless and lost… and isolated in the solitude of those emotions.
you know those movies like garden state and 500 days of summer, and elizabethtown, and… get it yet? movies that seem like they might actually be the lives of you or your friends, put to a soundtrack and made to seem charming by romanticizing even the most mundane of moments? i feel like i might be most aptly captured at this phase of my life in character-form in this way. panning between moments of me sitting, lost in my thoughts amidst boxes in my upstairs attic room, the morning light fading into the glow of the lamp atop my military footlocker and antique trunk, to clips of me laughing and attempting to appear present at “fun” events like my going away party. my current soundtrack would even be appropriate: “figure out your life,” the colorful quiet. ugh.
three nights ago, i left a dinner party with some of my best friends. i struggled through the night, in that kind of way that my brother describes as being “never alone, but always alone.” my life is changing. drastically. and i suppose i have never left a place for long enough to actually feel like i’m the one walking away…
i found myself later that night, in borrowed boots and a borrowed jacket, both a couple sizes too large, walking silently with a friend along the edge of the foresthill bridge. the fog, sank into every crevice of the canyon, surrounding us. the inky black night hung heavily, the stars still visible behind the veil. stars… above us. stars… below us. i still cannot comprehend the magical surreality of that night… i’m not sure how it was logistically possible, but below us, under the bridge, were glowing spheres… stars. we laid with our backs against the cold concrete and stared into the skies. and as cliche as the moment sounds, instantly, a star shot across the sky. i’m not sure how it happened, but we were standing above the sky.
there are moments in life that are effortlessly soul-transforming. they are rarely the same ones that are scheduled or expected. they are manifested in conjunction with the rise of a certain depth of emotion that is generally inaccessible in the routine busyness of our everyday. standing in silence, the cold railing pressed against my body as we stared into the dark abyss, stars surrounding us. that’s one of those moments. one of the most beautiful i’ve had, maybe in years.
no matter what is to come, it’s going to be okay. i’ll be fine. it sounds ridiculous, but, i’ve already stood upon the starry sky.
other moments of this rank:
…at approximately six-something in the evening, i will disembark an airplane in illinois and i will not have plans to fly home. i’ll be “home.” i will officially have moved across the country and will officially have begun a whole new kind of adventure. one where i wander around in the subfreeze of the streets searching for a few welcoming walls to call my own. one where i go back to sitting in classroom seats and studio classes. i’ll meet new people and have careful conversations over coffee, testing the waters of potential friendship. i’ll rely on trains and my legs more than i ever thought possible. i’ll believe in gloves and hats and layers and coats and practicality in the form of clothing. i’ll buy MORE of those white plastic hangers i’m obsessed with and don’t need any more of… because it’s pointless to pack them. i’ll find new objects and things to fill my walls and my surfaces and i will try to get over the loss of my favorite things here. i’ll have to find a new “safe place” to cry that isn’t my car… because The Silver Bullet will be 31 driving hours and exactly 2,019.3 miles away from me. i’ll have to buy a good space heater and a new steamer. and i’ll start my chicago time by signing up for one of intelligentsia’s home brewing classes. i’ll buy a chemex and probably a v60 and spend my evenings alone making delicious coffee and finishing all those books i’ve started. i hope i have a fireplace. i’m going to sign up for workshops to learn new skills and find out how to actually [profitably] sell things i make. i’ll learn to be okay with the quiet or maybe i’ll learn to live with a stranger. i’ll learn How To Be Alone. i’ll buy the season of Gossip Girl i never finished, and Glee and Dexter too. i’ll transition into working at another anthro and find out how amazing my store really was. i’ll print out pictures of my friends and family and puppies i can’t bring with me and set up a makeshift shrine. i’ll fill my fridge and cupboards with things i like. strange anomalies like hummus and IPAs, black beans and peach greek yogurt, gnocchi and rice cakes. i’ll pray that whatever place i live in has limitless hot water, as showering will become a new hobby to keep warm. i’ll attend this one church on the other side of town in a warehouse. it’s smallish and i like it that way. i saw it before the walls were painted and when there was debris on the ground, with a circle of people singing in an upstairs room. i liked it that way, and i hope it never strays too far from that memory. i’ll attend a bulls game and scream from the stands. i hope and pray i get to watch my brother play there this year, even if my ticket comes with a pricetag, sans aftergame pass. i’ll pause to take pictures of things like the bean and the river. probably daily. i never want to lose my sense of wonder of it all. i will take an actual photography workshop/class. i think it’s what i want to do, deeeeepdown. (doesn’t everyone though?) i will not let this year go by without leaving the country twice. israel in march. ireland/italy/prague over summer? this is the year of making shit happen. this is the year of action. this is the year of realization. let’s party, 2011.