Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Moving Pictures: A Motion Study

I am sitting today outside a Starbucks, ostensibly to take time out from writing job applications to write stories, to create outside of my life through the experiences in my life. That is something I deeply love about this idea of writing fiction; that it gives me the opportunity to be greater than the simple sum of my parts by leaping into the vast sea of humanity and the human experience: a dissolution of self into so much more.

But right now, everything in my immediate life is so intense and vivid that it overwhelms, that I jump off the diving board into the recesses of my mind only to be brought back up again by another wave of my reality, another pressing thing I need to do or consider.

Moving, I think, to a new location takes hardly anything at all. You simply go from point A to point B. To make a successful transition, however, that takes so much more. There are things to do:
--Get a new address
--Update your address with every subscription, card, service, membership organization, and friend. (That, by the by, takes not one, but more like four hours, and may need repeating should the post office reassign your box)
--Find new hangouts where you can be refreshed
--Create a new health routine to suit your new situation and schedule
--Build a new social network
--Find out how to integrate your past social network into your new situation and schedule. Because while you can cut off your friends and end relationships when you move from A to B, why would you? Friendships are those things which ought to be able to not only rise above circumstances, but circumference  differences and changes and geography. They may need reimaging and reimagining, but they are such a beautiful and wonderful and vital part of our lives. I would not be quite myself, this self, without the friends who have poured their lives into me through the years.

There are things required:
--courage to explore and find these new things
--boldness to accept an image of yourself that you may not feel confident in, but wish to move forward through: the sort of idea where you step into a pair of shoes which are too big for you and find that they give you the space to grow into them and expand your being
--energy to try and try again, or to step a little further, or to again wake into a day that is full of the unfamiliar, that brims over with strangeness; that has little or no comfort zone for you to curl up in and hide away within
--forgiveness of your mortality, of the humanity of yourself. Of the fact that you love having your life filled with people that you love, people you have gotten to know through the years starting with a smile at a stranger or a hello, and then built into the regular features of your life and now have to live without that regularity. Now have to start with ten million new smiles and hellos to a small ratio of returns
--joy that you get to have this. That you get to wonder and wander and try and try again. That you get to meet SO MANY NEW PEOPLE every day and you never know who might become wrapped into the future of your life, what might come next, what to expect at all
--a vision that helps you see how the many pieces of your life are not, or need not be, fragments. How they may all be so different and even clashing but still have worked to make you yourself--and in that way of being your self, you make all of them one and whole and not broken fragments at all. And this vision helps you with grief, because you know that what was still is, and what will be already is beautiful for that, too.

Wandering last week around Portsmouth (Pronounced "port's-muth"), Maine, I found my eye captured by this beautiful combination of colours; a yellow on a blue. It was just simply these beautiful berries of yellow and orange against the backdrop of the stony blue sea and I was swept away with the thought--my room at home (now gone), where i painted blue sea and stony sky and curtained rising yellow light from my childhood. That room is not lost for being gone; those colours are something I carry with me, carry everywhere. The splashes of what and who we love, of the tiny things which shape us echo about us, everywhere and always. Even when we are quite alone or cut off and apart from the particularity of what shaped us, their resonance remains, sounding like a song through our lives, note after note of meaning winding together and creating this most beautiful harmonic and perfectly unique piece which we play out.

I am reminded here in DC of how I first fell in love with London: it was the first place I had been to, since discovering that life can shatter us or give us the experience of fragmenting, where I felt whole and complete. Where I could walk around the city and hear languages in all my tongues . Where I did not need to choose between what part of my life was real and what might not be or had no space to be. Here in DC, I again hear so many languages, the ones I know. German, clearly from Vienna, speaking, and I remember riding around on the u-bahn going to and from school. The laughter and the homework and and the beautiful long trips. I bought these recycled beer earrings off a Kenyan man in the market Sunday afternoon. With him I got to connect and talk about Kenya, about the places one should see there and what did I see while there? And I thought, how funny it is that when I first travelled to Kenya, I  never imagined that this "insane adventure" would echo so far into my future as to be part of my most solid reality.

Vertigo affects some people; I for one am deeply affected by it. I look over a cliff's edge and I experience motion. I struggle going down AND up escalators because the tedious motion of the steps and I think I might faint or collapse from it. This is not an issue of height, but of a particular manner of experiencing motion. Wibbly wobbly bridges. Rope ladders. Ice skates and skis. What I struggle with in moving is perhaps another form of vertigo; of everything being thrown into some strange suspension and this sensation of instability. But I adore the expanding of my universe, and the way that out of place and the definitions we lock onto in our lives, reality becomes reborn and we, with it.

Friday, 11 October 2013

Not All Who Wander Are Lost

It's funny how life happens sometimes. One month ago, I never imagined that today I would be sitting by piles of red rocks staring out across the Atlantic Ocean from a portico on Prince Edward Island--and I have a pretty wild imagination! Yet here I sit, watching the clouds gather grey overhead and the ocean resting so very still. Across the way, the black of trees on an outcropping of land silhouettes itself against blue rolling hills further aback and the blue light falling from the sky beyond and above.
For three years, I have fruitlessly lain plans with friends for roadtrips or plane-trips to this island, and each year they have fallen through; even this very summer! And now without a plan at all, with only a breath and a whim and a great big woosh, here I am.

It fascinates me to think what has been lost and what not? I no longer have a job; but I am still a professional. I no longer have an income, but I'm still existing and doing and eating and going. I no longer have my beautiful, perfect, and first apartment ever; but I have lots of couches and spare rooms and homes opened up to me for a return, for a visit, for a trip home. I am still a student and I am definitely an artist. I'm still a traveler, even if I have to let go of studying in Puerto Rico this winter because I cannot reconcile yet in my mind how do I pay for that when I have no idea of how my living will look? And I am doing and being what I do and know best right now: living a nomad's life and running to the sea. Crying and laughing with friends. Watching, writing, thinking.

I love that I have come to an island to think when I come firstly from an island. I love that the rocks and the dirt (or is it sand?)  hidden here is red-toned, like earth I remember from childhood. I love that I have friends across the world and am never quite gone from home despite being where I have never stepped before.

Though not new to me, it is still odd to think that I will not be "going back" after this adventure. That I will instead be going on to something newer yet, more unknown and that the picture ahead is not littered with the faces and smiles of people I have come to expect to see every day, whom I already miss, dearly. That the picture ahead has very little at all that I can expect to know.

What I do know, though, is that I can read signs. I can get to Prince Edward Island by myself. I have navigated countries not my own, spoken languages I do not know the names of, and have yet to not enjoy an adventure I meet with. I know that I love challenges and that I crave a rawness in life and well, I've certainly got that ahead of me! These are exciting and wonderful times, however strange and hard and tiring they may also feel. This is how I love to live; walking on an unmapped path surrounded by wonder and heading into a great and beautiful mystery I will get to explore and learn.