Periodically, life chews you up and spits you back out like a stick of pale gum.
The past couple of months have been a little blue, sometimes wild, certainly sleepless, and a choice to either grind to a halt, or flourish after the rain.
I want to say a very public thank you especially, to my best friend of 20 something years miss Emma, who picked up my pieces when my life went through a NutriBullet, my little (but kind of older?) brother who helped me move house not once but twice, holding my fragile frame in his arms when the emotional toll grew too large, and to those who chimed in with things I didn’t even know I needed. Family; friends. Kind words, silence, dinner dates, perspective, and offers of everything good under the sun.
Fast forward and I’m lazing in the lounge at Santiago International Airport with a glass of Carménère, waiting for my flight home after an amazing week and a half here in South America with what is quickly beginning to feel like my second family.
When loss occurs in any aspect of life, it’s all too comforting in my experience to slip into stillness in order to preserve grief or punish yourself. It’s easier, isn’t it? To lay back in the cool, dark cave of solitude that nurses your need for quiet. Initially, it’s a gentler way to suffer, but for those on the outside who cannot reach you, time doesn’t slow. The burden of the day-to-day continues, until eventually ties are severed and you find yourself drifting, or left behind.
I’ve been luckier on this occasion to have enough strength to observe my own situation this time from above, to force myself to stay busy, and seek a more balanced pathway to healing. To cry the hot tears, and to feel peace afterwards. To give more weight to the beautiful moments and adventures passed, and let them rightly outweigh any resentment or hurt that threatens to creep in and negate what was shared in 730 days of love.
I’ve spent a little time considering the following; Knowing that I have a finite presence to give, am I focussing on the people I love to the best of my ability? How can I intensify my efforts to support people less fortunate, who’s lives are just as real and fragile as my own? Have I allowed some of my friendships to thirst without nourishment? Have the outlines of the person staring back at me become fuzzy? Am I paying any attention to my physical and mental health? With the time I’m now afforded to focus on myself, what should I be focussing on? Where’s next on the map? And always, how soon can I get back to Paris?
I’m usually awful at sticking with things and lack follow through, growing weary of an idea or fascination as soon as it falls out of my mouth (typical Myers-Briggs “Debator” personality), but photography of all things has outlasted those natural borders and become a solace for me. I don’t require anyone else, it’s not something that can be marked or scratched out in angry red pen, and it’s a method for me to share my happiest experiences, which especially while flying by it’s very nature are so often had alone. I love the simplicity of wandering a new city in my own company, reflective and inspired, but I also love coming back and showing people the emotional pull I’ve attempted to bring home from those places.
As always, Dad has been the technical push I’ve needed to shuffle me along from my safe-zone. The birthday gift of an Olympus OM20 couldn’t have come at a better time, something to distract me, and in my first ever roll of film (see favourites below, shot in the last sunlit hour at Tamarama at my place & down to the beach in prep for South America), something to document my return home to the east where I belong with the Wonderland Girls: Rosalind, Chazzy & Nat. I can’t wait for a hot, endless summer with you.
I suppose if there’s one thing I’m learning, it’s that sometimes when one door closes, another bright yellow one opens.
Shot on the Olympus OM20, Fuji Superia Xtra (35mm, 400Iso)