Life feels so utterly calm in the wake of the chaotic, mess of a world around us. I feel, for the first time in a very long time, peacefully content. I feel at ease- with myself, with my immediate surroundings, with the days as they come and as they go. Recently, I took a few small, promising personal steps toward healing and self preservation by visiting a therapist and doctor to work through some of the sharp things that creep around my edges: the anxiety, the sadness, the anger. And since I’ve faced those difficulties head on, I feel emboldened. I feel strong. Physically, mentally, emotionally.
The sky is a sorbet of bright white clouds and silky grey with strips of unripened blueberry through the tall, secret-telling windows of our new apartment. I hear only the whirr of the washer and dryer, every so often interrupted by the shriek of a seagull. I’ve spent the past few hours sorting through the boxes stacked high against the cool concrete walls. Piling up dust blanketed books and milk glass to haul to Goodwill, sifting through ancient Sharpie covered CDs scattered among ink filled day planners, and tossing stack upon stack of irrelevant business cards. While I’ve moved seventeen times in the past ten years, I somehow manage to hold on to some impressive memorabilia.
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Pressing my thumbprint onto the home button of my iPhone and waiting for the screen to illuminate, I never felt that my desire for connectivity on social media or phone to be abnormal. Because it’s not. I’ll sit in a friend’s living room where everyone else’s eyes scan their screens, I’ll sit in a café and more than half the faces are turned downward to their phones. I’ll be at a party and people are Snapchatting or taking selfies left and right, unembarrassed and filtered.
I remember lying awake on the bottom bunk in the room I shared with my little sister in the second grade. It would be well past midnight and I’d stare and stare at the tiny yellow roses on the bottom of her mattress, thinking about how stressed I was.
I spent the two days this past week on the Oregon Coast, in familiar yet missed salty air, hair whipped to and fro by the rambunctious wind. It has been years since last visiting those dunes, since witnessing the crush of the tide and feeling the emptiness and fullness of the Pacific.
Brushing it off and saying “it’s just one of those days” is a disservice to yourself. It’s a cheat out of giving yourself permission to experience real pain, real emotions, real sadness. Whether or not you understand where it’s coming from doesn’t necessarily matter- and it doesn’t make it any less.
Sometimes in a moment alone after a thread of days spent around people for extended periods of time I’ll feel a very distinct feeling of hollowness. For sanity, I require time to just be quiet and still- maybe scrolling through websites, paging through a book, or staring out the window. Although necessary and mostly tenderly enjoyable, there’s a barrenness to the space around me when instead of clattering around in the kitchen or chatter from across the room I hear only the mechanic purr of the heater and cruel tick of the clock.
It’s already been a month since I made my first trek to Phnom Penh and experienced this well-known yet no less easy twelve hour layover in the McDonald’s-less Incheon Airport in Korea. The last time I was here, only a mere hundred feet away from where I sit now as I finished another entry, I was crying my eyes out. It was after a long night of slamming Soju and Asahi with Yoshi and our new friend, Misato, hashing out all of our frustrations and navigating through feelings of our impending work trip. I had experienced a restless six hours in the airport hotel, I was feeling anxious and disoriented, not knowing what to expect as I went back to the country I had left so recently and simply exhausted physically and emotionally.
And off we go! We’re launching SEEN- find out how you can be a part of making this happen, share this link & spread the word. Words can’t describe how we’re feeling about this project right now- but soon they will.
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