Saturday, August 24, 2019

A Proper Dose of Nostalgia

I must say that I find myself missing people (and my beagle). I know that I am the type of person who is, and presumably will always be, fixated with the past. With retro things. With memories that others have long forgotten. With old photos, with the way we laughed then, with stories and songs I probably should have let go of a long time ago. It feels strange to me how much things can change decade to decade. 

And then, at the same time, there is something so magical about the present.

Because this place I'm in right now, this moment - these are the days I will long for when I get nostalgic in the future. So does it make sense to say that I always feel nostalgic? Even for moments I'm living in presently? Because I know that one day, these moments will fade out into memories, too. And I just wish sometimes that everything could stay the same and change all at once. That we could have both. 

But we can't, and that's ok.

That's the way that this was set up. If nothing moves forward, we can't meet new people, make new friends, sing new songs. And what would be the fun in that? Though I am always going to carry around these colors and these places and faces, they are a part of me, even if no one else knows it. Even if the people who are long gone never realize that they still walk with me, in the form of songs and stories and smiles remembered. You know, sometimes I dream about buying the old cottage that served as the backdrop to my sixth and seventh grade summers, and just living there forever. Even if it won't bring the memories back to life.

Even so, I will rejoice in - and hope for - the new.

Because at one point, everything in life was new. The best friends you have made, the coffee shops you frequent, even the music you listen to - there was a first meeting, a first finding, a first listen. So I can't be afraid of firsts. That's life.

I remember when I was so terrified of starting college.

On my first day, seven falls ago, I was literally shaking, trembling beneath the straps of my olive green backpack as I snuck into the back of my Creative Writing class. And now, all these years later, I am working full-time at the very university I attended as a worried little freshman. Students return to campus come Monday, and it just blows my mind. How could that have been me, not so long ago?

It makes me wonder, where will I be in another seven years?

Still working at the university? Working somewhere else? I guess I just don't know. Gosh, I'm glad I don't. If I knew in 2012 that I would be working in higher ed one day, I would have been so scared. I wouldn't have understood. How could I have? So, I guess I need to just let go. Which I'm not good at. Is anyone?

There's this Alvvays song that I love, "In Undertow," that is kind of the song of my spirit, and has been for a long time.

"Time to let go. There's no turning back." I think I've been afraid to let go and let God, to borrow a tired expression. Because the past is so good. The past is safe, it's what I know. The future is the thing with teeth - the great, big unknown.

In a couple of weeks, I will turn 26.

I remembered the other day that, tucked into the pages of one of my (many) old journals, I wrote a letter to myself. A letter for Erin at 26 to read, written by Erin at 21. Strange! I wonder what it says? I'm looking forward to opening it. She probably doesn't know what she's talking about, but I'm glad she chose to write. Maybe if I'm feeling brave, I'll post a snippet of it here. It's just odd to me how time passes. I'll have to write myself another letter to be opened in the future, once I do turn 26. Because I want to remember who I was, in this moment, right now.

Keep on,

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Snapshot of a Season | Act 1, Scene 1

We're entering a new season, can you feel it? My sister and I sit on the couch, laughing and crying as we watch an episode of Queer Eye. Happy tears, anxious tears. This week has been a study in emotion, both in expressing it and knowing when to hold it back. It has been the regrowth of sensitivity, of learning to keep my heart open, of tender-hearted prayer with palms up to the sky.

I know I won't always have this. And that's hard.

At the same time, "I'm ready, I'm ready, I'm ready to move on." Why is it that I must long for a new season, all the while mourning the present one? One day I will wake up in a different town and a different home and my sister won't be on the other side of the wall, playing J. Cole at full volume and strutting about the room in high-waisted denim and yellow espadrilles. One day this will all be different, and it will be good, but I will miss this. I know it, I do. But it doesn't stop me from longing for the future.

The other day, a wedding invitation came in the mail from my cousin.

And then another wedding invitation, from my other cousin. And somehow time is moving, and now it's us, my family, and my friends, who are putting on the rings and having the babies, and I don't know how this happened or who gave us permission to grow up. Change is good, change is good. Life is change, and we move forward. But wow, it's all going by faster than I expected.

A couple of weeks ago,
Daisy and Kaylie and I went to see the Lion King remake.

I sat in a darkened theater and silently wept as Mufasa died, once again. Why did I feel like somehow this time it was going to be different? I don't know why, but I did. Like maybe we could change things. Like maybe he could just hold on a little longer until help arrived. The music to that film just cuts me to the core. It was an odd feeling, connecting with a film that I adored as a child, seeing it again as an adult. In a way, that exactly describes how I've been feeling - as if two parts of me are meeting in the middle, and shaking hands with each other. One part past, one part future, both pulling me in different directions.

So, what even is this post?

This is me processing. It is a sigh of relief, a reclaiming of this space. A tree letting her roots exhale and grow. And you know, I have to say, I'm writing this for me (hence the rambles), but to the people who have stuck around this blog to read even one post or leave a kind word or two: you all are just the sweetest of souls. And I'm grateful that we get to share our thoughts with each other and that you, too, see value in creative spaces and the evolution of those spaces and their authors. I would rather see this space change over time than become sad and stagnant. 

Re: blogging: I think that somewhere along the way, I lost the poetry.

Not that this was ever really a poetry blog. But I miss the outlet these "pages" once were. And I miss having art in my life that is for me. I realized yesterday that I don't write anymore. It took a trip out into the country to realize how much I rely on the Internet and social media to keep myself entertained. I miss those days as a child when I would write by hand with clunky pencils and create stories from nothing. Before my brain was hardwired with this compulsion to constantly "keep up." So I come to this space seeking to reinvent it once more, and to celebrate the fact that it even exists at all.

In less than a month, I will turn 26.

I almost feel as if August is both a prelude of what's to come in my next year, and a season closing, fading out into something new. I don't have exact, concrete thoughts for what the future might hold, but I feel a general sense that inspiration is going to be at the heart of it. Exhibit 1: Last night I felt inspired and revived my old Tumblr. Maybe I'll drop it in a couple of days, or maybe it will become a new space to share my thoughts. Either way, I want expression to be at the heart of my 26th year. Is it weird that I feel like I'm claiming whatever "26" will be for me, now? And taking advantage of the freshness of a new year before it even arrives? Doing it anyway.

To do:

Read more C. S. Lewis. Revive the Twenty Five Project. Write full novels to the albums I've been obsessed with lately (read: music by Bastille, Imagine Dragons). Keep praying with open palms. Keep your door and heart open. Buy flowers. Sing songs.

Til next time,