Living Memory

I will paint you with colors
you weren’t able to see yourself in.
For every chance you will never take,
I will leap with your bravery.
The center of your world
is unknown to me –
But I will navigate through the labyrinth
you built around your heart,
for as long as it takes.

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Musical Movements

Most will accredit music as the moving force in all of us (except for maybe my big brother who will tell you he’d rather play the Batman movies in his head than any tune, melody or lyrical ensemble). In my personal experiences, music is what gets me from point a to point b; it’s a portal into myself that comforts, aids, heals, stirs and shakes, and in both simple and complex ways – makes the world make sense. We find identity in the genres and artists that we claim as “our” music. We either bop our heads to the songs on the radio, or discount them as repetitive and bland. We hear a new song and fall in love with it and want to share that feeling with the world, in hopes that we are able to connect to someone else through the emotion that was evoked within us.

Whether or not music simply does nothing for you, we all have a very personal connection to the nostalgia accompanied by a given sound. A line, a beat, or a specific song has the power to carry us to happy, sad, memorable or not so memorable moments in our lives that we shared with someone else. Any and every song by Van Morrison will always remind me of my dad making breakfast in the morning, the music moving through the entire house while everyone else is still sleeping. Hootie and the Blowfish songs that immediately take me to Wednesday nights out with my best friends in college, singing out the words at the top of our lungs over a pitcher of Shocktop. The soulful ballads of John Legend that evoke the long ago memory of love, loss and a broken heart. Music moves us. It guides us. It dwells inside of us, but no matter what – it connects us to each other.

Becoming Home

There is something profoundly complex in the emotions tied to leaving. Ones home is full of memories, associations, feelings and milestones. Growing pains and broken hearts, accomplishments and failures, lessons and triumphs. All under the safety of a roof and walls that provided protection and tranquility when the world was pushing and pressuring from the outside. Leaving. Going. Abandoning. Discovering. The experience is both glass half full and glass half empty.

I have experienced the coming and going from place to place over and over again in my life, and all seem to be the same and different in some way. Often times the sense of homesickness comes with the terrain. This is a constant across all scenarios. But the feeling isn’t always the same. It can be a temporary ache, one felt when something reminds you of home and the loved ones you left behind. This string of the disease goes as quickly as it comes, fleeting and not all that harmful – reminding you for a brief moment that there is something to be missed far, far away. There is also the lingering, all consuming, loneliness to your core kind of homesickness. It tends to come in waves, without warning or any sign of its approach. This version hits hard and fast and is not as easy to calm. In my experience I’m not even sure there is much of a remedy to this consuming sense of helplessness. It’s lonely, empty, longing, sadness – its effects are detrimental to the spirit and soul. The feeling of missing a home is synonymous with missing a part of oneself. It is the people, places, experiences and feelings from a past life that no longer presents itself in the everyday but which still dwells deep inside, a constant reminder of what once was. It is what happens when something is so close to your heart and mind but miles away in past or proximity.

When so far removed from the familiar and comforting that you once knew, there becomes a desire to fill the void. Being dropped in a new place presents opportunity to rebuild, restructure and reassess the paths that will carry you to the person you want to be. It is a chance. New places mean you can be whoever it is you have always wanted to be. But in a time in my life when I am still in the midst of figuring out the good, bad and ugly that make up “me” – I don’t feel the pull to rebuild the person I am, but rather rearrange the bricks into a structure that most resembles the person I am proud of. Having learned long ago that being the person you think others want you to be only ends in frustration and disappointment, I instead have a grave motivation to be and let be. Let the new places mold the person I have become to this point. I have traveled to many places, seen incredible things, met the most memorable people who have truly contributed to making me the person I am today. My intention is to always strive to fill the void of longing for the life I left behind with allowing my new surroundings to sink in and hopefully contribute to the person I will continue to become.