Monday, February 27, 2012

scars on the wall

I'm on my 15th straight day of 12+ hour days, most of them on 5-7 hours of sleep. I passed exhausted on day 8, and rounded the corner of delirious last night around 11pm as I finished cleaning the loft. The process of moving from the loft to my apartment is done, though, and I can't remember feeling more relief about anything in the past (measurable unit of time that I can't determine on this little sleep). However, as great as it feels to be done, I came very close to openly weeping when I had to get up for work this morning, body exhausted, mind possibly more so.

Before this stretch of days, there was a week spent in preparation for my family coming to visit in the middle of a move, and their actual visit (the 12th), which included a photo session with my 4 month old cousin. Before that, prepping for a songwriting competition (on the 7th, which we won, with a co-written duet), Valentine's Day in a new relationship (amazingly sweet and thoughtful), and starting full-time work again (keeping my best friend's child from 7:30am until 5:30pm, which also began on the 7th). In the midst of all of this, I spent spare moments (few though they were) packing and planning the move, as well as navigating the numerous potholes and, sometimes, sinkholes in my road to this moment.

As I laid drowsily in my new bedroom for the first time (mattress on the floor, possessions stacked around, fresh gray paint on the walls per my request), I wondered what life must have looked like for the previous tenant, on her first night in her new apartment in Brooklyn. She is Ana, a Russian-American artist. I don't know anything about her life beyond that, except for the scars she left on the walls of what would become my bedroom. For her, it was a studio. There were paint drips on the old wooden floor, spots worn through to plaster on the wall where she hung her canvases, with two spotlights on the ceiling to illuminate her way. It's fitting, that I should follow her in living here. An artist, who moves to New York. As I am an artist, who moved from one block to another in a southern city of little consequence. It wasn't the move I planned or dreamed. These are the thoughts I think when I'm sinking into sleep after leaving the place I've called home for two years.

When all the furniture was removed, and nothing remained inside the loft but my cleaning products and an empty echo, I was able to see the big white box for what it truly is -- a place. Yes, there are memories and attachments to it, but I am the person who made it what it had become for me, and I will do the very same thing in the next place. Like Ana's scraped walls, the loft shows scars, signs of my life there. They aren't as telling or vibrant as her paint splatters, but they'll be cleaned and repaired just as hers were, in order for the next tenant to take possession. Fortunately, we're not simply the raising of our scars. We're the bodies that hold them, the minds that remember the memories of creating them. If we were just the scars, we would never grow or change. If we were just the things we left behind, we'd have no way to carry on.

For now, I'm done thinking about moving. I just want to be still for a while, to stay in this place, to pare down my ridiculous amount of possessions into something livable. No excess. No baggage. Just me, and what is constantly in use. I'm glad to leave the scars behind, and create new ones in this new place, in time. Right now, I just want sleep.

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