Yet in that darkness, there are stars in the night's sky that shine upon us. Let us savor the joy of those sparks of light
"Does it bring you joy?"
In 2019 Marie Kondo asked us “Does it bring you joy?” In 2019 deciding whether to keep an article of clothing was worthy of being kept in your closet seemed hard. In 2019 I spent my paychecks on my unimaginable student debt, rent, and cloths. My closet was full of items that when purchased brought me immense joy for perhaps a day. Dresses that would have my mom asking “Are you trying to hide your outfits from me” As I snuck out of her house in an oversized coat on my way to a Dante’s Inferno themed birthday party. In 2020 I wear the same sweatpants every day and brush my hair just to put it in a tangled bun. In 2020 I no longer have a job & the idea of glueing gems to my face no longer has the same appeal, I have to find joy else where.
Through my dreary haze every day seems to blend together, time no longer seems to matter 2pm & 7pm feel oddly the same when you have no place to be, no prior commitments the next day. The only plans to stay active & stay connected. I wake up at two. I make myself coffee. I go for a run. I check the news. I check in with friends. I eat. I drink more coffee. I binge watch Netflix show that barely capture my attention. I sleep. Rinse wash and then repeat. While I sleep I dream of a vibrant future.
I dream in full color, blindingly so. I dream of summers past and future; I dream of the Florida Project.
If you haven’t seen this film, then you must. Don’t even question it go watch the Florida Project right now you can read the rest of this article later. I can wait. Nothing in the past two months has brought me more joy than watching the story of Moone and her friends and their adventures and heartbreaks under the Florida sun. It's hard to say what I like best about this film, because I like everything. Though I was raised in a three-bedroom townhouse in Central Jersey there something so universal about childhood pleasures. Banging your converse together, sharing ice cream with your best friend, having a spitting contest to see who can spit longer. For one hundred and eleven minutes It no longer 2020 & I’m no longer worried about how I’m going to make money, or pay my student loans, for one hundred and eleven minutes I’m a kid again, running naked through the forest with my twin brothers, eating pancakes with Anna and Sara at Who’s On Third with extra maples syrup, before the world was big and life was so uncertain.
As I lie asleep in my full size bed Jess walks four miles to leave cornbread in my garage so I’ll have something to eat when I wake up. While I dream of the past, I also dream of the future.
When I’m not busy completely stressing myself out I’m looking forward. Particularly I’m daydreaming about my next tattoo. I should be spending my time cleaning the dishes so my mom doesn’t have to when she gets home after her ten-hour shift as a nurse, but I’m selfish so I spend my time scrolling Instagram. Right now I’m caught up in the art of Patricia Shim. I check out her page daily for new watercolors, and search endlessly though her pictures of tattoos. I print out the ones I love and tape them to my naked body and plan for the future. Patricia lives in Lisbon so I won’t be able to get one for a while, but that okay because I’ve go time, I can wait.
When I was little, I thought I had no time. I felt this weird rush to constantly be doing something, anything. I hated staying home & now that's all I do. Half of my family passed away when they were relatively young so I’ve always felt like time was against me. Like I had to accomplish something because I only had so much time left. Or that I had to accomplish something because I was so lucky to be alive and that by doing nothing I was wasting this life I was never meant to have. My father was born lacking a vas deferens, meaning he could never have kids naturally. Through advances in science and the invention of IVF, here I am. Naked and wet in the tube with my twin brothers, years after my father was told he could never have kids biologically his own.
Now looking at this photo all I can think is that despite everything, natural selection, Charles Darwin, and my own tainted genes I’m here. Floating around aimlessly living a life that wouldn’t have been possible before 1994. When I was born my Uncle wrote:
"Yet in that darkness, there are stars in the night's sky that shine upon us. Let us savor the joy of those sparks of light. Let us give thanks for those moments of happiness. Let us continue to courageously hope for the brilliant light of a new dawn that will dissolve that darkness into distant memory revealing a new world filled with life and a new purpose. Until we meet again, this is your servant always, "Uncle" Jack.
Every day seems like a great impossibility and there is darkness and despair all around us, but there is joy still. If I can defy the impossible and be born, then I can get through this and so can you. The darkness will dissolve and life will begin anew, just you wait and see.