I started writing a kind of electronic diary two years ago. I don’t write every day, but whenever I feel like it, and up to today, I have around 180 files referring to days I felt like sharing what was up.
Going back to it is a mesmerizing experience. I feel like an anthropologist going through somebody’s mind and ideas, smiling at the simple narrative and frowning at the endless heartbreaks.
I guess it’s a good way to decipher yourself and dissect your past decisions. For now, I’ll keep it to myself because I know this is a place where I can really talk freely. But I’ll share some pieces of it that resonated.
If I die, of course, anyone near my computer is welcome to take a peak. Pieces of life of a western young woman in the 21st century.
March, 20th, 2015
So today was the eclipse. I woke up around 7:30, and finally stood up at 7:50. I am glad my alarm rang and my phone didn’t just died during the night. I prepared myself and after a quick smoothie, I decided to take all my stuff and here I was on my bike. Direction the East Dunes park. The weather was really grey but I was not too worried about it. The weather changes really fast and what can seem like a grey and boring day can sometimes become a really lucky one.
I went through the forest park of the Hague, in front of the, yet-to-be, American ambassy and found the entrance of the park. Same way I used before, I know the place. It was still quite an exercice to go there.
I arrived at this little hill in the « Dunes Park » and I put my bike there, excited. I climbed up the stairs and found a cosy place to set up my material. I look up at the sky and watched the time. It was 9:30, it should begin. And so did the waiting game. I sat and look at this grey sky. At some places, it got lighter and I looked for the sun but nothing appeared.
A man, in his fifties, arrived on the side and started talking to me in Dutch. I apologized and we continued in English. He decided to stay for a while and we talked. He’s a musician, (cello) and travelled a lot. Despite this fact, he always come back in The Hague and often coms to this park. He really liked playing in Italy and likes composers like Olivier Messiaen, rather than Einaudi. Messiaen is more challenging and he inspires his music from the songs of birds. He asked me if I came in the Netherlands knowing anyone. I tell him that no, I had no family or friends here. He told me it’ll come.
We stayed there, we looked at the sky in silence. After a while, it gold colder and colder and he decided to go home. He told me he admired my tenacity as a young person. We saluted each other and there he went.
Some minutes after, a woman arrived and started talking to me. Same ritual and we continued in English. She was an Art teacher, teaching to kids from 14 to 18. She was a perfectionist and got exhausted at a point where she had to take a one week break from work. She seemed really passionate about her job and advised me to go see a ballet in the Hague. She likes Paris, Amsterdam and often goes to small villages in France.
We talked about what’s around, and we noticed how the environment changes. Even though we had absolutely no visual of the sun, we noticed the atmosphere getting darker and the birds stopped singing. This was instead really calm, and especially colder. I shivered and she offered me some of her hot tea.
She really was a warm person. Then, little by little, the sky got lighter, birds started singing again and I was not shivering to death anymore. The peak hour past and there was little hope to see an actual eclipse. She decided to go home and we said goodbye.
Another man with his camera arrives shortly after, looked at my material and in a very neutral way told me that the peak hour is over. I told him I’d stay in case there might be an improvement but he shrugged and left.
I considered going home. I was cold, and I didn’t want to get sick before exams. But I considered it seriously and I decided otherwise. An eclipse is not that rare but this is not common either. I just had to wait 30 more minutes till the official end of the eclipse, and I would rather wait 30 minutes more than 6 years til the next eclipse.
I looked at the sky, and moved around not to be too cold.
Then suddenly, I saw it. It was not in the direction I expected. I jumped on my camera and pointed it at the sky. I lost sight of the sun but I fount it again and started triggering with my camera. When I saw that the filter was useless with such a diffuse light, I said fuck it and removed it. I looked at it with my eyes, ecstatic, and I shot tons of pictures. The more I took, the more I realize that the sun was actually getting out of frame pretty quickly. No wonder I didn’t expect the sun to be in a precise direction. What comforted me is that I looked at the right direction at the beginning.
The bit of eclipse that I saw was only a tiny bit of Moon kissing the sun a farewell goodbye. But still, it was a reward big enough to my eyes.
I biked 10km, stayed 2:30 hours in the cold and persisted and I finally got to see it. The pictures that I got where not a blast but it convinced me to try harder next time. Because there will be a next time!
At the end, when the moon completely left, I let my eyes get wet. I was tired, cold but I got to see it. I didn’t give up and even though it was a tiny bit, I got to experience it.
And it showed me that no matter how naive I may seem, I want to be persistant in what I do and not give up.
I came back home with a big smile on my face while biking and the long bike home warmed me up in no time.
I saw an eclipse today.
March, 7th, 2015.
« What we have to remember is that we can still do anything. We can change our minds. We can start over. Get a post-bac or try writing for the first time. The notion that it’s too late to do anything is comical. It’s hilarious. We’re graduating college. We’re so young. We can’t, we MUST not lose this sense of possibility because in the end, it’s all we have. »
Marina Keegan, she died four days after graduating from college.
« But let us get one thing straight: the best years of our lives are not behind us. They’re part of us and they are set for repetition as we grow up and move to New York and away from New York and wish we did or didn’t live in New York. I plan on having parties when I’m 30. I plan on having fun when I’m old. Any notion of THE BEST years comes from clichéd “should haves…” “if I’d…” “wish I’d…” »
« Of course, there are things we wished we did: our readings, that boy across the hall. We’re our own hardest critics and it’s easy to let ourselves down. Sleeping too late. Procrastinating. Cutting corners. More than once I’ve looked back on my High School self and thought: how did I do that? How did I work so hard? Our private insecurities follow us and will always follow us.
But the thing is, we’re all like that. Nobody wakes up when they want to. Nobody did all of their reading (except maybe the crazy people who win the prizes…) We have these impossibly high standards and we’ll probably never live up to our perfect fantasies of our future selves. But I feel like that’s okay. »
Friday, April, 17th, 2015
Yesterday, I was playing with the cat, along the road that takes me to Centraal Station. The sun was shining and it was a warm afternoon.
I finally met the owner of the cat. I saw the reflection of a bald man in the window and he appeared on my right. He smiled to me and I smiled back. I left with a « fine daag » and he answered something I didn’t understand.
But I am glad the cat has a nice owner.
And one year ago.
Tuesday, 10th, November 2015
Close to midnight.
Today’s Ted Talk is about Space. It feels like it’s been a while since I’ve dealt with the mysteries of space and the greatness of stars. Did I reach an overdose with this summer? Not too sure.
The name is Jill Tarter, radio astronomer.
« We actually, as humans, have this very, very intimate connection with the cosmos. If you think about the molecules of hemoglobin in your blood, there’s a lot of iron there, and that iron – in the hemoglobin molecule was created – it was manufactured in nucleosynthesis. Inside a massive star that blew up statistically about 8 billion years ago. So inside you are the remains of a stellar explosion.
[…] Absolutely, you are made of stardust. Everything that we know of is made of stardust, and without the stars, and without the long history of the universe evolving to form galaxies and stars, there wouldn’t be us. If we got that concept in our minds – that we’re made of stardust – and we could take a few moments in our day to think on that cosmic scale, to sort of step back and take a look at the big picture, to see that Earth is just one tiny, little planet in the corner of one small galaxy in a very, very big universe, I think that would help us to understand that really, all of us here on earth, we’re all the same when compared with something else out there in the cosmos. »
I’ll be honest, it does feel like one of these cheesy posts you could find on Tumblr screaming ‘you’re made of stardust’ for the sake of it. But looking at the bigger picture, it is very true, we’re all made of the same stuff. I went to a lecture of Culture of Africa today, and the lecturer was talking about South Africa, showing some pictures of bus stops arranged in such a way that everyone would be divided following their skin colour. The entire city of Johannesburg has been created in the 19th century with the idea in mind on how to separate people, depending on their social status, skin colour and so on. This is amazing how many lines we are able to draw between us when looking at a small scale, while we should honestly all be holding onto each other when looking at how vast the world is, and how fucking little and insignificant we’re on our own.
Anyway, my jaw hurts less and even though eating is still painful, I cannot help but cheer every time being like: “It hurts WAY less than two days ago, yay!”. The scarring is on its way as well, even though it’s a bit slow. I think I’ll keep a nice mark on my chin.
Looking back at this week of physical pain (it sounds very dramatic, I know), I admire how well it kept me away from ‘mental pain’ or any of the doubts/things that were annoying me in the past few weeks. Not saying I should go and knock myself down regularly to deal better with life but hey, I’m trying to find something positive here. But as the physical pain, the burden gets a bit heavier with the day and doesn’t matter how positive I start the day, I always end it up feeling heavy and down. Even when I put my face on my pillow to sleep, gravity pulls me down and every muscle in my jaw seems to weight ten times more. Same for my feelings, they decide to bury themselves into the cushion, like attracted by some mysterious force that’s ready to engulf me every night.
I visited a tattoo shop this morning to talk about some projects that I had. I’m sorry mom, I’m sure you won’t be too happy to learn about that but life is too short not to do things because of others. This is what I say now but I know that very quickly I’ll find excuses to justify myself towards people’s judgments, people whose judgments often mean nothing and yet, I’m ready to bow to them. C’est la vie.
This is making me smile so many times during the day. I have ‘good advices’, ‘good ideas’ (or so I think) but I cannot apply them to myself. I know what I should be doing, I know what my reaction should be -most of the time- and I’m the first one to deviate from them. It’s a living irony.
I should write in the morning, I have more ‘joie de vivre’.
I’d say try to do the same. It’s very therapeutic and mind opening.
And things need to be voiced out sometimes, overwise they just rot in you and it gets toxic. We all need some fresh air.