I read this quote the other day that I can’t seem to find. It was on an Instagram photo from one of those sappy accounts that we all follow but won’t admit. You know, the ones that show you nostalgic pictures and couple photos with the sepia edits. It’s a novelty really but the quotes are always so damn good. The quote I read was something along the lines of ‘people will come into your lives and have their roles’. It talked about how some are just a paragraph in your story, others are scribbled in the margins. Some of them get an entire chapter, while others get the entire project. It’s insane because I didn’t understand that until recently. Until I flipped through my journals from the past couple of months and looked at the themes in my writing. I realized it was all about this one person.
I wrote about this person almost every time I picked up a pen. Sometimes it was something positive, a fond memory. Other times it was almost like I was angry at my keyboard. I would slam these words into existence that I wanted to say but couldn’t. I felt like I was releasing them but I just knew that at the end of the day they were being trapped into my second self. They may be out of my head temporarily but I knew that when I looked back at my writing for reference, all I would see is this person. Or these people.
It’s amazing that you can spend so much time with some people and little with others. However, they have such contrasting effects and almost redefine what we think about time. Everyone believes that the longer the time, the more you know a person and the more they effect you. And I will say that some of that is true. I dated someone for six years. We had ups and downs, moments where I cried because the thought of losing him destroyed me. Our behaviors started to mirror each other’s and the fact that he was a part of my life just felt normal. But since then, I have found that I can only write so much about him. I don’t know why that is and I am trying to figure it out every time. Sometimes he gets a poem and others just a thought.
On the contrast, there was someone else that was in my life for a short while. And I have found that writing about him is very easy. It’s like when I write about my friends. They are also so easy to note because of what they teach me and how they make me feel. This person, although short lived, made me feel – without a chance of finding the right words – inspired.
I used to have this notion that if I moved to California, I could find what I was looking for. It was a western romance tale in my head, big opportunity. I didn’t want to be stuck where I was or in the past so the only thought was to move west. But then I met someone and I realized that searching for people didn’t mean what I thought it meant. I remember telling this person I no longer felt the need to search after I met him. In theory, something that probably scared the shit out him. But standing by my feelings in that moment, I didn’t need to go anywhere. Where we were felt nice.
And that feeling stayed with me and has stayed with me. Granted, looking for change and fresh start never escaped me. But realizing that I was so close to something I wanted was the most fruitful thing I could remember.
And for that, I came to Austin. For that I have redefined my notions on love. You can fall in love with someone in a second and love them the rest of your life, no matter where you are. You can do all these things and the people that go with you are always going to be monumental in the roles that they play. They will always have their parts, no matter how you choose to write them. Most days, I write about people I am no longer in contact with — sometimes not even on good terms with — but I write about them as if they are the treasures of the world. They are the treasures to my life.
To conclude, my point here is that one — we should look at people as subjects. How they play a role in your life. I know it sounds wrong but despite what Nell Stevenson says about writers and experiences — it’s okay. If you’re wondering – he said “It is hard to love someone, if you’re in the habit of taking every experience you have as material for your work.” And I get it, I have done things strictly for that reason. But isn’t that the romanticized idea of it anyhow? I think I love everyone who I write about. I want to make them immortal. But moving further, I use the initial quote from earlier to remember that people have a purpose. Experiences have a purpose. It helps me cope — alongside helping me believe in the words that everything happens for a reason. Some days I am trying to figure that out, and other days i’m left scribbling in the margins.