It’s January 2021, let’s take an adventure and go back in time?
It’s a brand new year they’ve said, even though everything remains the same. Our invisible enemy is out there circulating in public gatherings, pressuring our health systems and killing more than ever.
Last time I wrote about my current days I was isolated in the woods, listening to Taylor Swift, James Taylor, Patti Smith, Leonard Cohen and Joni Mitchell. The main technology needed was a printer which, unfortunately, broke, and left me hopeless a bit far from civilization.
I got over it. I had the right music and a couple of good books around. I’d smoke a cigarette, dance to California, by Joni, and read a book such as the brilliant memoir of Jedidiah Jenkins whom spent a year biking from Oregon to Patagonia.
Right now, I keep (endlessly) editing my book, working on my PhD, and planning on an uncertain future. It’s just hard to make any plans right now.
Taking into consideration the news at the moment I’ve decided to dive on memories; pure escapism tracing references such as books, movies, TV shows and music that where important during my formative years.
I found my DVD of Garden State and yes, what a soundtrack. Zack Braff was a pretentious guy when it comes to selecting music for his films. The whole album is just perfect! I unfolded posters of movies and TV shows such as Scream, The OC and Dawson’s Creek. And last week I decided to go back to Capeside to watch the show once again. I know it would bring memories from a never explored depth.
For a 10–12 years old boy from a small town, watching Dawson, Joey, Pacey and Jen was as refreshing as watching the skyline of New York from the plane for the first time. I wanted to be a writer, a loved movies — so did they. And the drama suited me so well.
What has changed in all those years? Yes, I find it boring and their language was too pretentious. But wasn’t I like that? I still listen to those songs featured in the episodes, I still believe you meet a soul mate in life and it doesn’t really matter who ends with who, it’s forever. Those memories of a significant love will always remain, in a box, a small town close to the sea where it rains non-stop.
I got my own Capeside to cherish although I don’t expect us dancing Kiss Me in a late prom night. Nor watching the sunrise from Brooklyn while popping up cheap champagne. I’d rather say that one of the gifts of having a soul mate is knowing that it doesn’t matter how it has ended. It did, and the other person should be happy with or without me. This is the principle of love.
I cried watching some of the episodes, I cried watching Jen dying and Dawson making it to Hollywood. I cried watching while contemplating the script of my book sitting on my desk — so not ready to go, making me send the most horrible excuses to the publisher. I wondered if that trashy 90s TV playing Alanis Morissette was really important in making myself who I am. I wondered because I’m close to a dream I dreamed while watching those episodes.
A spoiled brat (as they usually said back then) watching TV, buying overpriced CDs and renting DVDs from the arcade to make life bearable. I’d say that back then I lived in an alternative universe; I created my own reality while navigating the angst of not belonging. I remember closing my eyes and imagining myself traveling as a journalist in that bus with a band in Almost Famous. All I always wanted was a scape from this place I’m contemplating right now. I did scape and now i’m back here in sort of a bad dream that happens often.
To be honest, I still don’t belong and maybe this is something I’ll take to the graveyard. Considering the miles I’ve walked, I’m that guy watching Jack being gay on TV in a time it wasn’t a thing or I’m that boy reading Kerouak and going out in the world with whatever money I’d get from summer jobs and family.
I was drinking loads of coffee with the Gilmores. I’m Dawson going to LA seeking his dreams without a clue of how cruel real life is.
I was living in my own universe, one full of expectations, one different from the real life I had to face years later.
While I’m exiled due to the current circumstances, I feel like I have so many possibilities for the future. It doesn’t include buying furniture or learning how to drive. It isn’t conventional as it was (and is) for many of my friends. I cherish their lives and accomplishments but still, I don’t fit. For me it’s more like: keep doing what you love and correcting broken routes you’ve walked into. Keep up with the healing. Forgiveness is the unique route.
As much as I enjoyed rewatching Dawson’s Creek, I feel like I grew apart from the boy I was, I grew apart from the characters I mirrored for a long time. And I feel this way mainly because right now I have the power to make decisions about my own existence. I got the resources to bet on my own wellbeing. I still listen to Sixpence None the Richer, I still cherish my Alanis collection but I’m trying hard to contemplate life with less pain. It’s hard to not wear those glasses turning things so difficult and extremely painful. But I’m learning.
Day after day I’m sitting in solitude, enjoying a few friends from my lockdown bubble and smiling just because that pretty good song played on shuffle or the lasagna I cooked is delicious. I write on paper and try not to overthink about it. We’re all in the same boat right now and I’d like to say something different but it looks like it’s sinking. We need to seek alternatives, we need a different way to look at life.
Watching my old room without my posters on the walls, checking my belongings in boxes organised in the spare room; there isn’t much of me here and I feel like not belonging has a lot of advantages. I don’t need to play the game to fit in. There aren’t rules to follow. I can keep reading my book and let the others talk as they wish. I can choose to not reply to anything I disagree with. It’s no longer that teenager making a point. It’s no longer an eternal fight. And I no longer care about labels.
Later last year, thank to many resources and books, I made peace with faith and I’ve decided to look ahead with more compassion. I simply realised I believe in something and besides the unevokable and awestruck wonder this mistery surrounding me is, I can exercise faith in a different manner. Anything bad coming from religion does not affect me. But I can see beauty in silently entering the empty church I grew up in. It should’ve always been this way: God and I and the silence. Only us two in the room.
Diving into nostalgia doesn’t mean I’d like to have those days back. Definitely not. I wouldn’t correct any route that brought me here. But I like to check my old good references and think about who I used to be and wonder what’s the impact of those days on who I am today.
I’ve always loved this romantic idea of a pilgrim walking across unknown territories looking for something magical that would change his life forever. An epiphany philosopher in a path searching for the perfect ingredients blending reality and the mysteries of faith in a magic potion.
The older I get more I want to become this man. I want to be this person looking for signs everywhere my feet are, looking for love and knowledge, compassion, peace and healing. I keep telling myself: just go somewhere and write notes of what you see, take pictures of faces, watch the signs of life, surrender with the miseries of life. Is it to much to ask?
My letter to 2021 is that I can make it to new explorations. I want to contemplate life in different ways, see things differently. I don’t want to erase what I’ve seen and lived, but I want to reset my brain so I can marvel at something to the point of epiphany.
I thought about that while revisiting my past. My journals from that time reflect exactly what I lived in the last decade. Back then it looked so distant. But I did it. So for now, I want a new camera in hands, notebook an pen, and I want ordinary things happening. I want to take notes of small things that makes life worth living.
In a way or another it’s interesting to look back and see that the young me wouldn’t be disappointment with who I have become. Probably a bit frustrated with the fact that I haven’t published a book before my 30s, as it was the dream. Probably frustrated with mistakes made and opportunities lost. But I had to live first, cross roads and oceans, meet people, commit mistakes and learn in the process. And yes, I’ve learned so much.
Tonight young boy, as I rewatched the last episodes of Dawson’s Creek, we can make that silly dance once again singing to Paula Cole while eating popcorn. The cable TV is on and we pray for stable weather, otherwise we will miss the anticipated episode.
The anthem of yesterday, beautiful boy, is the same of today: “I don’t want to wait for our lives to be over.”