In my first article for this series, I wrote about how the thread of time can be difficult to hold onto while juggling the distractions of the world. Well, somewhere between July and December, life caught up with me. I didn’t realize how fragile that line actually was until I dropped it.
Sorting through the broken pieces of my year, my world is unrecognizable scattered on the floor around me. The shards of memories keep cutting my fingertips as I puzzle them together, but there is no choice in cleaning up the mess I made. Time’s corrosiveness littered last year with heartbreaks, and now I am in the process of sweeping away what I can. This last year was a confrontation with my history, my dreams, and who I want to be. It took a lot of change to be true to myself.
A little bit of context of where I have been since I last wrote. This summer, I fulfilled a lifelong goal of staying with my family in France. With something always in the way, I never had the time to make the trip. But something came over me last spring, where I realized there wasn’t ever going to be the right moment unless I created one. So I put my life on pause and I lived in the rural countryside of Mâcon for a little over two months. Nobody spoke English, so I learned as much French as I could and got really good at expressing with my hands. It was an amazing experience defined by love and solitude. It was the first time in years that I was on my own.
Upon returning to school this fall, I created my thesis film for my undergrad. This project became completely all consuming; I poured everything I had into its creation. This moment felt like the cumulative statement of my youth, whether that’s really true or not. These were my last words before entering the “real world.” Looking for the right thing to say, I began digging in my memories to find what mattered to me most. Dusty jars of creativity, independence, adventure, and even fear got pulled from the shelf. Peering into corners of my mind that have been untouched for a long time, I found things I had been hiding from myself. Once opened, there was no way to put them back.
Winter. I broke up with my partner of 5 years. Moved out of the apartment we shared. Found new people I could trust. Had to let go of those that I couldn’t.
I’ve had a lot of casualties in my life from the journey I have been on recently. This project is one of them. Each month I have started to write something, but I just couldn’t tie the words together. This series began to cast a shadow over me, a grey reminder of how things become more daunting the more you leave them alone. As my feelings grew heavier and the passing months piled, the deadlines became too much weight to bear. I had to let it go in order to keep moving forward.
The Concatenation series was a confrontation with my relationship with time, trying to have a quilt from an entire year that I could look back on. In my first article, I wrote about how basically the only consistency in my life was creating a monthly playlist. As I look onto a new year defined by the most uncertainty I have ever faced, my monthly playlists are grounding me now more than ever before. I wish I had been able to reach my goal with this project, but dropping everything says more about my year than any word I wrote. But through it all, I managed to make every monthly playlist. I’m here now to lay out the pieces.
Someone Great, a movie that I didn’t love, wrote a line that I have never forgotten. I want to leave it here:
“When something breaks, if the pieces are large enough, you can fix it. Unfortunately sometimes things don’t break, they shatter. But when you let the light in, shattered glass will glitter. And in those moments when the pieces of what we were catch the sun, I’ll remember just how beautiful it was.”
Goodbye, 2023. Thank you.
Denouement: the final outcome of the main dramatic complication in a literary work; the outcome of a complex sequence of events