Day 28 | In that moment

Have you ever been in a moment and realized you would remember it forever as the day you fell in love with life?

We were standing in a living room, sipping at our drinks and laughing with strangers. The walls were white and decorated with unique drawings and friendly sayings. Exposed beams dotted the ceiling with a metallic air vent crossing their paths. Lofted bedrooms opened up to the bright space right above our heads. The home was beautiful and the moment magical.

I had dragged my friends Cam and Zac with me to the Chicago Art District’s 2nd Fridays event, excited but nervous to be outside of my comfort zone. It isn’t located in one of the safest neighborhoods, but I wasn’t going to let fear hold me back from experiencing life. When we pulled up I smiled like an excited child. The street was lined with old brick buildings, their black and gray trim peeling, exposing the deteriorated wood beneath their finish. Each of the insides was architecturally unique, modern, and artsy. Old wooden ladders led to lofted studios while abstract paintings glimmered under bright lights. Outside, in the back, they were all connected by a balcony overlooking a dense, green garden of overgrown vines and hundred year old trees. Ivy creeped up the exposed brick and plaster, taking back its rightful grounds. It was life a fairytale.

As we walked down the street we came across a studio that was for sale. We looked in the window to see leaves scattered across the floor and trees cut to fit perfectly from ground to ceiling. It was mesmerizing, as if the artist wanted to say, “no one can own the space anyways, the Earth owns it.”

The top of this studio, however, was owned. A door was propped open and a set of stairs led up to what we perceived to be another studio. This was no studio, though. This was someones house. The second I reached the top of the stairs my cheeks turned bright red, I was so embarrassed! I had just walked into someones apartment and intruded upon their personal party! I immediately began to turn around when a couple stopped me and welcomed me. I was so confused, I didn’t know anyone there. The man explained to me that the party is an open house, as in they open their house every month during 2nd Fridays for people to wander in, socialize, eat, drink, and have a grand time. Originally it happened by accident, but quickly it became a brilliant way for visitors to interact.

What a beautiful idea. To open your home up to complete strangers and place your trust in their hands. I met artists, scientists, photographers, writers, and lawyers. Every second of it was surreal. I’ve never felt so exposed yet connected. Thats what leaving your comfort zone does to you. Its terrifyingly raw and exhilarating. It’s interesting how much you learn about yourself when you are put in such a vulnerable and exposed state. I believe it’s only then you realize the person you want to be. I’ve struggled with depression and anxiety for the past three years. In this moment, surrounded by artists, thinkers, dreamers, and believers it all melted. I’m not scared of the real me anymore. I don’t need to make good money or grades or live the status quo life. I need to be me. “There was a time when my world was filled with darkness. Then I stopped dreaming, now I’m supposed to fill it up with something.” I have so much time to fill my life up with “something” and I know that that something will be beautiful, creative, adventurous, passionate, and courageous.

Hours later we left the art district and drove toward the bright lights of the city, and in that moment I knew, I fell in love with life.

doorknob

art studio

art studio 2

tree studio

Day 24 | Pixelated Reality

 

I believe that we have focused so hard on perfecting our vision, that we have lost sight. We have lost sight of who we are, what it is we truly want, and what it means to be human. I try to make mental notes of those around me and things I find interesting. I was doing this the other day on the train home from work. To be honest, this is not a new insight. During my time in Chicago I have noticed the juxtaposition between proximity and interaction. You would think that being crammed into a rail car would force people to notice one another and do something so basic as to speak to one another, but it doesn’t happen. Everybody plays games on their phones with headphones practically embedded into their skull. We do not see one another.

I spoke yesterday of my curiosity, but what I failed to mention is that I lack courage. My mind fills with questions and thoughts, left never to be spoken or answered. People pass through each fleeting moment and I let them, never making connections or acquaintanceships. We have lost our ability to speak. We cannot express ourselves using our own voice. We need feedback before asking someone on a date or a card to say we’re sorry. We hide ourselves behind the veil of pixelated screens, hoping that some how people will get to know the real us from the clicks of a keyboard.

Do we even know ourselves? We spend so much time tuned out to reality that how will we ever know? I desire a life with communication. Beautiful, truthful communication. I don’t want to leave this world with my words unspoken and my dreams unseen. I do not want to live this finite time in fear of myself, my thoughts, people, places, emotions, or experiences. I want to live it all and see it all, do it all and feel it all.

What day is it again? | Creative Cues

Hello hello, my friends! Long time no post. For those of you who actually read this, I’m terribly sorry I haven’t updated you on my day-to-day life. Truth is, my days turned monotonous within the first week of starting work. My cubicle filled office is a buzz kill and I’m learning bureaucracy isn’t my cup of tea. I need more creativity in my life, where I can see a project from start to finish and watch it be implemented. My Roosevelt team met with a really awesome company called the Delta Institute recently. Their Rebuilding Exchange is probably one of the coolest projects I have seen first hand in awhile. And, it combines a few of my favorite things: Old houses, Detroit, Chicago, and repurposing. For those of you who know me well, you know I love refinishing old furniture and repurposing it. The Rebuilding Exchange is a creative, sustainable builder’s dream! I will go into it more on a later date after I visit the actual warehouse, but for those of you who cannot wait for my stellar photos and first hand experience, here’s the link! http://rebuildingexchange.org

Back to creativity, though. As you can see I have included multiple songs throughout this post. (I not so secretly wish I knew how to produce music, but that’s another story). I don’t think I would have half the motivation, innovation, creativity, or life that I have without music. The capabilities of altering moods and setting ambiance is truly magical. Just think about it! Think about how music has changed over the centuries, how our technological advances are present in the popular music of the times, how we have major and minor songs because songs are ultimately emotions put to paper and vibrations. vibrations. How incredible?! If I ever lost my hearing, I think I would lose my will to live. Music can paint images, even when you can’t see. It can evoke emotions, even when you can’t feel. Behind all the music, though, is people utilizing their creativity. I commend them, for expressing creativity when society depreciates it. You are amazing. Its worth noting that my nostalgia towards music may be due to my recent misplacement of my headphones. Also, if you’re ever looking for a good playlist, check out my Spotify one called “Right Here; Right Now”.

As for what I’ve been up to, I’ve been keeping busy. Work consumes most of my time, along with festivals, train rides, hot yoga, and eating. I’ve learned that one of my favorite things to do in the city is just walk. I stare at the architecture and people, wondering who lives in that apartment and what they do for a living or how that man ended up homeless and if he has a favorite book. I have the curiosity of a 6 year old in this city. In fact, I have a short list of notes in my phone of things to write about. I haven’t developed stories, but heres my list: Old is a smell; A city of confidence; Visit Casa Jesus and Pippins Tavern; “No where to be, but everywhere I want to be”; Things you shouldn’t say to a person named Toby: “That’s my dead cat’s name!”; Talk to the old man who sits outside Barnes and Noble with a sailor hat. With that, I leave you. I hope to write more frequently. It has been hard without wifi, but that is still no excuse. Until next time.