It seemed like it took the seasons forever to warm. We were wearing sweaters and beanies and scarves inside for months.
What can I say about these waning winter weeks and slowly brightening days? I fell in love, reluctantly but surely. From mountaintops to your hometown where the air was thick and hot as summer, corners of Melbourne to Ethiopian restaurants with dismal lighting (either too white and sterile or too yellow and musty), your house to mine (which was eventually yours too after you moved in). Dark stouts, a dim and funky bar with a fighter plane suspended over two couches, jumping fences to sneak into gigs, the tinctures you made for me after I got the flu for the third time in three weeks, flower hearts on the bed, piles of gratitude notes... Your bedroom that was always too cold.
Things were good but things were also never simple. So it goes. Looking back, it's so easy to connect the dots. In the moment, I couldn't imagine how it could go wrong. So it goes. I feel so young sometimes. And so it goes so it goes so it goes.
Each step was necessary. There were things I needed to learn.
At times, it felt like my life was burning—like I had a forest fire under my collarbone and it was spreading. It was hard and people got hurt and I got hurt and people cried and I cried and then we forgave each other and smiled again but sometimes even the best intentions leave a scar and it takes awhile for things to feel okay again.
It's been a year and I finally feel okay again.
These were the days that left a mark. I was utterly consumed by every moment and now my memories feel so manic and blurred.
I wish I had taken my time—breathed in a little deeper, held the air a little longer, found peace in the slow unfolding, been okay with not knowing. I was always scrambling for higher ground, trying to keep things under control, holding things so loosely while also squeezing them to death. I wish I had been calmer. I wish I had more patience.
There's a line from this song we used to love that sings, "don't be scared of what you don't already know."
I didn't realize how fitting that was at the time.
These were the days that left a mark. These were the days that were equally beautiful.
The living room was always filled with vape smoke that smelled like pink bubble gum. We sat on the roof while the sky transformed at that magical end-of-day time while a visitor rapped lyrics with perfect fluidity. Our home swelled to twelve people and a dog with a broken leg. We threw a couple parties with a little cocktail bar stuffed into the pantry where I spun around in circles and consistently got people's orders wrong. I watched you kick off your shoes and run into the ocean as if you were running home—your black skinny jeans clinging to your legs. I stood in a crowd as one of my friend's sang the sweetest, most haunting songs from a smoky stage. Between cups of coffee, walks through fern encased paths, kisses that wouldn't stop, poems that spilled from my mouth, photoshoots in bright studios, big dinners, big love, big moments, I thought these are some of the best days of my life.
So I made art until I was sleepless, cried on Jack's shoulder, watched the sun set with Tully, borrowed books from Bee, played video games with Jef, joked with Michael, drank coffee with Maite, tea with Claire, danced with Rahul and Declan, chatted with Saul, watched Vaughan and Mountain cycle alongside the tram in their bright clothes, played games with Dashy, went to a jazz gig with Sasha and Danika, talked art with Martina, listened to Suse singing with a ciggie in her hand. I was opened up, broken down, nurtured and loved, held and revealed.
You don't expect life to change you but it does. Becoming is a slow process that comes down to a series of moments which turn your feet into another direction and alter how you see.
These were the days that left a mark and I have carried them with me for a long time but now, all I have is gratitude. So thank you to my friends, my community, my ex lovers, my coworkers, my bosses, thank you to everyone who filled these slowly warming months. You all are the shine from the sun.
Photographs from August 2017 - October 2017.