“She never looked nice. She looked like art, and art wasn’t supposed to look nice; it was supposed to make you feel something.” – Rainbow Rowell
If I found a way to describe it all, would you see what I see? I think about this question a lot. My mind will drift at odd times of the day while I picture different ways to describe a moment, place, or person. I collect these memories vigorously. Scribbling down sentences or fragments of them in my journal, on napkins, or in the notebook of my phone. I’m selfish like that: I wish I could capture them just as they are and make them mine forever.
It was a rainy night in late December. The news had filled my mind with sorrow. There was so much pain, so little time, and people kept on hurting each other. The hood of my jacket pulled deep into my face, I took the dogs for a walk, willingly following them into the gloomy darkness. It wasn’t late but late enough for the streets to be empty. I both welcomed and dreaded the solitude that inevitably drew me in. I thought about life and time and the meaning of everything, why I was here and feeling so much.
By the time I came home I was wound up in a mess of emotions. What if I died and never got to express the feelings I harbored because –
How could I possibly tell you what went on inside of me without you calling me insane? Am I held back by pride or the fear of rejection? Could I bear to be this vulnerable? Broken images from the news I had watched earlier that night came back to my mind: I could be dead by tomorrow – how could I be more vulnerable than I already was?
I met Jesper by accident, provided that you ever meet someone accidentally. I found his videos after I came home that night. He talked about life and his passions, and in a moment where I didn’t understand myself, I understood where he was coming from.
We went for a walk not too long ago. With no direction or goal in mind, minutes slowly turned into hours. It was a cold but sunny winter day. We paused to sit down on a bench from where we overlooked the river. An oasis of nature right next to big streets and large houses. The snow had melted except for a few white spots that still covered the ground. Sunlight crept through the bare branches of the trees around us and illuminated the cold with a wintery glow.
“How do you ever explain all of this to someone else?”
I turned in time to catch Jesper smile. “You can’t.” And after a while he added: “That’s why I can only ever be an artist. I don’t want to tell people what to see or do. You may always feel or see something else. My art is my truth.”
And I smiled, too, because I knew he was right. I will never be able to describe it all and you will never see what I see. And that is okay because I’m starting to believe that moments, like people, can’t and shouldn’t ever be captured completely. Their singularity is their beauty. We are their filters. Art is our language. This is my truth.