When the Spring finally started, I sighed deeply. The beauty of mankind lies within its optimism to see(k) beauty in everything. I wrote that a couple of years ago. I had reminded myself that although I could no longer see the beauty I was going to need to seek for it. Which I managed to see again, but there were days that the only success I had was coming out of bed. I was weighed down by desperate thoughts that nobody liked me. Not my family, not my friends and the whole world was against me. In my road to recovery, I had to shift a lot of perspectives and let go of attachments. My fear of intimacy was breached by a gentle boy who never judged me for what happened in the past. There might come days that I will be able to share it with you all but for now, my past is mine to keep.
Spring brought Easter in April. My sister organised an Easter brunch at her place. Most of my family had talked me into attending since I am reluctant to come at their gatherings. Although I love being around my family, times with them can take its intense toll on me. In the Netherlands, we have two Easter days, just as we have two Christmas days. Which is quite convenient since we celebrate it with two different families. The day had exhausted me so, I climbed into my sister’s bed and when the last family member drained away, I had fallen asleep. When I woke up I looked at the ceiling and broke down into tears. I was clueless to why I felt so overwhelmed. I had such a great day and yet a flood of sorrow drowned me. My sister had drifted off into a slumber but woke up to the sound of my sobbing. She asked me if I was okay. Her concern touched me. I wish there had been more healthy discussions with my sister that could have bonded us stronger. ‘Is it Mum?’ she asked. Everybody knew in my family that my mother and I weren’t on the best of terms. At first, I was compelled to say no, trying to convince myself it didn’t bother me at all but it did. It was just not all of it.
I compared my life to that of my sister’s. My sister had her own place and a job in which she was good at and still, my only success was that I managed to take care of my cat. Although a devil screamed inside my ears that I sucked at that too. I was hesitant in trusting my sister but I asked her to come closer and lie in bed with me. I explained it to her while she was next to me. It was the-never-ending-comparing-my-life with that of more “successful” people, like my sister. She hugged me tight and started sobbing. She told me that although she seems to have everything and most of the times she is happy, she does have days where she doesn’t know why she is doing it. The job requires her to be mean to other people and my sister hates that part. “I honestly don’t believe I am a bad person,” she said through her tears. And I agreed with her a million times and I still do. Some jobs make you do horrible stuff because it earns money. It made sense. The reason why I had been so confused about my success is that I couldn’t afford to compromise a part of myself where I am forced to be unnaturally unkind to others.
In the moment that my sister opened herself since a very long time, I no longer felt being her shadow. She became more human to me. Showing me that her life has a terrible price, a terrible compromise. I was happy in a way that I connected with my sister on such a deep level. It’s a connection I have been yearning for but unable to receive from most of my family. One was enough in that moment. I stopped comparing myself and let go of the self-scrutiny that have held me back for a long time.
The next morning my father’s side of the family came to my sister’s place. I helped my sister prepare everything, feeling at bliss doing stuff for my family. The size of my father’s family has never been big. My father has one brother who doesn’t have any biological kids. Making this table look much bigger than it was the day before. Halfway through the brunch, I felt that someone was missing. The signs were there. There was one extra plate and my heart longed to share the plethora of food which we have, with this gentle boy. I called him. On the phone, he told me he dropped everything and he was on his way to meet me.
As they were busy making plans to go outside and do stuff, I got a little uncomfortable. The idea that the gentle boy, whom I had invited would come in too late because they were busy making other plans. In a moment I had the feeling that I was being ignored again. I retreated in silence and dissatisfaction. My brother came to me and said that ‘some things just happen the way they do, and this is the natural flow. They can’t always wait for others’.
I was still upset about them being less observant but I appreciated my brother’s effort in comforting me. As he got back into his seat, he watched me from across the room. He didn’t take his eyes off of me. It may have salvaged the pain a bit but, it didn’t want to stop itching. I caught him looking at me and I knew that when he closed his eyes in my direction, was a sign that he was thinking of me. In that moment I realised, I was unwitting that my brother was aware of how I felt. My connection with my brother was more silent than the recent rekindled one with my sister. It relieved a lot of pressure. After the gentle boy made his appearance at the door, the atmosphere in the room changed. My family was willing to take him in as if he were already part of them. After coming from a walk, my grandmother came next to me and said that he was approved.
End of April was celebrated with a festival at the Elfia Fantasy fair.
I remember the first time I went with my friend Mieke.
In my early days of photography, my mother took me to a Halloween party for kids to photograph. My mother’s friend, who had organised the party had collected entertainers. Per coincidence, she met Mieke on a bus when Mieke was being simply herself. At the Halloween party my mother scouted Mieke as a model and from there we became friends. Only half a year later she asked me to come to the festival for the first time. When I first arrived, I whispered in Mieke’s ear; that this was the fantasy world existing in my mind and now became real. I had come with her to the Elfia festival for three years. We became distant for a while. It seemed necessary to withhold myself from any form of friendship that we nearly became strangers. Speaking about what happened to me, felt like I was closing a chapter that had been waiting for me to be closed. This chapter will be elaborated in another blog post.
After a very long time planning and rescheduling, I finally had a chance to shoot a quick series with Mary Grace, Whose spirit is open and kind. We shot these in less than an hour.