It all started with a couple bottles of fruity flavoured soju, a plate of Korean fried chicken, and two souls that were crazy enough to fuck off to N E W Y O R K .
" I miss myself, who I used to be " I exhaled.
Before I left, I was going through a tough time dancing with the truth. For the past couple months, I've been recklessly running through all the yellow lights. Once a professor told me, "To truly understand something, you need to deconstruct it first. Break it a part into little segments. Once you do that, then you can consider to piece it back together as one whole, cohesive piece". Well, I did just that but... with myself. I tore down everything I knew and was comfortable with. Ever since, I've been trying to redefine this thing called my life.
" Well, you won't find yourself at the end of the bottle or in a dark corner of a club " he noted.
Our red-eye flight was delayed and our legs started to go numb as we sat near a charging outlet on the airport floor. Fifteen minutes prior to boarding, I turned to him and exclaimed how I needed to go the bathroom. Midway through propping myself up, he told me to wait and that he had something for me. In a Mary Poppins magic bag-like fashion, he pulled out a Canon AE-1 out of his backpack. " Happy early birthday" he says nonchalantly. Mind you, my birthday is in late November.
Background context of this pivotal moment: In high school, I loved conceptual and film photography. For my shoots, I would always use the school's dingy and questionably functioning Pentax.
Despite being in astonishment and disbelief, I couldn't wait to capture the city's personality through these lenses. Shooting in film was a skill that I've lost since focusing on my professional development. Not only was I about to discover a new place in the world but, I was about to re-discover an old part of myself while doing it.
ROLL 1: NOTHING. AT. ALL. CLASSIC. First roll of film and I shot a blank. My eagerness and rusty loading skills got to me.
ROLL 2: First roll of color film!
ROLL 3: B&W Favs
Needless to say, our hotel had a humble charm to it. From its rickety air conditioning fans to the unusually large closet that we wouldn't dare store our personal belongings in. Even though our hotel was in a prime location within mid-town Manhattan, it had no Wi-Fi. I was in the most fast pace city in the world and I had never felt more disconnected. Believe it or not, some of my favorite moments of the trip were our nights in. We unapologetically blasted and sang to broadway songs and played boardgames to exercise our strategy skills. It was a good feeling to know that no one could really get to you. Going at our own pace gave me the time to actually think and reflect, which is something I don't get to do very often back at home.
" If we met today, do you think we would be friends? "
" No, I don't see it."
" Yeah, me neither. "
On the plane ride back home I read Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur. This book is divided into four chapters covering topics of heartache, love, pain, and self-healing. Each page has beautifully written poems that are relatable to the everyday young woman. In the last chapter called the healing, I stumbled across a poem that really resonated with me:
This has been something that I have been struggling with over the past couple months. I missed myself and who I used to be. But in reality, I am no longer the same and some of the closest people to me noticed that as well. Growing as a person shouldn't be something to fear. Yes, you will find yourself in challenging situations but, it is in your discomfort where you will find solace.
- There goes Andrea again.