On my thirtieth birthday, my friend Whitney Phaneuf gave me this card. Thirteen years ago I was still rather daft and dumb in the ways of the world, mistaken in many of my beliefs, a baby crawling up the dirt path of life. I doubt that either one of us fully understood the meaning of Henry Miller’s words. Nevertheless, the quote triggered something in the back of my mind, so I stuck it on my fridge, and went out to party till I dropped.
It’s been on every fridge I’ve had ever since, and my constant search for a place and a space has taken me to many different kitchens with refrigerators I did not own.
This one is mine, ours. Matisse’s “Dancers” hold Miller in place, my favorite painting simply because it always made me think of togetherness, truth. I imagined they were naked strangers holding hands, dancing to a silent music, bodies flowing out of unison but into a serene understanding, aware of their surroundings, yet uninfluenced by them.
I turned 30 in New York City, completely unaware of my surroundings, but defined by them. I left the City a few short, blurry years later, leaving behind a career, a life that I so desperately tried to build, friends, and the energy of a place that I was cursed to be obsessed with for the rest of my life.
Awareness comes late in life, sometimes in waves, maybe one each decade, maybe one each time something happens in our lives to shift our minds, be it love, death, disappointment, joy. From the day that I read those words, whether drunk, joyous, miserable, or at peace, I strive to be aware, influenced only by what seems real and true, as I mold, transform and flow in the dance of life, together now, strong hands hold mine, as we float towards tomorrow.