CORINA

Sometimes you meet someone and your heart screams, “You know me! You know me! Already, you know me!” and for me, this is Corina. I’m not undermining the friendships that have been built over time and effort, because those are worth it, believe me. But it is a gift to be with explanation. It is more rare than you think to be known.

Today we trickled in and out of Shoreditch shops, smelling candles and flowers, running our hands over ceramic and leather, and of course, dreaming over clothes we will never have the money to buy. We licked pastry crumbs off our fingertips, shared stories (so many stories!), and wandered in the London rain. Everywhere she took me was my new favourite place.

We went to Rough Trade, and I showed her a Tobias Jesso Jr. album, because I would describe them both the same way: instantly familiar, nostalgic from the first listen, a piano ballad that reminds me of home. There are some people who you can see their courage and loneliness all at once, and it is the bravest thing.

Thank you for lending me your London for the day, Corina!

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solstice

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1. When people say, “Others will find healing in your suffering,” you can either take it as a cop-out answer to what you are going through or you can believe it. But I promise you that if you choose the latter – bigger, more powerful things will come of it.

Remember, if you ever feel like you’re backtracking, it’s not true, because everyday is a choice and some days are harder to choose what is good than others.

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2. It makes sense that I met you in a time where everything is blooming. It makes sense that I met someone who understands that the past has made me who I am, but doesn’t make me who I am. Someone once looked at us and said to me, “This makes sense.” This makes sense.

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3. We used to throw a backyard BBQ every summer solstice, and we would celebrate the longest day of the year laying in the grass; everything smelling like sunscreen and smokey meat and everything tasting like watermelon. The word solstice has always been one of my favourites, because it means the highest point and also the lowest point. Some solstices are shucking oysters by the sea and swimming pool chlorine, and some solstices are Christmas lights and seeing the stars before dinnertime, but all solstices have a way to be celebrated.

peach jackets / medium format

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When I was growing up mom had this peach jacket that I loved so much that when she tried to donate it, I told her she would have to do it with me kicking and screaming the entire time. It’s well-worn and well worn, and I was so well-loved with her in it. Even my dad, who rolls his eyes at my and my mom’s overflowing closets and could care less about the realms of fashion, can pick out that peach jacket from a mile away. To this day, it still lives in my closet, like many other things that I borrowed from her and never returned, but the other day, I left it in dining room. My dad came down the stairs and said to me, “I saw that jacket, and I thought for a second that your mom was back,” and I thought to myself how some days, it feels like we’re still just waiting for her to come home.

SEATTLE

Seattle is a place that looks like home and feels like something new, so we did all my favourite things that I would do at home. We went to bookstores, drank yummy coffee, perused record stores, ate our way through downtown, touched way too many vintage dresses, and stopped at the flower markets (although Grace never lets me buy anything because she says it makes her sad when the flowers die). Felicia said, “Sometimes you don’t know whether you need to get out of your city or if you just need to get out of the city,” and I’ve been taking the time lately to do a bit of both. I’ve always been frustrated in not knowing what it is I really need or having others unable to articulate what they need, but I’ve been learning over and over again that figuring out what we really need is a worthwhile, timely process. If we really knew what we needed, we wouldn’t need anything or anyone else, ya feel?

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HERE / NOW

“I want to stick my net into time and say ‘now’ as men plant flags on the ice and snow and say ‘here’.” – Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek.

Last week, to say that, “I am here,” was non-existant. I can’t pinpoint you anything on latitude and longitude or really, pinpoint to you at all what last week was like. I’ve been retyping this post trying to find the right metaphor to hide behind, but there’s no other way to say it: having anxiety is shitty. Being someone who is moved by others and simultaneously being too afraid to get out of bed is shitty. Staying home all day and not being able to find rest is shitty. Pretending not to care about things or saying you’re sick instead of telling people what’s actually going on is shitty. Feeling like you’re going to lose everything for no reason at all is shitty.

But on Thursday, I woke up for the first time in what felt like an eternity with zero anxiety. I texted Grace, “LIFE IS SO BEAUTIFUL,” and got a nose piercing, because why the hell not? To say that, “I am here,” right now, means I want to plant my flags in everything. My camera feels insufficient. My pen and journal are futile devices. My hands can’t hold enough. There are so many moments I just want to make permanent. I’m currently living in the pages of Letters to a Young Poet by Rilke, which was recommended to me by someone who’s taste I always hold close to my heart. He writes: “Believe in a love that has been stored up for you like an inheritance.” And that is what I want to do – store up everything around me that I love like it will waterfall into other things later. I want to believe in a love that has been created in this way for me.

So, with that being said, here are some pieces of my inheritance that I have stored up for the past few months:

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Bowen Island on Film

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1. Shooting with my DSLR while I was on-the-go was the best, but now that I’m home, I’m more than happy to have my film camera back. The theme of coming home has been relearning everything. I’m relearning how film carries a different weight. I need stillness. I need patience. I need to forgo certain shots in order to take better ones. It takes time to reach the end of a roll. It takes time to receive the final product, and time puts a haze over expectations. Film photography is forgetting, and then remembering again.

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2. Last weekend, we spent our days huddled on Bowen Island in a house on a hill owned by hippies with 3 Juno Awards. We went hiking. We played video games (because the boys obviously could not leave their video games behind). We got drunk, told secrets, and laughed a lot. We were quiet. We were loud. We had dance parties.

For me, the week before was one of those heavy-shoulders, runny make-up, eye-bagged weeks. I literally cried over Richard eating my pizza, because that’s how bad things got. And when the weekend hit, I felt like I could breath again. Getting out of Vancouver physically got me out of that headspace for a few moments, and it was like hitting a reset button. Or maybe it was just the snooze button, but whatever it was – the mountains and the sea do that to you. Rest does that to you.

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3. My favourite thing about the weekend was that we all cooked for each other, and the weeks leading up to the trip, everyone bragged about how awesome their meals were going to be. I was talking about the weekend later with Ben and he said, “It was great to see what everyone brings to the table,” and he really meant it literally. I love that when we are called to serve one another, we step up our game and go ham (ok, no more food puns from hereon out).

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4. “Each friend represents a world in us, a world not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that new world is born.” – Anais Nin

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5. I have been thinking about ceremonies and traditions a lot, and how many times you have to do something before it becomes a tradition. Everything grows differently, and at this age, I will never have expectations for things to stay stagnant for very long, but tradition is what eases comings and goings. It’s what makes leaving heartbreaking and what makes returning look like open arms. I haven’t been with these friends for very long, but already, there are patterns that make me feel comforted – the way we play the good kind of games; the way certain things are always done in communion, and the way that our traditions tend to be invitational. I hope these are things that always stay important.

Amsterdam

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1. I took my first real solo trip to Amsterdam over the weekend, and it was frustrating, but I also think it was a necessary and important experience for me to have. My luggage didn’t make it with me on the plane, so I had to go a few days with only the things I had in my backpack. I could only buy the bare necessities, because my credit card wasn’t working and I left a majority of my cash in my luggage (super smart, I know), so it was a very minimalistic weekend. Regardless, it was good for me to be alone for a few days. I could take everything in at my own pace. I could process everything on my own time. I’m a lot more emotional when I’m on my own, and I think everyone needs to have the space to feel what they need to feel and stop when they feel overwhelmed. It was annoying dealing with the luggage situation without any help and scary taking on a completely new city without someone by my side, but at the same time, it was also nice to adventure without the pressure of filling time or going to the “must-see” things.

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2. The main reason I chose to come to Amsterdam this particular weekend was so I could see one of my favourite artists, Owen Pallett, perform live. He’s been on the top of my list for the past 4 years, and the show was definitely the highlight of my trip. I couldn’t believe how incredible the venue was. The concert was in a small lounge area at the top of the Muziekgebouw aan’t IJ, which is a glass contemporary music space that overlooks the canals of Amsterdam. It was intimate, with couches and hanging lights in the background, and it was probably one of the most beautiful venues I’ve ever been in. I was blown away by how Owen Pallett live loops, swooned by the gentleness and dissonance of his violin fingers, and surprised by his dry sarcasm. The night was cosmic and ethereal, and I’ve never cried at a concert before this, but it happened (like I said, I am much more emotional when I am alone, haha).

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3. I was really impressed by the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, not because there were a bunch of famous paintings, but because it gave a really a visceral perspective on his life. I love the way he paints as if people were made of earth, the way he compared himself to a monk or a nun in his dedication to art, and the way he believed that hands were the most expressive part of the body. My favourite part of the museum was where you could listen to letters that were written between Vincent and his brother Theo, who was his most trusted confidant. You could tell how much he loved his brother, because he spent time picking his words the same way he mixes his paint colours until they are just right.

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4. The Amsterdam floating flower market is one of the dreamiest places I’ve ever been to. The first thing I saw were these huge pink floral clouds hanging from the ceilings and I couldn’t believe it was real. Everything smells so fresh, and you can buy just about everything flower- and plant-related… including a Grow-Your-Own-Weed starter kit, ha.

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5. I spent most of my time wandering aimlessly through the streets, bridges and canals of the city. Amsterdam is really just a great place to walk through, because every building is so unique, but somehow they all fit together. There are plenty of cafes around to duck into if you’re tired or cold, and I think it’s been the best city I’ve been too aesthetically. You literally can’t go 30 seconds without seeing a bike or something on a bike, which makes everything even cuter, but also more dangerous as a pedestrian, because instead of watching for 2 lanes of car traffic, you have to watch for 4 and sometimes 6, because of the bike lanes and tram lines.

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6. The last thing I did in the city was go to the Anne Frank House. It was an incredibly sombering experience, and there was one video of her best friend talking about her experiences with Anne at Auschwitz that really broke my heart. I liked that at the end of it all, there was hope for better things to come – for healing and for things to be different. My favourite quote I heard was this:

“Her would-haves can be our reality. Her would-haves are our opportunities.”

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7. The first thing the receptionist said to me when I arrived was, “Be careful of the stairs! They’re dutch!” All the stairs were very steep and narrow, and for the most part, they’re like that in all the buildings in Amsterdam. It makes sense, because all the houses are also very tall and narrow. And when I thought about it a bit more, maybe that’s why the Netherlands have the tallest people in the world (the average for a man is 6 ft!). It’s like how fish grow bigger when they are put in bigger bowls, so I guess this might be true for humans too (but don’t ask me to back up my theory with scientific facts, haha). Maybe if I stayed there a little longer, I would grow taller as well.

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