I just looked at the calendar and remembered that it’s the anniversary of Emily Dickinson’s birth. A year ago, I posted a video while I was deep in work on my thesis.
I watched the video, noticed some of the uncertainties in my mannerisms, a quieter tone in my speech. I think I’ve shed most of that uncertainty, and definitely have found a stronger voice. I thought about picking a random poem and recording a new video, but I’m feeling a little under the weather today, which is annoying because I donated blood yesterday and if I’m unwell now, I need to call the blood center and warn them of potential cooties. Sadface.
Anyway, I began to think, not so much about anniversaries in the traditional sense, because bleh, traditions. I thought more of being able to take an odd measurement like this, of a year in your own life. So much was about to change for me after I recorded this video. For one, I was on all the pain meds when I recorded this, because of a slipped disc. I’d received one horrifically painful shot in my spine, and was about to get another, one that would actually start to make me feel better.
A few months after that, I would be done with the thesis, defending it, passing (without revisions!!!), and then graduating. After that, I got a promotion and now here I am… kind of in what feels like an in-between space. A lot of the time, I feel like I am on the brink of something amazing, but I am not sure quite how I intend to get there. So I just keep working on various projects, trying to see them through to whatever ends I can create for them. I figure, as long as I am working on something that makes me happy, I’ll figure out the rest.
Looking back at a year ago, for a brief moment, I wondered where I thought I would be a year from then. I brushed off the thought in the next second, because I don’t really care what December 2012 Lauren thought. Whatever I expected or hoped for probably isn’t what happened. So it goes. And all I can really do is keep pushing forward, trying to make art that makes some kind of difference. That’s my focus once you take away, “Do the work, graduate.” In other words, I think it’s something like, “Write powerful words, put yourself out there, revel in delight.” In the next moment, I wonder where I’ll be a year from now. I guess we’ll see.
Find ecstasy in life; the mere sense of living is joy enough. – Emily Dickinson
I think that each year, if you choose to measure it in loss, or in heartbreak, you could find yourself at your worst. If instead, you try to reflect upon what joy you have, what delight you can find in every day, that can help you maintain a sense of hopefulness about the world. Without hope, what do we have? And with that, I will let the birthday girl have the last word.
“Hope” is the thing with feathers –
That perches in the soul –
And sings the tune without the words –
And never stops – at all – – Emily Dickinson