When I feel overwhelmed I escape. I take myself out of my life as I know it and tend to the part of my mind I know I have been ignoring. When I was younger my parents would get into these crazy intense fights. They would yell, I would cry because I do not take confrontation well. My mother would lock herself into her room and my father would tell me we were taking a drive. At a young age he taught me the most valuable lesson. Drives clear your head, they help you think. No words were ever exchanged on these car rides, I usually had a book or a drawing I was working on. Although, periodically we would make eye contact to ensure we both were in fact, “good”.
Here I am at twenty-two, following the same practices. The only difference is I do not have a little me in the back seat to ensure if we are both in fact, “good.” So instead, I look to myself, I am sure enough not good. I keep trying to figure out how I got to this point. I have been stretched so far, I forgot who I was and who I am. I once was told, “I admire you because you have the ability to move forward without regretting it, you embrace change well.”
The first step, stepping out of the box. When I first moved out of Maryland, I needed a change. New York was my chance to leave and I took it. I never looked back, no matter how hard I wanted to. I had to prove to myself I will not go back to where I started. I made a pact with myself that anything I do, will be better than the last. Thus far I have been maintaining my end of the bargain, a few hiccups but I am proud of myself. I used to take weekend trips to White Plains. I fell in love with the city. It had everything I loved Italian food, scenery, lakes, culture and everything in between. Four years later, I find myself back in the city I found my inspiration. I took in the air, and drove with no destination. The air is different in White Plains, but nonetheless familiar.
I took myself out to eat at an old Italian restaurant. As soon as I walked in, I was lost in time. The thick Italian accents, the vintage wallpapers, even the decor. The ambiance made me feel at ease. I sat alone in the corner surrounded by a sea of uninhabited seats. If you know me you know I hate, I mean hate, awkward situations. This fortunately was not one of them. My waiter John, who I later realized was the owner, kept asking if I was okay. I started to get annoyed after the fifth time but, for some reason older generations get upset when you barely touch your plate. I couldn't get mad at him because I had a table full of food but I barely touched a thing. I was more concerned on how to write this article, I took a break and began to pick at my food.
He came back and started a conversation. We talked about life, we talked about relationships and how his next door neighbor's daughter was having an affair with the pool boy. In my head I wanted to say, I think they are just having sex if they both are single but yet again older generations are stuck in their lingo, so I didn't bother. I sat there for hours just talking and realizing I am not the only one with problems especially the ones of my own. “Do what’s right for yous because at the end of the day, you’re smart, you have a head on your shoulder, you don’t lack common sense, yous can carry a conversation and to top it off you’re beautiful”, John said. I smiled. I got my food wrapped up and headed back home. He told me to stop by whenever I am in town. I said, “I will, you can hold me to it.”
As I drove home I realized, it’s important to meet new people. I am a person who loves meeting new people. The best pictures I’ve taken have been of people I never knew. The best articles I have written have been encouraged by people I barely knew. Something with the mystery of not knowing the person outside of the topic or moment makes me believe it is authentic, raw and untarnished. I make up stories in my head of who they are, how their lives are. Once that emotion is dimmed and the sole focus is the art. It was then I had the epiphany that I got my eye back. I have been so stressed, not aware that stress is one of the many emotions that needs to be dimmed in my life. I am proud of who I am, and I am proud of who I am becoming. I just have to trust her and her process.
Without Wax - Chloe Ridore