Talking about and working through personal events is important because spending too much time with nostalgia will destroy your present.
People have a tendency to bare their souls at night. I’m not sure what it is about the dark that makes others more vulnerable, but I’ve always had my deepest conversations once the sun sets. I think about a lot of things at night. About cities, and the ocean. How the cold wind would play with my hair, leaving nothing but a tangle of curls around my face.
I think about summer.
About walking the streets of Salamanca at night. I was just about to turn 17 and I had never been completely alone abroad before. The university was a 20-minute walk in the opposite direction of where I lived. It was where all the nightlife was. The city center was full of drunk men and naive girls stumbling into bushes. I was never a fan of heavy drinking and blacking out on street corners, so I avoided that area after 10.
The city was dead and completely silent where I lived. The key to my apartment was old and I cried on the dark sidewalk over being locked out multiple times. Scared that I would be kidnapped and sold if I stayed out too late. It didn’t help that I watched a documentary on trafficking in Russia a few days prior to leaving for Spain.
But I wrote my favorite poetry those nights. I’ve found that words tend to flow the quickest when your heart hurts.
There’s a great beauty in the sadness and depth of a person’s words. The way their voice cracks when they talk about someone or something that they once loved, the way they smile when they talk about their truth. The more you listen the more you come to realize the depth and shallowness of a person’s feelings. How so many of us are consumed with nostalgia. It breaks my heart that so many people feel the need to repress who they are and how they feel out of fear of being judged.
I’ve come to realize that we all have turmoil in our hearts. Thoughts and worries that we don’t divulge, sometimes not even to our closest friends. These feelings stay tangled in our bedsheets, waiting for us to join them again once the sun sets. No matter how confident someone appears, at the end of the day, we all just want to be heard. To feel accepted, to have our decisions affirmed.
Many of these conversations, for myself at least, happen around bonfires and smores. Laughing through smoke-filled lungs, and crying as the ash plays games with the wind. Bonfires are something sacred for me. I don’t enjoy them with people I can’t be myself around. Fire can make people feel brave. Some of my favorite moments have been in those simple nights with good people.
My favorite thing to do at night is to go on long walks with people I care about. With people who inspire me, people who I can be myself around.
The thought takes me back to a summer night in Brooklyn a few years ago. The bar my friends and I stopped at claimed to be authentic Mexican but no one I know from Mexico would dare make a margarita using a premade mix. The bartender didn’t appreciate me pointing this out. I was busy feeling sorry for myself and I ripped my shirt that night dramatically sliding against a door to sit on the cold tile floor. I was a little drunk and I was slowly falling in love with the city skyline.
I used to spend a lot of time in that headspace of feeling sad. I still go there, but I’m better now. It helps that I’ve found people who are authentically happy and don’t just preach it. I can’t relate as often too sad posts, and I don’t crave angst like I once did. I hadn’t realized how this thought process was quickly destroying me.
Everyone has some story to tell, and we all remember events differently. It’s what makes us truly unique and beautiful.
I understand what it feels like be hopeless and out of control. I know what it’s like to lose someone you loved with your whole heart. But through this, I’ve learned the importance of love, why it’s important to do things that scare you. Because while I’ve cried over the loss of people, I’ve also cried over the beauty of it all.
The sun shines, the birds sing, waves crash, and people continue to laugh.
We’re all more alike than I had once thought.