I saw the Milky Way in Adelaide.
I made the trip up the hill overlooking the city, but there were lights further off that competed for my interests. I don’t know if I’ve ever felt that small.
The lights spoke, hushed yet confidently, of a history I’ll never be privy to. They spoke of things infinitely beyond my control or scope of experience. They grasped to take the hand of my imagination.
It was a sight that commanded my attention, but my mind raced with distraction as I tried to digest the enormity of it all, of the fact that while this sight comprises our entire sky, it exists completely apart from our atmosphere.
“If only Miranda could see this.”
“If only I had got a new prescription for my contacts.”
“If only Calvin could have woken up to this.”
“If only I could turn to the awe of what’s outside instead of the chaos inside.”
A sky painted with fires long burning, brighter today than ever before, the Milky Way swears by a future filled with promise.
Touring for To Write Love on Her Arms has a way of making you feel small. If it’s not a mountain or a sky, then it is a smile and an embrace. I am on the receiving end of a most unique privilege. I share space with people thousands of miles away. I hear their stories, enfold them into my own, and keep their stories alive by serving as an audience. There are billions of us, sharing more in common than perhaps we’d ever care to admit. And in the space that separates us, we are still united as a collective history unrolls like a scroll or a red carpet, a sacred walkway where your eye contact is the ultimate prize.
We may not always know it, but we get a tremendous amount of say-so in the day-to-day. We get to choose how we love ourselves and others, which I am convinced is the most significant thing that we will ever do. We get to choose the lucky ones with whom we share our space and story. We can find or deny the time to acknowledge the weight of feeling a loved one’s heartbeat through their palms into ours. We have the choice to continue the not-yet-mastered dance of surrender, of staying, of intention, which lies between all of the reasons for fight or flight. We can listen to the beautiful notes carried on the wings of a stomach full of butterflies. We can hold on to the belief that being truly known remains possible.
The things that connect us are often the things we look past, be it by distraction or self-prescribed silence. We crawl when we should dance. But if we use our imagination and our honesty, we will surely find a life full of intersections. I saw it just the other week: a parent standing in the place of a child, hoping that healing in their relationship may still be possible. He was frightened by the passing of inherited illness but believed that simply showing up was just the opportunity that was needed. I saw it when a woman who has battled self-injury noticed my own scars, and who, between greetings with passers-by, knew for an instant she was less alone. I saw it in weathered wristbands representing 386 sober days from a drug responsible for an epidemic of isolation. I saw bravery in shaking pens expressing Fears and Dreams, and I saw anxiety dissolve into personal connection.
I saw flashes of brilliance reaching each other against a backdrop that at first appeared so empty. On a hill at night. At the booth in the city. We are all dancing in spirals, cosmic and interpersonal. We are waving from our distant corners, ensuring your story is my story is our story. Wherever we go, we will get there together. You are not alone.
Thanks to everyone who made our Soundwave and WestFest experience so memorable, especially the folks who helped out or stopped by the TWLOHA tent.