22 June 2017

merit




do i live a life worth telling stories about?


I was just at this concert and my little sister got to talking about being on a tv show, going into detail about all the crazy stuff she had to do. the guy talking to us turns to me and asks, "She was on tv , what about you? What crazy stuff have you done?"

My mind went blank. I've done a lot of cool stuff... I'm justifying all this now, but I haven't lived all too boring of a life –– I've eaten a free Michelin meal in Erfurt, I've ridden around Paris at midnight on the back of a motorcycle, I've taken a jet ski deep into a sandstone crevice with walls 50 feet up on both sides –– these are moments that make me feel alive. What did I tell this stranger? I told him that i took my pants off for a film, once. A student film. Why? Was I tying to be edgy, to relate to my little sister who excels in front of the camera?


See the arrows? That's my dad and his boarding school friends
When i'm 50, am i going to have stories to tell my kids? My dad's prime performance is warming up dinner guests with stories about his adventures as a    r e b e l l i o u s   y o u t h     in Pakistan. He jumped ditches with his motorcycle, he backpacked along the mountains with his friends (where he stumbled upon mounds of heroin and men with big guns), he was an all around varsity player, a defender of the nerds. What will I say?

I've traveled a lot of places, taken a lot of pictures, been on a lot of sets - yet constantly I am always behind the camera. I capture other people living a life worth talking about, worth photographing. when am i ever telling mine? Maybe I should be in front of the lens more often.


Woman turns her gaze to the streets of Riga

I think about this on the drive home from the concert. As my ears ring from being close to the stage, my head fills with these thoughts of being lesser-than, boring, forgettable. I passed under orange lights on the freeway, my mind adrift in a state of bad news.

I can list off things I've done, or know how to do. My go-to is the time I went couchsurfing in paris, where I rode on the back of my host's motorcycle while we cruised around the city at midnight. I did a lot when I studied abroad: 
I experienced so many firsts in terms of adventure and independence, however it's hitting me now that all of this is in the past. It's memory. I don't want stories of when I'm 21 to be the only stories I tell.


What have I done since then? I've travelled a lot. Held some glow-in-the-dark algae in my cupped hand. I went camping for the first time. I worked on a feature film (hey, leena). I took up rock climbing and yoga. I'm going surfing on saturday.... all this yet I feel inadequate. I feel like I need to one-up my little sister to these strangers at a concert in Echo Park.

Marty got Cooper halfway through his fight against cancer

I could write a book on all the things that strangers have told me in coffee shops or bookstores around los angeles. Therapy dogs, mothers dying, long-term marriage advice, restarting a career in graphic design, driving across the continental US the day after getting hitched. How many pages would a book about me take up? If all these people combined forces, if they all wrote down a take-away from our conversation, would it hold any substance?