“You’ve really softened since last year.”
After an evening of intense philosophical discussions about nomadism, living an adventurous life, and stepping out into the unknown, Dipika and I were saying our goodbyes in a hotel parking lot. She was leaving for Viet Nam in just a few short days, and although we knew we would see each other again we couldn’t say when.
Dipika and I have known each other tangentially for several years because we were both integrated into the diverse-yet-everyboy-knows-everybody Durham arts community. It was only when we connected over coffee about the parallels our lives had taken did our friendship truly blossom. Dipika knows the core of me, and therefore I take to heart her comments and recommendations.
So when she told me that I had “softened,” I chuckled — but I couldn’t simply brush off her comment as one about a superficial change in my appearance (uncommonly long blonde hair and a new affinity for flowing wrap dresses).
It is true that I have changed in a mere three months. Plotting (and weathering) this intense project has forced my rigidly-organized-never-stop-whirling-constantly-anxious-Type-A personality to metamorphose into a what-will-be-will-be attitude.
Assimilating to a new culture and falling in love with a new community every month takes a cheese-grater to one’s defenses. The endless waves of surprise, anxiety, terror, love, depression, joy, tenderness, and acceptance have sloughed off every ingrained reaction and left behind a new human. Each place has taught me more about the world (and about myself) and changed me so wholly that I barely recognize the person writing blog posts before the journeying began.
The newly-formed “softness” that Dipika noticed is not weakness nor timidness. It is vulnerability. With each new experience, this project forces me to connect others more deeply and rapidly than I had ever thought possible.
If we open ourselves to the breadth and depth of experiences that the world can offer, we cannot help but to be changed.
And guess what? You can begin opening yourselves right from home by connecting to artists across the globe. Learn more about the artist-activists interviewed on the blog, and connect with many many more artists around the world on the 13/13/13 Facebook page. Leave a comment with your own story or email me to collaborate on a blog post about how you are changing your community through your creativity.
And just out of curiosity, can you see a transformation in these selected blog posts?
- November 19, 2012: Who do you think you are?
- January 27, 2013: Crystallizing the Present
- February 14, 2013: The 5 Life Lessons that Berlin Kept Slapping Into My Face
- February 25, 2013: Failure won’t kill you.
- March 13, 2013: Zimbabwean Hospitality
- April 8, 2013: Same Street, Two Different Cities
(Featured Image “face first” by Catherine J Howard)