MANHOOD: Lost in London
It's about 12am here as I type this up. The awesome thing about living in Anchorage, Alaska during the summers is the near infinite amount on sunlight we get. The sun officially goes down around this time but starts to arise around 3am. We have what's effectively and aptly called the "midnight sun" because the daylight here is very extreme. There is little room for the normalcy of most other states' concepts of day and night, where the former is bright and sunny, and the latter is dim and moonlit. It's my favorite thing about this state, the 49th state, the Last Frontier of America.
For the past few hours since our daughter's departure into a deep sleep, my wife has been dividing her attention between her personal workload and binge-watching Grey's Anatomy. I've been right beside her, trying to work on everything I possibly can to prepare for the week, but with heavy eyes and an extremely distracted mind, I felt deep down inside that I needed a break. I couldn't think about what I needed to do next. My head went from working on Rachel Paterson's upcoming guest blog and resizing pins for my Pinterest business page, but I simply couldn't put my fingers to work on them, nor my heart. I felt burnt out physically. Allie suggested I take a walk around the neighborhood. After all, even at midnight, the sun was still up, and Lord knows it was quite warm. I decided to leave and walk the block.
The moment I left, I was transported back to 2012, before I even began dating Allie. Before my daughter, before college graduation...I was in London on an arts internship with Youth With a Mission during the summer of that year. Our internship was small and quite diverse--I was the only male of two, the only person from Alaska; my roommate was from Argentina, and the others were all women from Seattle, Africa, Australia, and the United Kingdom, respectfully. I remember on our free days, usually the weekends, I would take my iPhone and phones, and would walk out by myself during the sunset. I would go someplace with no end in sight--I would literally get lost. It was the most peaceful place of existence with Nujabes in my headphones. It was just me, God, and Luv(Sic) Part 3. This would calm my spirits, recharge my soul, and deepen my relationship with God and myself.
Tonight when I walk out of my apartment doors to go on my lonesome walk, I suddenly felt my stomach turn upside down. Fear. I was going back to a place, mentally, I hadn't been in years. I was returning to the place in my mind where I could just walk, and walk, and walk, and be lost. My body resisted where my soul was stretching out to. But I kept walking, and suddenly I was awake. I didn't realize how far I had even walked, all I knew was that I was outside. And despite the late hour of the night, the slightly peaking sunlight in the sky kept inviting the neighborhood residents outside. I walked by so many quite souls, walking their dogs, smoking cigarettes and checking their phones. One girl was even reading. I had found my recharge space.
I took a deep breath as I released I had returned to that place, and accepted it. That fear dissolved. I began thinking of everyone I met in London. I suddenly missed every boy and girl I had grown so close with in London. People I knew I would never talk to or see again once I came back to Alaska. People that had no place in my new life with my wife and daughter. I enjoyed my lonesome late-night walk; it recharged me and, I knew, as soon as I came back home, I would want to write about this. Why?
Because we all come from some place. We all have starting points. My trip to London was the genesis of a new me, and I think sometimes in my soul and mind I need to return there to fully find my place in the here and now, to remember why I need to be so hungry and work my tail off for Allie and Diana. It's not about the people I was around, or the mentorship I gained there, but rather the quiet and solace I experienced. It was those quite moments in the city, on the double-decker buses, in the back of churches, or late at night reading or beatmaking, or early in the morning before breakfast, that brought forth a new battery I could use to recharge my artistry and my grind. I will always be lost in London.
And one day I will bring my wife and daughter there so they can experience what I have. The best art, the best words ever written, my most powerful kairo moments---it's there. It isn't here, it's there. And when I channel that from here, I can write again. I can breathe again.
Okay, I think I'm ready for week now. Thank you, London. See you again soon.