When I read over my draft of Set Your Watch to Moscow Time I’m always struck but two things.
One, I seem so anxious and hesitant. Its like in afraid of my own shadow. I wish I was bolder and braver but instead those pages and filled with my worries and unwillingness to dive in and trust the world.
Two, how fragile I felt. Travel is intense and demanding. It leaves you exposed and vulnerable. It’s great but it’s also scary. I was sick before my first flight landed, before I’d even left Canada. It was not an auspicious beginning to a seven week trip.
I spent the rest of the trip painfully aware of the limitations of my body and how much harder it is to feel crappy when you don’t have he security of home.
I’ve always been the sickly one in my family. My plan for the zombie apocalypse is to die early.
There are echoes of how I felt the last time I was here. The weirdness of sounds altered by injuries. Ringing in my ears. The oddness of how loud everything is. How peaceful and quiet the city is at 5am while it waits to awaken from its slumber.
I’m not who I was. You don’t get multiple injuries in three months and have your life fall apart and have your body or mind come out the same on the other end.
It’s been a year. Instead of driving back to Calgary to rest and take a break from how badly everything went when I arrived in Vancouver I am in Japan.
I am doing so much better. I am okay but in some ways I’m also not. That dull ache that haunts my wrist is more of an intense and urgent twinge. I’m going to be leaving my camera behind, not convinced that this is the place to try to answer the questions I have about photography.
Can I still do this? Should I try?
Is photography something I should let go of? Is it something I can adapt to?
Travel is intense and physically demanding. I question whether my arm can take the things I used to ask it to do without a thought.
Now I know that I am far from my dumbbells and yoga mat, and that I probably shouldn’t push it. I must balance the NO that pain shouts loudly with Keep Moving, words I try to keep fresh in my mind.
I don’t know what the pain means or what to do about it. I just don’t know.
The uncertainty and fear. The feeling good sometimes and bad others is one of the hardest parts.
I just don’t know anymore.
I miss that person I used to be, the way I used to exist in and experience the world. I would meander and click. Photography the reason to go outside, the main activity when I traveled, a way of seeing and noticing the world.
If not to take pictures than why go outside?
I have gotten better about just being. Just going out into the world.
I am okay but I’m also not. The damage of that sprain haunts my sinews and tissues and decides what I can and cannot have. I am filled with grief and gratitude. I feel so much better than I once could’ve imagined. Still I miss who I used to be and wonder whether I can hold onto parts of that or should let go.
I am constantly aware of the precariousness of my existence and my body is a way that I never was. There are things I worried about not being able to do that I can now do and I try to enjoy the heck out of them. I feel lots of confusing and contradictory things.
I have my phone. I can snap photos with that while I am here. That’s good enough I guess.