My Hidden Lives // Prose

42. about the parts that make a whole


I looked at those strangers’ photographs, pieces of their lives, and I marveled at how beautiful and otherworldly they seemed – I wondered if these lives had truly existed or were they simply projections in my own consciousness, of something I thought was or should be real. And then I remembered. It was very quiet at first, but as I went on – on through the stream of pictures and memories, on through the world wide web of li(v)es, I realized this was my own life once, as well. I’ve been the girl in the sea someone somewhere had taken a picture of. I’ve lived these memories, in my own way, with many others who observed the final masterpiece of my year with an artist and hailed what they perceived as beauty, or love.

The majesty of strangers’ lives. Their distance. Their silence. Perhaps that’s what makes them as magical. That they are not our own.

Once in every few months, I like to tell myself – when I wake up tomorrow, I will be new again. I will buy a role of black and white film and their lives will become mine. It is as close to irrational thinking I can get. As close to the God I don’t believe in, when I believe in art and rebirth over the course of one sole night, ten hours or maybe even less – depending on how many trivial things need to be done, how many tasks ticked off the lists I religiously compile. But there are still those nights, when I lie down and think – tomorrow, I will be another. I will produce a moment.

There are no artificial memories. These are not the things you can make up from scratch or decide to create as you move along. There have been more than a hundred afternoons when I roamed the city in search of a worthy image, and then there were those when I’d given up on the idea of art and simply took in my surroundings. The moments didn’t need to be grand, then. It could’ve been an ear, a hand of „a someone“ sleeping in my bed, and I would feel an overwhelming need to remember them. The person, and all their parts. As I got older, the need intensified. Still, sometimes I wanted the dreams. I needed those strangers’ lives to remind me I am living my own.


3 thoughts on “42. about the parts that make a whole

  1. It’s interesting how we can look at a stranger’s life and have it remind us we are living our own…I sometimes find this happening and think, hey, this person is doing all these incredible things, and then think about how I used to do things like that and wonder why I don’t anymore. And maybe there’s no good reason I can think of, but at least that person’s life is there waking me up to the fact that I can still do them, that if this person can do them, then I still can, too.

    And I think you’re right…it’s that their lives are not our own that makes them seem magical. Like you can imagine them doing anything…there is no limit.

    • Yes, it really intrigues me! Just as you said, you see others and think – wow, these people are so amazing – and then you think about what you’ve done, and realize that others probably see you in the same way. It’s just that, for the most part, nothing I’ve ever done has seemed so incredible to me because I thought, well, hey, if I can do it, it’s no big deal I guess..

      But more and more often now, I find myself doing these little things, having small moments (like I said in the text) and then the fact that I’m aware of them brings me a certain kind of joy. I don’t know how else to put it, it can be as trivial as cooking a meal or hugging someone, and you notice it as it’s happening, and are left with a kind of epiphany, like – I’m really living, aren’t I? 🙂

      • I like the examples you give–cooking a meal and hugging someone–to me, these don’t seem trivial, but rather two important life-giving (and life-experiencing) actions. Anyway, I’m glad you’re finding that joy…I think it’s in these small moments that it can be most intense and most rewarding.

You think, therefore you are.

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