And I tell them a fun story about MySpace and vanity, being a teenager, going with the flow, luck and chances and here I am.
But in reality there is so much more, I'm an escape artist, you see.
The last few months have reignited that spark in me in different ways. It's always when I'm single that I feel most myself. I guess I have a tendency to bury myself in other people when I love them, and that doesn't feel so bad. But when you're out in the cold at 4am on the street where you used to live, it all flows back through me and I remember why I took up photography.
Ever since I can remember, I've loved writing, stories, poetry, words, art, paintings. Music is the ruler of my soul. I'm listening to this right now, after spending the last 30 minutes in silence, studying my current state.
I don't think it's a desire to avoid unhappiness, and I don't think I necessarily want to run away from anything or anyone. I just have this underlying thudding in my chest which forces my legs to run once in a while. My heart seems to connect to moments once in a while, usually in the wind, and I just get this feeling of magic and peace which floods and overtakes my entire mind, body, everything. And I know there's more, I've felt more before. I've gone to places in my mind which I didn't know existed, I've felt 10-second euphoria of feeling like I was standing in a strobe light, all the atoms and molecules of my hands becoming the surfaces they were touching, I've switched off the left hemisphere and all I can remember is feeling like I was running, out of breath, towards an edge of some sort. Swinging from rung to rung of an old ladder, out of the skies to that next place. That Next Place. It's like a recurring dream. And I'm stood there, breathless, just trying to scoop up all my favourite memories into my arms and not let any of them fall away. I know this place exists but it's in my mind, and there is a sweet, sweet sadness in that.
So I take photos. I leap into these worlds which are in my head, which exist in songs and poetry and art. There's something else out there, there's a freedom which you can't grasp. I hope my soul goes there when I leave this world, I hope that death is the sweetest feeling, that familiar run, trying desperately to hold tightly to those precious memories and feeling them slip quietly through my arms, into some vast empty space. Who knows.
I can't ever explain it properly, because I'm not you and you're not me and we'll never quite see things the same way. I don't believe in God, but C.S Lewis summed it up best when he said
“If I find in myself desires which nothing in this world can satisfy, the only logical explanation is that I was made for another world.”
For now, all I can do is visit these places in the only way I know how. With my camera and my mumblings of a mind which cannot sleep.