a friendly reminder to...
a thing that used to give me a lot of anxiety when i was younger was feeling myself lose interest in something i had previously been really into. i’d find a thing, make it my thing, live and breathe this thing and then suddenly, one day, i would wake up and something would be different. i would be able to sense that the enthusiasm was draining from what had previously absorbed me, like air slowly leaving a balloon.
and then it would be gone.
and i wouldn’t be able to access the genuine feelings of excitement that had buoyed me along before. i couldn’t carry on simply going through the motions because the vacuum left by my exhilarating enthusiasm felt worse than if i had never cared at all. all of a sudden, i had no passion and was disappointed to find that i was standing in exactly the same place as before. the seeking place.
this perceived defect in my character was particularly painful during the phase when i was at all times trying to figure out what i wanted to do with my life. raised on the imposing narrative that the recipe for a good life is to find your passion, turn it into your job, and gain widespread recognition as a result, i was in search of that thing which i loved statically. my purpose.
every new interest was embraced as that thing and the relief at having finally found it was very sincere. finally, this was proof that i was not a delinquent waste of potential! i would give myself over to the new thing entirely; all hope, and sweet hours absorbed in it. until, seemingly without reason, it would slip away. and there was nothing i could do to stop it.
a significant turning point for me was when i read the book refuse to choose! by barbara sher and learned that i was a type of person she calls a scanner. according to sher, scanners are people who have intense curiosity about a bunch of unrelated subjects. she explains that there are different types of scanners: those who go deep on one thing for a long period of time and then move on to another, those who cycle between interests, and those who pursue multiple disparate interests simultaneously. basically, scanners find it difficult to specialize because they are endlessly inquisitive and to do so would come at the expense of indulging their curiosity. because turning your passion into your job typically involves a level of specialization, many scanners feel like they are fucking up by not choosing one path and staying on it. this was pretty revelatory for me. mostly it allowed me to adjust my expectations for what a great life would look like for me and unload a lot of the shame i felt around the waxing and waning of my interests.
through reading this book, i realized that my interests are, for the most part, cyclical. that is, highly connected to the seasons and likely to return annually. this discovery allowed me to anticipate the draining of enthusiasm and even plan for it. for example, all summer long i was obsessed with gardening. in august, anticipating a great indifference to come over me shortly, i made my plans for next year’s growing season, did all my ordering, left instructions for myself of what needed to be done while i would be busy not giving a shit and then peacefully let it go. and it did. i could give an actual fuck about gardening right now. and i cannot imagine feeling differently. but i will.
as i write this, i am experiencing a shift.
something draining while something takes its place.
i call this particular change “spring fever” and it makes me think of the part in bambi where the animals all get “twitterpated” at the onset of spring.
This mood is very consistent and specific. it is characterized by a growing indifference to the interiors of my home, which dominates my attention over the fall and winter. (no kidding, right?). but the paprika that makes spring fever such a special transition is that every year at around this time, without fail, i will feel very emboldened in my personal style. like, i just wanna get weird with it. be a bit much. dye my hair pink, get a 14k gold septum piercing, wear a pastel green suit, or a cocktail hat with a veil, do my eye makeup like twiggy. oh god, it feels incredible!!!!! and every year it feels, not like a mood that will pass, but like a long anticipated watershed moment. like my limiting self-beliefs are melting away and i am finally becoming the person i was always meant to be! glamorous and free; the way i felt playing dress up as a child. and i think of david bowie, bianca jagger, chloe sevigney and the people in my real life who are bold and unapologetically themselves in style and say “if they can do it, so can i!” so i buy some stuff, wear some stuff, but mostly dream of what i might wear because i don’t have much time before it passes. i’m left feeling completely alienated from the things i purchased or had wanted to wear. i’m left to ponder what the hell that even was. was it genuine or was i kidding myself? by now, i know it’s coming and even look forward to it. i lean in fully but do not allow myself to make any major purchases. and every delicious time, i want it to be real and by that i mean forever. to last into the summer, the fall and winter. that this one is enough to shake me loose for good.
i want that this year especially because cathryn is one of those people i feel emboldened by. unapologetically herself. a bit of a style chameleon but absolutely and utterly dedicated to being a bit much at all times even into her sixties. i have channeled her spirit at this time every year since i met her, but this is the first time since she’s been gone. in the days and weeks after she passed, i frantically amassed a collection of objects that reminded me of her and imbued them with a talismanic significance. the yellow linen turban she wore all the time, that made a drunk girl declare her the queen of the bar once. the fitted red corduroy jumpsuit that she would wear unzipped to her sternum with no bra underneath to a shitty trade show near the airport. big glamorous sunglasses, a printed silk scarf, a richard avedon print of nastassja kinski with a boa constrictor draped over her nude body. all collected to remind me of who she was and who she made me imagine i could be. she ran a very special fashion boutique in west toronto for 18 years and in all that time she wished the same thing for the women wearing clothes in our city. she wanted them to give less fucks. to be more inspired. to have more fun. to take themselves less seriously. she would constantly choose crazy things for the store that nobody would buy. they had been her little wishes for what she would like to see. her unwitting invitations to be more than you thought you could be. it’s an invitation i want to accept. for real. and by that i mean forever. i hang the mirror and order the chairs to get the living room to a place where i can be fine with it until november when i’ll care again. i spend hours on the instagram grids of makeup artists from euphoria but don’t buy any expensive eyeshadow palettes i might later regret and give away to my sister. i plan an epic look for an upcoming party and have a really hard time imagining ever wanting to be any less than a lot. even as i write this i am trying to convince myself that this one is for keeps.