STEEPED BY SAMIA #3 | 7.11.22
Every time period in our lives carries a certain atmosphere — but we never know what the present will feel like, as it’s happening.
I’ve been thinking about this concept a lot lately. I call it: Editorializing my life. It isn’t so much a narrator in my head, chronicling my life as it happens, i.e. “I woke up at 4:30AM to the loudest meow from Zayn.” Lol. It’s more like a commentator who is hyper-aware of the passage of time, i.e. “I feel like life is going by, day by day. Nothing new is happening to look forward to.”
How will this time period fit into the overall narrative of my life, sandwiched between the past and future? I think about what I’m doing (or not doing…) and how it compares to societal notions of where I need to be at my age. It’s that lurching movement of time passing and feeling like I have little to show for it.
Let’s face it, we’re in an ongoing pandemic taking another bad turn, navigating the world in various states of upheaval, terrible amendments/laws are being passed all over the U.S. that target the most marginalized, a myriad of individual and societal instability. No wonder we can be so in our heads, sometimes.
When you’re in the present, you don’t know what it ~feels~ like.
“And your own life, while it’s happening to you, never has any atmosphere until it’s a memory.”— The Andy Warhol Diaries (2022)
I’ve been thinking about this exact same thing, but it was put into such thoughtful words. In this particular episode, Andy’s loved ones walk us through his early life. In his diary entries, he reflects on where he should live to create his art and experience life as a young gay man. The producers recreate his voice using an AI in order to narrate his diary entries — both fascinating and eerie.
From the present day, I can tell you what January 2022 feels like, to me: The calm yet spirited smell of the morning air as I walk down the trail near my house. The early sun casts a cleansing glow on everything. The mourning doves chorus with song and the plants glisten with dew.
Life doesn’t really pause for us, but it can feel like it sometimes.
As I sit here on a gloomy July day, sipping chai that has grown cold, I think back to a FaceTime catch up I had with a friend in the beginning of the year. I was telling them my thought process around taking a break from employment: focusing on myself and my mental health, getting back into writing, and exploring career options slowly. I said, “It feels like a pause, like I’m on sabbatical…But really, this is just life, isn’t it?” We laughed.
We tend to manufacture these notions of being “on hiatus” or “off the grid,” which is often tied to our public or virtual selves. But life goes on. It’s not new or outlandish to take a break from working, but it felt weird not being tied to a job or organization.
I felt daunted; I didn’t know what was to come and simultaneously reassured that life would keep moving forward, as it does. Retrospectively, though, I hope to describe this stage of my life as “clarifying & redirecting” or “reflective & quieter.”
None of us knew, of course, that my Abu would be diagnosed with a life-threatening form of Leukemia toward the end of February. Once again, life doesn’t really pause. These past couple of months have been like living through a storm, with some pockets of calm. At this moment, my Abu is preparing for a bone marrow transplant process in August. We are very hopeful and a little scared! In a way, this break allowed me to be more present and level-headed to help my Abu and family in difficult moments.
There’s a certain comfortability we feel when going through the motions of our quieter days.
That comfortability is sometimes tied to a feeling of contentment, i.e. “I am exactly where I need to be, and I will savor it,” or sometimes it’s filled with pressure, i.e. “You’re not taking steps toward your best possible future.” Editorializing my life can sometimes feel like an obstacle in the way of taking action. I recently expressed this sentiment to my best friend-cousin, and she assured me along the lines of: “You are doing something. All that thinking and reflecting and processing is something.” —S.A.
Steep On This:
STEEPED BY SAMIA #2: In my tween years, I used Shelfari to keep track of the books I was reading. Recently, I realized it was my first taste of social media.
About This Blog:
Steeped by Samia is a space where I can simmer on thoughts & curiosities in the scope of digital culture, creativity, life, & more. Far too often, my writing ideas fizzle out in energy; I never get to see them to their full potential. While building my rhythm with writing, I want to share these ideas with you.
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