When I got home I was hollow.
I ended up outside in the dark, laying on the pavement, searching for the stars between porridge clouds.
The stars have always been my safe place. One of my first memories is from back in 1999, my family had moved from the city to a tiny country town that day, and everything felt like chaos. Somehow I ended up wandering out the front door and standing on the unfamiliar driveway staring at the stars.
I was three, but I can recall that moment with more clarity than most of my high school memories. I was wearing a pale purple-blue t-shirt, it was my favourite. I don’t remember how long I was out there for, but I think somewhere in the unfamiliarity I found a security in the sky that was bigger than anything I’d seen before.
Tonight, the moon was brighter than I think I’ve ever seen it.
It was almost burning through the sky with a cold, impossible fire, slipping in and out between the clouds.
When I was tiny I thought that the world was like a snow globe. Earth, surrounded by a domed sky that rotated around us. This night made me almost believe it again.
The clouds spin past, the light would dim, disappear, and for a moment I was just me and the pavement digging into my shoulder blades.
Then it would be back. Clear, as if it’s visibility had never waned.
I was not the best camera operator for this reason: I cannot remember which of the moving rings on the lens controls which function.
Setting up the perfect shot takes time. You have to make sure that the right things are in sharp focus, displayed on the monitor in perfect clarity. If you screw this up, you won’t get footage that can be used to its full potential. If you mess it up badly enough, you won’t even be able to tell what you’re meant to be looking at.
I would try to adjust the white balance, only to watch in shock and horror as my perfectly focused shot was no longer perfectly focused.
Sometimes I feel like someone has spun the focus ring on my brain.
Everything I believe in is too blurry to make out, I can’t identify the truth in the obscure landscape laid before me.
Still there, but hidden, blending in with the rest of the world.
On days like this, I feel like I have been shaken so hard that I can’t distinguish up from down.
I ache with uncertainty, I will tear myself to shreds in the desperate hope that something will shine through.
I’m trying to learn the art of refocusing.
The quick fix solution would be to snap the lens cap on, problem solved, stop straining your eyes to make out reality, slip into the comfort of darkness.
A single, solitary shade.
I got really, really good at this, and honestly, it did work for a bit, but I think I lost myself in it all. Everything felt flat, emotionless, empty.
In those days I forgot about love. Everything was spoken in monotone. Every movement empty, tasteless and bland.
Numbness feels like safety, away from the pain and frustration of adjustment.
As I choose to step out of the darkness I often forget to refocus, I don’t redirect my attention on the truth. I let it fade into obscurity and my reality gets written by whatever shape I think I can see in the chaotic blur.
The thing about truth is that it just is.
Truth remains true regardless of the situation. Sometimes I forget this.
I want everything written out in plain black and white type, clear, exact.
I mean, the truth is always there. It’s just that sometimes this great shaking about throws it out of focus.
For me, part of this great undoing is relearning how to focus.
How to stop listening to the lies that promise me nothing but destruction disguised as answers.
Pulling myself from their seductive false promises.
Sometimes, in the moment, I feel that this process is pulling my insides out. There is a strange, dangerous comfort in giving up.
My narrative is ultimately one of redemption, and that requires a refocusing. Constantly fixing my mind on what I cannot yet see, but know is there.
It is the truth, and the truth has, and continues to set me free.
Slowly, day by day, hour by hour, moment by moment, I am learning to refocus.
When a focus ring is moved, it can take a lot of time to get it just right, and it won’t always take much to lose that precious spot where the depth of field is exactly as it should be. Life is messy and distracting.
None of this changes the reality of what lies in front of the lens.
But wow, is it a process.
It’s frustrating and seemingly endless some days.
Collapse on the floor in hot, angry tears.
Tear your hair out anger.
Quiet giving up for a time. Sit and stare at the wall because it is easier to sit in the blackness than the pain of your own temporary failings.
Lying on the freezing pavement in the dark.
Sometimes it is the moon and porridge clouds that remind you that truth is truth, that it is okay to be tired, that there are lies that want to hide beauty from you.
You can and will refocus, I am adjusting my focus, I will see the truth in it’s stunning clarity again.
All my love,