# 74 || SOLIVAGANT (a) wandering alone.

Dear September,

you have always been my favourite time of the year, whether it's printemps or l'automne. But even without any expectations pinned on you; expectations of hope and magic and promise, the sky seems to be indefinitely overcast. Just when I thought I'd learned everything I could about heartache, it seems I learn a little bit more. Just when I thought I'd learned everything about myself, I learn a little bit more. Resilience seems to be ever-changing. I always imagined that I could talk myself out of being sad, I blamed myself for being soft and self-pitying and for taking everything all too seriously all too often. But the more I learn about life and love and everything the falls out and in between, I remember that emotions are incalculable and don't always stay within the borders of definition. Maybe because lately everything familiar suddenly seems so foreign and I feel so disconnected from the every day, every day.

Sometimes I worry that I spend more time longing than loving, aching for the infinite possibility of what could be and overlooking the charm of the everyday, every day. I'm getting better at remembering to notice the offered smiles that don't falter when they're not reciprocated, the pure and thoughtless kindness even when there's nothing to gain, the curious and caring arm on your shoulder for no reason at all - #RUOK?

One incredibly magical feeling that I have never truly been aware of until now, is the feeling of being loved. I've always been fearful of love, perhaps because I crave it more than anything and sometimes wanting needing things is scary because what happens if it doesn't happen? What happens when my eyelashes are a dam about to burst and I'm falling down, down, down the rabbit hole? [ "To be so lonely you told yourself you liked to be this way & almost believed it was true." - Natalie Wee, from '(Suicide Letters In) Parts, 2010', Our Bodies & Other Fine Machines ]

I'll let you know. Dear September, you're not over yet.

Afifa x


# 73 || The Blue Of Distance

It doesn't make sense to start at the end, like I am about to - but when the strongest emotion within me right now is from the aftermath of everything, it doesn't seem right to begin anywhere but the end. We never speak of the in-between and images capture only a splitsecond of what may have been a forged reality. Perhaps to some extent that is what I did, I placed a golden filter over the lens and made my dream seem like a dream to you. But it is the in-between that I love the most and I love it because sometimes I resent it.

The in-between is the 6 hour drive from the Georgian coast back to Atlanta. It's the night spent in my uncle's single bed whilst he slept on the couch because I didn't make it on my intended flight back home to Melbourne. It's the car accident I saw on the corner somewhere whilst walking from the drugstore in the rain clutching a soaked through paper bag of Asian takeout. The in-between is the goosebumps forming along my legs because the air in the plane is always so cold. I loved the lack of time to reflect on my reality, because when you're on the road you only have to think about the most imminent step and not those that you will take sometime in the future.

That is, the steps I am taking now. Lately I feel frozen in sadness and I have too many ideas why that might be. Maybe my toes are itching to take me somewhere else, maybe it's the grey sky I've been waking up to every day for the last two and a half weeks, maybe it's the headache that has been beating soft and warm in the back of my head for too many days or maybe I'm just craving that gypsy solitude again. Maybe I miss my friends, so much. I love you all. 

"Let us love this distance, which is thoroughly woven with friendships, since those who don't love each other are not separated."-- Simone Weil.

[[[ This one is for Emily x ]]]


# 72 || “At the end of the day, it isn’t where I came from. Maybe home is somewhere I’m going and never have been before.”


décembre seems like the best time to reflect on the year that was and the year that is to come. i can’t quite put into words how at peace, yet unsettled i feel. if i’ve learned anything this year, it might be that patience is everything. deep breaths saved my life when curse words threatened to escape from the back of my throat and hot tears danced on the edge of my eyelashes, about to spill out and remind the world that i take everything too seriously, always. something i never want to forget is that holding on to yesterday’s ache doesn’t hurt anybody else but you. accept everything for what it is, forgive yourself even if you have made the same mistake a thousand times and move on, into a new world where you’re stronger and you know better.

it’s scary but i’m learning to trust time. it’s hard but i keep reminding myself that envy is ugly and i have the sky and the sea and love beyond measure to be thankful for. we are who we love, not who loves us back. loneliness, like lightning, can strike at anytime. perhaps we all pretend we’re immune to the potential despondency that plagues the reality of emotions. sometimes i feel like my sole purpose in life is to campaign for some kind of transparency with regard to sentiments and sensations because the truth is: we all get sad sometimes, but happiness is the ultimate prompt to forget about melancholia and its flair to penetrate beyond expression.    



"the year of letting go, of understanding loss. grace. of the word 'no' and also being able to say 'you are not kind'. the year of humanity/humility. when the whole world couldn't get out of bed. everyone i've met this year, says the same thing 'you are so easy to be around, how do you do that?'. the year i broke open and dug out all the rot with my own hands. the year i learnt small talk. and how to smile at strangers. the year i understood that i am my best when i reach out and ask 'do you want to be my friend?'. the year of sugar, everywhere. softness. sweetness. honey honey. the year of being alone, and learning how much i like it. the year of hugging people i don't know, because i want to know them. the year i made peace and love, right here." - warsan shire.


# 71 || Sleep. Wake. Escape. !1

(early May 2016)
“I don’t know why I only ever seem to write (here) after take-offs and landings. Am I only inspired by unfamiliarity (which, as of late isn’t even that unfamiliar anymore #creatureofhabit) and a change of scenery? Though now, je vous promets, I have no imminent brief escapes scheduled but I do want to write here more often so reality will just have to do for now.

Mid-year resolutions are coming up, and I realise I must have lots of apparent “favourite-times-of-the-year” but this time of the year is definitely one of them. L’automne, in every shade of sunrise and sunset, is the true time for transformation and self-improvement. I don’t hate winter and never have, but it is a little harder to be happy when the sky is crying every other day. 

So, in the spirit of May, and all its possibility, I pinky swear to write here more often and take the time each week to devote a day to nourish my soul. Maybe one day I’ll multiply that day to become everyday but for now it can begin with roadtrips, afternoons (or mornings) in cafes, French lessons, working on my novel, yoga, cleaning out my wardrobe, re-arranging my room, using a whole roll of film, watching a movie, writing emails to everyone I’m thinking of, etc, etc, etc.       

Once upon a summertime I remember buying ice-cream from Somewhere and sharing it with three faceless friends on the sofa, watching the ‘Before’ trilogy. I don’t know what happened at the end but I think there was still sand between my toes from that day or the day before and we probably got takeaway from the Vietnamese place a few blocks down. I know we were happy that day and that happiness probably lingered on until the sun went to sleep. Do you ever remember fragments of memories that feel like dreams but you’re sure that they’re real and they actually happened? I remember your hands in my hair for the shortest second and I think I remember your laugh but I might just be making it up. Can you fabricate an echoic memory? If I close my eyes, I can hear it still. I can see your eyes crinkle up like a paper fan and I can see your crooked teeth but the more I try to play it on repeat, it becomes a silent memory. Once upon a wintertime I remember walking my bike to the corner of an intersection and waiting on a stone statue for her to come meet me. I don’t remember what day it was or what she was wearing or even what we talked about but it was one of the saddest nights of my life. The strange thing is, it was just the beginning of a series of sorrow-filled souvenirs engraved in the caverns of my mind. Maybe it’s the weather lately. Or maybe it’s the time of year. Or maybe it’s the fact that I’m falling down the rabbit hole again and the last time I tripped in the forest and lost both my balance and mind, it was you and it was all my fault. Once upon a springtime I remember putting on a dress for the first time in months and sitting under the peach tree but at that time, I didn’t know it was a peach tree. For a few weeks, all I could see were flowers and it was the best few weeks of the year. I was wearing dusty Doc Martens and it was a Saturday night but I didn’t feel like being in anyone’s company but I did feel more like myself than I had in a long time. The only autumn I ever really remember was the one where I smoked my first cigarette and one day the daylight lasted for an eternity and the next day I bought gloves and didn’t take them off for months. My favourite colour was yellow for a week or two and for the most consecutive days in my life I felt like I belonged Somewhere.

The Buddhists say if you meet somebody and 
your heart pounds, your hands shake, your 
knees go weak, that’s not the one. When you
 meet your ‘soul mate’ you’ll feel calm. No
 anxiety, no agitation. 

~ Monica Drake

sofia coppola-coloured memories on repeat maintenant (in some kind of chronological order):
-  yesterday عيد مبارك
- last friday night (mine, not katy perry’s)
- that incomplete night tangled up in his sheets with the saddest kiss i can remember
- every great hug ever 
- wine & fries & cigarettes every other day
- the balcony on simpson street
- all the times i thought i was so sad i could die
- all the times i forgot what it was like to be sad

+ more

Afifa x


# 70 || “She’s never where she is,’ I said. ‘She’s only inside her head.”

"Why did I obsess over people like this? What is normal to fixate on strangers in this particular vivid, fevered way? I didn't think so. It was impossible to imagine some random passer-by on the street forming quite such an interest in me. And yet it was the main reason I'd gone in those houses with Tom: I was fascinated by strangers, wanted to know what food they ate and what dishes they ate it from, what movies they watched and what music they listened to, wanted to look under their beds and in their secret drawers and night tables and inside the pockets of their coats. Often I saw interesting-looking people on the street and thought about them restlessly for days, imagining their lives, making up stories about them on the subway or the crosstown bus." -- The Goldfinch
Donna Tartt.

Although this petit journal is hardly advertised anywhere, it makes me nervous to write anything here that is the opposite of joyous. But if not here, where? If not to you, who? In all honesty, I haven’t felt this incurably lonely in a very long time. My imagination has been working endless hours overtime over the last few weeks, unlike anything I have ever experienced. Perhaps it is the slight increase in maturity in recent years but the quasi-adult insight (or lackthereof, rather) has only made everything that much more complicated. I second-guess everything with some kind of backhanded logic reminding me to let go and be free. Yet I’ll take my feet off the brakes in the wild and fervent train-of-thought(s) that I am driving nonstop and indulge in the ridiculous art of overthinking and superhyperanalyasis. 

Nostalgia feels like the only cure to this despondence, but it both suppresses and encourages this hollow feeling at the bottom of my heart. I thought this childish melancholia would go away one day but maybe I am too frightened to let it go, maybe subconsciously I wrote it into my  identidy with a permanent marker - “I am sad. I am sad. I am sad.” I know better than to dwell on self-destructive thoughts and I know better than to recite antipathetic convictions in my head over and over again until what used to be ideas become whole truths that I can’t forget. 

This life can’t possibly be an eternal hunt for that darned elusive rabbit hole. I’m trying, I pinky swear that I am trying every day but I just wanted somewhere to scribble down some thoughts that don’t sound quite right when I say them aloud. To think that each forthcoming second is a prospective memory, to imagine that every space has the potential to be filled with nostalgia and to know that you have the opportunity to change everything at any given instant - I can hardly believe it, sometimes. I don't often write whilst feeling as uninspired as I do right now, but this strange sort of sorrow that has taken residence inside my heart has left me with little else to do but write. I could blame it on the weather, I could blame it on whatever series of events has taken or will take place in my life, or I could just write. When I think about the last six and a half years that I have had this diary, I never thought I would be here years later writing the essence of the same sentiment that I started with.

The peculiar thing is that there is so little that I regret and even after everything, I wouldn't trade myself in for anybody else. For all the lonely days and nights, for all the amplified emotion, for all the complexities and melancholia, for all the evanescent remorse - I wouldn't take it back. If there's one thing I've learned, it is that every feeling is impermanent and the only lasting lesson is that courage is a decision. And that decision is a commitment. But the choice in courage shouldn't always coax you towards a carpe diem-esque creation. Sometimes it takes courage to even contemplate an action, sometimes common-sense trumps courage and you don't have to feel like your inaction was a wasted opportunity.


Love, Afifa x