She doesn’t wander around clutching pamphlets like an overstimulated tourist, or take the audio tour like one of the students who move in groups like amoeba from exhibit to exhibit.
She walks with purpose through this cavernous place, the click-clack of her heels ricocheting off the marble that is everywhere, until she reaches the rooms that house the Impressionists.
She is repeatedly drawn here. There is a sensuality and a softness to the genre that speaks to her. The Impressionists were the antithesis of the realists; they had no interest in the literal interpretation of things, only in their essence.
She longs, always, to touch. To run her hands over the fat dabs of paint and immerse herself in these softly told stories. It’s an unreasonable proposition, this she knows, as there is always the velvet rope, or the plexiglass case, or the stern security guard standing in her way.
But she will return again and again undaunted, because every time she does she feels her edges soften, and the edges of her life in general, those that combine to form boxes and borders and boundaries.
As, she would like to believe, was the artists intention.
I keep hoping some new writing will pop up on my writing blog, but then I remember it will stay exactly how it is until I add something of my own volition.
Be Yourself is like the last piece of advice you give, not the first. The first is get up and get moving. Get into things. Try out different outfits. Department stores don’t care man. They have changing rooms and shit. Dudes get into this. Try out philosophies. Read books. Watch movies. Have a short conversation from a safe distance with a dude flipping out. Learn things. Learn how the trees feel. The different textures of sidewalk. All that stuff. Heady trippy shit. Boring Mundane Commercialism. All of it. Not as a sponge, but just as a person learning things.
Then, as like a thing, ask yourself who you are. The experiences will help tell you.
Then we start saying things like Be Yourself.
But telling a teenager whose brain chemistry is in official cluster fuck as a matter of biological transition (this is science baby) is bad advice because they have no idea who they are. They’re not supposed to know. Reflection after the fact man. Never before.
Can the entire world read this please? Because this is basically the entire reason for teenage angst: all the wise adults tell us “Don’t follow the crowd! Follow your heart! Be yourself!” And so in attempting to follow this advice we all flail around despairingly trying to figure out what the hell that means. Thus the stereotypical “no one understands me” brooding teenager: what is really meant is “not even me,” and this becomes a crisis.