I was in Italy. I learned to cook there. I learned what it is like to be away from home there. I learned how to look at the world in new ways. I became a vegetarian there and learned the importance of a life goal list. I watched her mystery and beauty and longed to be imbued with the same qualities. I wanted to feel that shimmering gold of ambition inside of me too; I wanted to live every day in service of my dreams and hopes. I wanted reinvent myself to be a tapestry of all that I find beautiful in the world, to stack up inside of me all of the little moments of wonder and electricity that exist between human beings, and to drown in all of the wonder of this short time on earth. I wanted to radiate this quality, to be a beacon of possibility, to be a tapestry whose threads chant to any who would listen and make a meaningful connection.
|Me at Cinque Terre in Italy, September 2004, on the path to reinventing myself.>>>>
I had always loved to create things. I always drew, painted, sewed, and molded things out of clay. I had just never considered myself to be a canvas before I met her. I had never realized how in control of my life and my dreams I could be.
It is so easy to let fear take control of your life. Not that anyone wants to be afraid, but giving in to fear and apprehension are much easier than standing up to it and taking control and molding your own destiny. I think the reason for this is that to stand up and take control of your life, it takes risk. You have to be willing to try something at which you might fail, or for which you might fall a few times before you rise up and succeed.
I've been referring to my friend Elyse in this blog post. I think that Elyse, in a large part, made me who I am today. When I came back from Italy with her, I was changed forever. It wasn't just the experience and the knowledge that I had gained abroad. What I gained from Elyse as a friend was the ability to be the architect of my life. I don't think she ever used those words, but it is the power that she taught me.
|A portrait of Elyse that I took in San Marco in Florence, September 2004.