청춘

A friend recently told me that the reason I might feel dramatic or even melodramatic when I relate my sequence of emotional reactions to something is that I’m an introvert and it’s not normal for me to explain or even share aloud my feelings, despite having them strongly all the time. I guess I agree with her; while I react strongly to almost everything that happens, I wouldn’t ever tell anyone about 95% of those reactions.

However, as this blog can attest to, I write about those feelings. I write about them and feed off that “drama;” I don’t know if you’ve ever had the experience of feeling the energy behind the words as you write them, but when I’m agitated or in the throes of an emotional reaction to something–as it were–my writing has a liveliness that I covet at times when I can’t match it.

When I was younger, I used to have the thought frequently that I would give up my own experience if it meant that I could write well. I would trade my life, I used to think, for the perfect story. I would trade my life, I would think, for the perfect poem. I was young then, maybe nineteen, and writing was the only thing in my life worth anything to me; I knowingly sacrificed relationships to maintain my writing, to train myself, and to focus. Others close to me saw this as escapism, selfishness, or aloofness–I saw it as a matter of survival. It was the only way I knew.

I hadn’t had much experience at that time, and half of me is tempted now to say that I didn’t understand something vital: that experience is food for fodder, that it’s not possible to lay the groundwork for stories or poems without the experience that I was so willing to trade. And half of me looks back at my old writing, the writing I wrote when I was reading voraciously, insatiably, and feeling for little reason at all, and understands–and thinks that maybe I was somewhere closer to perfect at that time than I am now. So I have to remind myself: I wasn’t healthy at that time. Emotions weren’t full for me at that time, for all their sharpness, and I hadn’t ever experienced half the spectrum of feeling at all.

But there was nuance; relentless attention to the smallest movement of feeling; there was a doggedness to writing, a long unfurling style that gathered energy like a locomotive as it advanced. And I want that again. There are things I wish I could go back to; things I had before; I wonder if when they fixed me they removed some parts, if there wasn’t something wild and wonderful about getting close to edges. I look at my horoscopes these days and keep thinking: but that’s already happened.


The students took their midterms over two days: Friday, the 21st, and Monday the 24th. On the Tuesday following exams I had a second period class that consistently gives me pains; while half of the class participates actively and pays attention, half of the class talks at a low monotone in Korean while I’m speaking of while others are participating and even while I’m reprimanding them as lightly as I can they continue, like a machine continually emitting meaningless output. Finally, I erased all of the points they’d gathered in the first half of the semester from their class rank, crossing it out silently and drawing a “0” in its place. I felt slightly lightheaded; later I realized this was anger. And later after that I felt bad; but I knew it had worked because upon sighting the zero, they grew quiet, and when I asked my coteacher to tell them why I’d taken their points away, and she did it, I could tell they understood.

Anger is new to me. I have always felt annoyance, and discomfort, and a sense of injustice; but anger, rising up like air in the chest and almost ebullient, I have only recently felt it for the first time. Before when people upset me or acted selfishly towards me, I would feel hurt, and wronged, but never angry. When my first two boyfriends broke up with me and gave me stupid reasons and were mean to me in the process, I just felt sad, but I recognised that other people would feel anger in my situation. However many times I repeated to myself that I should be angry, that I should just curse them and move on, I could never feel it. It was the same for other situations.

For some reason my life is this way, that well into my adulthood I am experiencing things for the first time; while during my adolescence I was so careful with my words, and my reactions, and most things never made it out of me, recently I said some words in anger that potentially damaged a relationship. I feel especially childish because that friend was younger than me. Even after I’d apologized I felt sick with guilt and it still comes back to me at moments and takes my breath away. That’s something children do, I tell myself, and sit in agony for a while until it wears off.


Last night I met a friend in Wangsimni to buy running shoes. Not that I plan on doing any real running, but I happened to express an interest in joining a gym, which turned out to be a bad idea so he offered to help me exercise outside. I realized I don’t have anything to wear for that activity, and while it’s easy enough to find clothes, I didn’t know anything about choosing appropriate shoes, since the last time I made any serious effort to work out it was in a gym using machines and not in the open on real land.

While going home by subway, I entered the car at the same time as a mother and her elementary aged son, and the seat I’d been aiming for was the only one left by the time the boy and I reached it. Naturally I offered it to him, but made the mistake of speaking English as I gestured to it: “sit.” He looked surprised and took the seat; I found one opposite him and his mom and saw her smiling at me. Every once in a while he glanced shyly over, and the rest of the time sat there with a slightly dazed, but pleased, expression on his face. A stop later he and his mom got up to detrain, and paused for a moment–I looked up and he bowed to me, and said “thank you” with a shy smile. I bowed my head in response, and as they went up the escalator the mother looked back and met my gaze and saw me smiling.

I wasn’t sure why, but this whole thing affected me. I kept thinking about it after I got home even in the midst of other concerns and disappointments. I’ve thought and thought about it, I’ve considered my recent relationships and breakups and goodbyes, and the worry I voiced to my friend and then worried was too dramatic to share–that I care more about others than they care about me, that others have an effect on me but I have no effect on them, that I’m meaningless to others despite wanting to be more. And the thought came to me today: I had an effect. And I saw it. And it meant something to someone.


Last weekend when I was in distress and I reached out to my friend and I expressed dissatisfaction about how both my friend and I had acted in the situation we’d gotten ourselves into–why are guys always like this to me, why are people dishonest, why are people not entirely truthful or why do they change the story whenever it suits them, why do I care so much that my heart can’t settle down enough to let me sleep at night, why is my life just rejection after rejection, why don’t I matter to anybody, why are people so okay with the loss of my friendship, and more than that, more than anything, why do I keep making mistakes, why did I say the things I said, why was I so stupid, why do I want the things I want–I said all this and refused his words of comfort until finally he said it’s youth, Lily.

청춘이다 릴리~

I know that.


Sometimes I look at my students as they’re doing group work or chatting in class, and I have an impression of being outside of myself, not quite there, an impression that I’m missing some vital information about how I fit into this picture; other times I’m just gripped with intense envy, that they still have their lives to live, that they still have all their mistakes ahead of them, that they’re more uninhibited and joyful than I was at their age and that they still have everything to hope for. That they don’t know some things that I know and that they’ll still have a first time for some things. Their concerns from this point of view seem simple: their grades on their exams, their succession through the school ladder. And even though I know that’s too simple a way to express the framework of their lives–I envy that simplicity and clarity.

But most of the time I feel the same as them. Most of our concerns are in actuality the same: what to do with our future, who to build relationships with, and what to do in the here and now in order to secure the things that we want. So I feel like them, maybe the same. Older, yes. But also new, clumsy… and expecting.

남한테

사사로운 감정보다 우정이 더 중요하다고 생각하고 친구사이에 이기적인행동을 위해 남아있는곳이 없다고 생각해요

난 보통 나보다 다른사람의 기분을 먼저 생각하는데

가끔 내 친한친구들은 내게 약간은 이기적이 되어도 괜찮고 다른사람의 비위를 건드리지 않고 사는건 불가능하다고 말하는데

최근에 나는 다른 사람의 마음을 상하게 하는게 나의 가장 큰 우려일지도 모른다는걸 알았어요

누군가의 감정을 상하게 할 의도가 아니더라도 … 만약에 그런일이 뜻하지 않게 일어나면 난 오랫동안 죄책감과 슬픈 감정을 느껴요

내가 뭐든 망쳐려는 의도가 아니였어도 내가 망칠수 있나봐요

가끔 이기적이게 구는게 정말로 괜찮다면… 왜 결국에 사람들은 상처 받는걸까요?

Compliments

Yesterday while I was walking home from work, as I got to the block before mine and was already dreaming of scrubbing off my makeup and taking my daily afternoon nap, I noticed that the only other person on the sidewalk with me, a young man walking slightly ahead of me wearing a bright green Oxfam vest, had looked back over his shoulder and noticed me.

When he did it again, I was ready, and gave him a look that said don’t you dare do it.

Of course, he did it.

As I leveled with him he greeted me.

안녕하세요, he said. Hello.

안녕하세요, I said. I kept walking. He kept pace with me.

I gave up and stopped.

Do you live here? He asked me in Korean.

I said yes.

Oh, but you’re so good at Korean? He said, looking surprised.

No, I said. I just know a little. I unintentionally started walking again.

Um….perhaps….are you married? He asked, keeping pace with me.

I stopped walking, and might have snorted with surprise. I usually get the question about a boyfriend, but this is the first adult who’s asked me about being married. If I’d ever gotten that question before it was from a student.* Who was probably five.

No, I said. The late afternoon sun had crested the short wall separating the taxi garage from the sidewalk and was blazing right into my eyes.

He asked me if I lived here permanently or if I went back and forth or if I was a student.

I’m an English teacher, I said, trying not to think too hard about what he could have meant about going back and forth. We had already stopped and started walking several times, and he kept pace with me each time, never breaking eye-contact. His bb cream could have used more blending, but I was hardly in a position to point this out to him.

Are you very busy? He asked, and I faced a dilemma.

Very… I started, but couldn’t figure out how to make the rest of the sentence.

Not very busy, he finished for me. He asked me if I knew about Oxfam.

I said I knew a little bit.

What? He said.

I know a little bit about Oxfam, I said.

Do you know about the work we do? He asked.

I know a little bit, I said, feeling like I might become suddenly angry if he made me keep repeating myself.

He used a piece of paper with pictures on it to explain to me, but I think he could tell that after about halfway through I no longer had any idea what he was saying. He asked me, can you understand everything here?

I told him no.

He tried to translate, but could only get through three of the four pictures. I translated half of the fourth one but we both didn’t know the second half’s meaning.

He thanked me for listening and told me he saw me walking and wanted to just try talking to me once, so that’s why he stopped me. I nodded as politely as I could manage and tried to get away, but he had one last thing to say–

Your eyes are really f***in’ pretty, he said, complete with honorifics.

I thanked him and he told me to have a nice day, bowing deeply. I scrammed, walking quickly into my neighborhood and letting out a laugh of despair after turning the corner onto my street.


I’m not sure I can speak for all foreigners in Korea, but certainly I can speak for most clearly-non-Asian foreigners here that being singled out simply for the fact that we’re foreign and also, being complimented simply for the fact that we’re foreign is a matter of daily course, whether it be in the form of being stared at by old people on the subway more than is appropriate, or being called “pretty” by anyone and everyone by virtue of our having certain features.

Similarly, during the days when people were clamoring to date me, I used to wonder whether or not they had any real interest in me as a person or if it was just because of the allure of me being American and white. I still can’t say with certainty that that’s not all that it was, but I’m not really having the problem of worrying about why people want to date me right now…

Anyway, I get it, that’s kind of how compliments work. And everyone, everywhere, compliments people’s appearances. But in my experience, Korea takes this to a new level. While it would be normal in Californian culture to tell someone that they’re looking particularly “nice” or “pretty” on a particular day, the same version of this in Korea is something like “you look skinnier today, very pretty” or “your face looks slim today.” The difference is the discussion of particular features, some unspoken agreement that someone else’s body is something you’re allowed to talk about freely, even to their face. That kind of thing is not really done where I grew up and from the moment I first got here until now, it always rubs me the wrong way.

I didn’t choose the color or size of my eyes, I didn’t choose how straight the bridge of my nose is, I didn’t choose the color of my skin, I didn’t choose how long my eyelashes are. Yet more than anything else that was my choice or something I earned, while I’m in this country, those things are the most commented-upon, the most complimented.

I know it’s because of the novelty of my appearance in contrast to most people here–and I try to understand that this is a homogenous culture, that Western standards of beauty have been unfairly and in part by the west itself infused into this country’s idea of beauty, that people mean well when they compliment me in this way, and I try not to be offended or disappointed that they couldn’t find some better thing to say to me, and try to appreciate that they had the heart to compliment me at all.

But I can’t enjoy or appreciate the words themselves. And I have a very hard time knowing how to respond. (An exception, of course, is if these compliments are coming from someone I’m dating or someone I want to date. Who doesn’t want to be found attractive by a significant other? I don’t know anyone like that.)

The best compliments, the ones I can enjoy, compliment something that I have some control over: my hobbies, the things I’ve made, the effort I’ve expended, the progress I’ve made, the things I’ve written, my style of something, my way of saying something.

But I think Koreans really like to be complimented on their appearance, so when they compliment me on mine, I think that they think that I’ll feel the same way. So I try to understand.

There’s a lot more to say on this subject, but I’ll leave it at that.

Except to say that another exception is for students.

When students compliment me, I see it as a sign of not just their thinking about my appearance, but also as a sign of  a kind of confidence and closeness with me, which I thoroughly enjoy. If a student tells me I’m pretty or beautiful it matters to me, not because I feel the need to feel attractive to them, but because they made the effort to show me that they like me through this manner. I have always been a little awkward with my peers, never having patience for social codes or small talk, and being generally disinterested in the majority of them–to be completely honest. But for some reason with students I enjoy developing a rapport, and I take their compliments as signs of this rather than as comments that are truly and solely about my appearance.

On a side note–every single time I show a boy who asks me to show them a picture of me from a time when I had long hair, they always try to tell me that it’s better. The last time I did this, I stopped him before he could say it.

“Don’t,” I said, and he backed off with a burst of amused laughter, slapping his leg. “I know.”

I’m close with him, and fond of him, so it didn’t bother me. But when I think about it, the number of times that it’s happened and the fact that it’s every single time, that bothers me. The strength of beauty standards, the single-track thinking about the way that things can be and what constitutes “beautiful,” that irks me, that rubs me the wrong way, that’s one of the reasons that I tell people I could never live in this country forever.

And it’s not that my looks don’t matter to me and that’s why I can’t take pleasure in a simple compliment about my features. In fact, I care a great, great deal about my appearance and how others might see me when they glance in my direction. But it’s not to do so much with my physical body, but rather my style. I like what I like, and in general, I tend to stick to my style even when others wonder why, but I also enjoy knowing that I appear a certain way to others and knowing that I purposefully assembled this appearance. How I dress, how I style my hair, how well I care for my skin or my nails, I think these things are markers of personality rather than things to judge my worth by. And I feel the same about others as well. So I tend to be attracted to people’s style or overall vibe rather than people with certain features.

The exception to this, however, is for some reason that I can never know, small eyes. Almost without fail everyone that I find extremely attractive has small eyes though other attributes may differ between them greatly. So I understand that an innate appreciation for certain features is a part of everyone’s admiration for other people**, but what I’m trying to say is there’s a difference between finding a certain feature attractive and finding it worthy of going to the trouble to compliment.


*Once, when I was wearing a deep purple lipstick to work for the first time and a long black dress, a kindergarten student who was sitting next to me at the birthday party we were having turned to me, carefully examined my current appearance, and asked me slowly if I was going to a wedding.

The conversation proceeded as follows:

Me: no.

Him: you have lips.

Me: yes, I do.

Him: are you married?

Me: no.

Him: -looks extremely confused, looking at my dress and lips again with a frown-

Him: -what……?-

Me: -what…..?-

**Research that many seem to know about that reveals evidence in this case is that straight men prefer women with a certain waist-to-hip ratio and that exact ratio has been revealed to be of great aid in the process of giving birth. But would those people also know that similar research says that straight women prefer men with tiny butts? Hm??

Confidence

All of the people you would like to give something to can only receive packages of a certain size and packaging. Packages of any size exceeding their limit or any packaging not matching their specifications are ignored, misunderstood, unwelcome, or go undelivered.

At first you don’t know this. You have so much you want to give, so you find a box big enough to hold it all, and you pack it and send it, expecting some response.  Of course, the response is late. That’s their nature. But then there’s something you didn’t expect. Why did you send something so big to me, they say. How can I carry this? Didn’t you consider the burden this would be to me?

Next time, you choose a smaller box, with a different shape, cramming the things inside that don’t quite fit the shape but which you desperately want to give. The person accepts the box, but it’s constantly a confusion to them, a perplexing mystery they would rather just ignore. Eventually, they misplace it, and forget that you gave it to them at all.

It might be foolish to give again, but this time you’ll do it differently. You choose a beautiful, mild box, subtly colored and multi-layered, so that the person who receives it should open it layer by layer to find what’s inside. At first, they’re interested in its beauty, but are clueless as to there being something inside they should look to find. They never open the box.

Sometimes the boxes you send completely miss their destination. Where are they? Floating around in the ether? Stuck somewhere in the cogs of this very flawed delivery system? But for some reason you can’t stop wanting to send things. Each time you start by telling yourself that you don’t need to send anything, that there are more reasons to keep everything to yourself, and you remind yourself that nobody has ever accepted anything you’ve sent in a way that has made you feel good. But it always ends the same way: buckling under the pressure of the unbearable desire to send, to give, to share. And you do it again and again and each time it becomes clear that the way you have sent it is not the right way. And you wonder if there is anyone capable of receiving your particular kind of gift. And despite all evidence going in the other direction, the drug of your desire and frustration and hope keeps you high, and sending, and sending.


I still do not know what size box to send, what shape of box, or what kind of packaging will do. All that I know is inside of me I am holding things that will not be possible to carry alone forever, and each time I attempt to send some away, I learn afterwards that I’ve done it wrong.

Sympathy

We’re in the club and you can’t hear me. I said three times, I say, his hand. Here, here, here. This way. Squeezed it like that, just came out of nowhere from behind me and I couldn’t see who it was. And while we were walking past the bar another guy reached out and slapped me here. What? I need to be more aggressive? As soon as I see them getting close? I didn’t see them getting close. I told you, they came from behind me. And the guy at the bar, I was just walking by. I told you, someone grabbed me. What? I’m not being what enough? If it happened to you would you want me to say that, that you’re just not being protective enough of your body? That as soon as you feel someone behind you just elbow them in the gut? As soon as you feel a body near you you push it away? There’s no room to walk in here without brushing up against bodies. Do you want every girl who feels you near her to kick you between the legs? You don’t have those parts but it’d still hurt you, you know. You’re not saying it directly but you’re saying it anyway: it’s my fault. I should have been more aggressive, I should have started dealing blows the second I felt someone near me, I shouldn’t have let anyone that close to me. You just have to be more aggressive, you say. So I do. I have to go to the bathroom and in the crowd I lose our friends. So I’m walking alone, and a guy catches sight of me and follows me, rubbing my backside with one hand and grabbing me by the waist with the other. This time I’m ready: I reach out and elbow him in the neck swiftly and move on. In the crowd in front of the stage a girl helps me up onto the platform and the boy dancing near her pretends to help, then swipes my chest with his arm. I knee him in the groin and move on, not looking back to survey the damage. I find you again. Now I’m dancing next to someone who keeps deliberately hitting my arm with his even though he has plenty of space. When I look over at him he stares at me a moment too long. I step on his foot and yell out our codeword. You suddenly have sympathy, and move in to block him from me. A guy drunk off his ass who’s made a move on several different girls, two or three of whom we’ve defended from him, moves in on us, and two guys near the speakers who notice our situation make room for us and pull us into their space. They smoke and bob to the music peacefully, not interested in us, and the drunk guy leaves, probably onto some other target. Should I have elbowed the smoking guys into oblivion? No, you’d say, they didn’t mean any harm, they were helping us. But they got close to us, I’d say. It’s different, you’d say. I’d know what you meant. It’s different: earlier, it was still your fault they touched you.

Spring

The first spring of my life I experienced last year in Korea. California has one season with fluctuations–hot hot summer, hot summer, warm summer, cool summer–and living there for twenty-two years without break never seemed to acclimate me to heat. Anybody could look at me and see I’m ill-fitted for a sunny desert climate without the lows at night–light eyes, light skin, a tendency to freckle and burn–and though I used to tan during my days spent on the softball field throughout junior high and high school and my long afternoons on the golf course for a couple years on the high school team, I still never enjoyed the sunshine or clear skies, and I never learned to surf due to a combination of social anxiety and perhaps the seemingly vestigial evolutionary trait, present in me but not in the bulk of me peers, of self-preservation.

Of course everyone knows there are four seasons in a year, but to southern California people, the four seasons are kind of myth in the same realm as Plato’s world of first forms: the idea is great and yeah it probably exists somewhere…beyond, but it has nothing to do with me.

Most people who live there seem to welcome their reality. I wish it were sunny all the time, they say, and complain when it drops to 65 with a marine layer. Days like that allowed me to survive and to find a shred of meaning in continuing my life. But to be fair to the heat, I used to write poetry during heatwaves in January, watching shingles fall off the roofs of our neighbor’s house, peeling backwards and spitting off before falling like a leaf to the lawnless yard; there was something inspiring about the sheer frustration and existential crisis brought on by 90 degree heat in the first month of the year.

So of course–Spring is beautiful. I love it. There are a few bright weeks of blossomings, petals falling from the trees like snow–the temperature hovers around the high fifties into the high sixties–clouds burn off by midday, and the sky is the picture of blue–the yellow dust gives us all sore throats and colds….

Last year I also witnessed my first cherry blossoms. Of course I knew what they were–petals on a wet, black bough–and had seen pictures before. Very few sights in life that move other people to emotional reactions move me to the same extent, so I didn’t expect to feel much of anything but felt determined, at the same time, to go see them.

My then-coworker Heather and I made an impromptu trip to Jinhae, Masan, and Busan last April. We spent the day in Jinhae crowding onto busses with 2384729479 other people (though I can’t confirm the actual statistics) and squirming through anchovy-tin-packed crowds. In all of my photos there’s cherry blossoms up there at the top and then about eye level, a bunch of cameras held above the heads of all the thousands of other tourists. At one point I wasn’t sure whether I was capturing more scenery or backs of heads. There was a sort of concert thing happening at a park in the city and we walked around for a while before heading back to Masan to stay the night.

Heather had worked in Masan at a hagwon for a couple years and knew the city. Old ladies from the side of the road called out to us (how pretty! Cute girls!) and an older man in emart came up and introduced himself to us, after which Heather told me she’d already met him three or four times before. Apparently he needed to make sure every foreigner passing through Masan knew who he was.

We were only in Busan for a day and we never went into the main city, so it’s still a goal of mine to go back there this year to see it properly. I have a friend who’s living there now so may ask him to be my tour-guide for a day or two. He’s an amateur photographer and has sent me some photos taken from some optimal vantage points, so I expect to see great things.


But in the meantime, I’m in Seoul, and as the climate is cooler the flowers are a little later to open here, barely breaking the bud while others in the south are in full bloom. Last year the variety of flowers I didn’t know how to name was astounding to me; I’d go on hunts through Google images of “spring flowers in Seoul” and then read through the captions until I’d found the ones I was looking for.

One of the prominent new flowers for me was the 목련 (mog-nyun), or the magnolia flower. These bloom standing up, their long ovular petals thick and fleshy, a bright cream color, and close at night. I was fascinated by the quick lifespan–in bloom for a week at most, they then faded into a sort of putrid yellow and fell heavily off the branches in a matter of a day or two.

Another is the 무궁화 (moo-goong-hwa), or rose of sharon/hibiscus. The national flower of Korea is the white / light pink 무궁화 with darker purple towards the center, but I like a variety best that’s bright red in color with a shorter, fuller stamen. Last summer I came up with the first tattoo concept I’ve had that’s lasted more than a few months–one of these flowers overlapping with a red English rose, about two by two inches total, ideally placed on the back of my arm above my right elbow but more likely placed on my left upper thigh. I’ve got to ask my principal / vice principal or maybe even SMOE for permission before I make a consultation, but I’ve found a couple artists I like in Seoul already whose style fits what I’m looking for.


This week, spring is just beginning. I’ll enjoy it while it’s here, but at the same time, I can’t ever fully relax for dread–I know the hot summer is bearing down, and I know it’ll stay there for a long time.

Sometimes I express this thought to my friends who say, oh, it’s not too bad. It’s only really hot for a couple of months. To which I stare at them open-mouthed repressing my urge to knock them upside the back of the head because EXCUSE ME that is two months of my life. That I will never get back. Sweat which I will never unsweat. Misery which I will never unmisery. Etc.


There are two perspectives I find most people take on about Spring. One is that it’s their favorite season, and two is that Spring is too fleeting to be meaningful. There are the treacly cliches of Spring which emerge each year, there’s the coupling-up hype of Spring, there’s the everyone-put-away-your-black-clothes attitude of Spring, and there’s the underside of those cliches in which the high and mighty sit back and laugh at the dummies enjoying and finding meaning in something that ends so soon.

Thinking that way everything falls apart. There’s no defense against the logical hole that opens up upon making that argument–that each season comes and goes by design. The cliches, as sickly as they are, that Spring brings at least feed on that reality of feeling, the first walk in the sunshine after months of winter winds.

I find myself getting impatient with the impatient and impatient with the delighted. Unlike other times in my life in which the reasons for my frustration were easily transmutable into metaphor–a cage, a blind fall beneath me, idiotic friends (okay…not a metaphor)–these days when I attempt to locate the source of my restlessness, so many possible reasons rise to the surface that it becomes impossible even to identify them all. I can only assume, then, that it’s the changing of the seasons, the gradual inability to insist to myself that it’s still winter for a while yet, that I can keep things the way I like them, that the world as a whole doesn’t not give a damn what I want or what’s important to me.

I think that is what Spring is about. The world is moving. And it isn’t up to you or to me to make it do that. And the world is bigger than we think. And how comforting that is.