Best of 2009: Best Rush

I am, admittedly, an excitable person. I get excited about the smallest things, about thoughtful comments and sweet gestures. There was a significant span in my life where I tried to numb myself from emotions, despite me being a deeply emotional person. So, when after falling in love and learning how much I was missing out on, I began to feel all emotions at once, like a dam bursting. It was both terrifying and exhilarating, two emotions which seem to accompany one another quite a lot in my life. I remember one particular day as a grad student. I was still in my coursework and was walking to class. The day was crisp but not cold. It was the beginning of Spring, probably early April. I walked across campus, the sun seemed to shine like a spotlight on this one tree, as if Spring wanted to be sure we didn't miss its blooming. I love when everything comes back to life in Spring, don't you? Anyway, on that day and in that moment, I remember feeling completely happy. And back then, because the feeling of sheer happiness (well, actually, any emotion was, but particularly any good feeling) was overwhelming, I started to cry. It was the moment that I realized how ridiculous it was to try and control my emotions, to keep it all only for the stories I wrote. I stood in the middle of the quad on campus, tears running down my face, feeling better than I had in years. I began to understand I needed to let go, that it was okay to feel joy and disappointment and everything else in between. Like the fauna, I was coming back to life.

Since then, I've focused a lot of attention on accepting moments as they come, which is why I think I am so easily excitable now. As a kid I always loved the production of things, big family gatherings, lots of noise and chaos. I spent a lot of time at my friends' houses because they had large extended families. One friend's family owned a farm and had any number of people coming in and out of her house. I enjoyed the busy-ness of their lives and all the various people surrounding them. I wasn't content in the quiet, even then. As I got older, I became less and less comfortable in quietness. I never wanted to be alone with my thoughts, was too afraid of what I might find out. For some time now, however, I have relished the quiet. I enjoy the space of the car, thinking as I drive.

There are many things I appreciate in small and quiet moments. I don't know if you'd call it a rush; it's not like the adrenaline high you get when you're surprised by something or when you ride a roller coaster. It's not necessarily the stomach flip you get when you watch the person you love across the room at a party and think about how incredibly lucky you are to be loved by him/her. Instead, it's a quiet thrill, a shiver of bliss. Those kind of moments, for me this year have been found behind a camera. We bought a digital SLR in February and it has changed my life. It's like I get to see the world come alive all over again. M is a much better photographer than I am, I think. She can imagine and see things in a way I don't; I'm always impressed with her, especially the shots she gets of people. She's able to capture the little moments between them.

What I love are inanimate objects and food or landscapes, flowers, trying to catch a snowflake falling. Even in photographs, I like to capture the quiet. So much of my life is hectic, chaotic; I'm always going, always moving. It's nice to look through the lens of a camera and see something beyond myself. I see something different every single time. There's this moment of anticipation as I wait for the pictures to download, right before I see them, that's fantastic; it's a moment full of possibility. And if that's not a rush, I don't know what is.