by Ana Moore.
Greetings, everyone. My name is Ana Moore, pronouns she/they, and I’m currently an intern with Art Spark Texas! I’ve been offering assistance on the “ATX Go!” project, and participating and guiding students in the Speaking Advocates classes. My term with Art Spark Texas will last six weeks, ending February 12th, but the knowledge and experiences I’ve already gained have been invaluable, creative, and fulfilling. To everyone at Art Spark, thank you for being such an awesome group of people to work with!
In such a tumultuous and uncertain time as adolescence, an adolescence that has grown in the shadows of an even more delicate world, it has become my routine to claim my idealizations of places and people I’m fond of and comfortable with as havens and harbors, imposing them as romantic notions upon my own existence. This attachment to stationary comforts has become habitual, ritualistic, a necessity for my survival in any sense of the word. To find myself dependent upon my own abilities and strengths, to trust in my perception and navigation of the world, in any recess of my own mind is a resilience I admittedly struggle to latch onto.
I’ve become used to feeling a certain level of loss that follows me wherever I roam, a loss that seeks my hidden sense of self that I once so strongly believed I’d captured. Nonetheless, integrity and a strong sense of direction towards authenticity to myself are motives, fleeting yet fulfilling, which allow me to push myself beyond my limits, to drive my journey into the unknown. Yet still I remain vulnerable in that way that all humans seem to be, unrestrained in seeking solace, pining for any temporary comfort in the uncertainty of what may seem but meaningless endeavors in the midst of it all.
College has proved to be such a challenging endeavor. As someone who struggles with mental illness in a time of deep isolation from the rest of the world, moving across the country to begin my new life was daunting. The freedom to discover myself in my own time and to explore the things I loved without restraint came with the overwhelming fear of failure, of eventual restrictions, of never being brave enough to begin. On the edge of the unexpected, change was not enough to distract me from my fears. There was almost always need for some grand intention, some hidden importance beyond simply enjoying what is new. In finding myself in an environment I’d not yet gotten to know, I faltered in imagining that I could know myself in this strange new world.
Slowly though, I’ve begun to settle in, becoming comfortable with my new life, with myself, and becoming hopeful that this new world will not always be one of fear and limitations. With care and kindness from new friends, and with love from my amazingly wonderful girlfriend, I have been reminded that there are so many places to call home, that family can be chosen. With reminders from myself that my mental illness nor my fears can control me, that this too shall pass, I’ve become more aware of my potential and am becoming brave enough to embrace it. If there is nothing else, I am choosing to remind myself of, it is that there is peace in the momentary, joy in the ordinary, and that the value of love is not determined by expectation or span of existence. Perhaps it is not even measured by intensity but by its willingness to exist. Reflecting on this, I further expressed my thoughts about newfound home and new beginnings through poetry:
Flashing primary lights from the windows of Fifth Street
silhouette the droves of newly released voyagers
roaming the paths they inherited from a lonely world.
The orange lighter in my palm glows against the moon’s cheer,
lighting the Spirit in spite of night’s heavy breath,
the taste of milky coffee, bite of ash, the anxiety of my living body
all attach themselves to the petrichor of birth.
For the time being, there is comfort in giving in to what I can let go, to make space for the weight of all that is beyond the imaginable. There is peace in the solitude of standing at the edge of everything, releasing the air inside of my lungs back into the dreams that once wove it in their hands. There is focus in the smoothness of intention that settles in my spine, beauty in the sacred fear of embarking as the voyager.
Ana Moore is currently a first-year student at Bennington College, studying writing and literature with a concentration in poetry and creative writing. They are also pursuing music, acting, and voice acting.