Lately I've been leaving my camera behind, although I feel naked without it, and I go into the city with my trusty "Free Listening" sign. And I listen to lots of people's hidden things, and many of them are sweet and happy and strange. But there are so many heartbreak stories, coming from wounded mouths that have either felt one kiss too many or one kiss too few.
I want to know the people who walk past me on the street, and I don't want to shy away from the hard things. But there is so much hopeless, homeless, sadness, and that stuff sits heavy inside the ribcage, making a slow drip drip drip feeling. I go to the homeless shelter and look people in the eyes, and many of them feel like haunted houses. I am earnest and I listen to everyone, to whatever they want to talk about, but I am very small and I don't always know what to say. So I give long hugs and wish for bigger arms that could fit more people inside of them. I hug the broken man with tasers hidden up his sleeves because I know he has them just because he is scared.
And I walk all day, my backpack filled with sunflower seeds and the jar of good things, and the jar of bad things, and pens and papers and empty film canisters. My shoelaces broke. I walked them apart. I tried to tie them in strange ways, with wonky knots which eventually broke as well, so I carried on in floppy boots. The night sets in and out come the shadows. Dirty men in spotless cars who assume I am a prostitute just because I walk alone. They follow me down the street, as my fingernails press little crescent marks into my palms. I walk past a boy with a soggy sign that says, "I want real kindness, not that fake shit." It rains. I cry. Then I dance. With my headphones on I dance for the same reason I am crying. I let the city eyes from the high windows watch me. I take off my jacket because cold is a nice compliment for sadness and when I finally warm up the sadness and the shivers can be shed together. Crying, dancing, and freezing are my reset button. I sleep, then go back again the next day, and I listen some more.
Not all my adventures include finding secret lands and crazy characters - some of them are very simple, and they leave me crying in the rain. I believe that traveling and adventuring is mostly about looking at a place with new eyes, and for that, you don't even need to move.