POV: In Spirit.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

POV ("point of view") is a series that addresses many of the same themes covered in my Equals Record column: growing up, saying yes to adventure, learning to embrace a quarter-life crisis. While my previous column focused largely on ideas, POV focuses on moments - glimpses, glances, tiny stories.

I watched the fireworks on the Fourth of July perched on a picnic bench on a Williamsburg rooftop. I was with friends, but it seemed the whole city was out, clustered on neighboring roofs, their silhouettes illuminated in the glow of rainbow-colored starbursts. When it was over, I got a video call from my family, celebrating 2500 miles away in Southern California daylight. "I'm there in spirit!" I said, waving to my sun-speckled niece and nephew, my parents, my two brothers. 

Later, my mom sent photos of everyone in the pool, accompanied by emoji hearts in every color. "We felt it," she wrote.


Last week, everyone I spoke to in that video call traveled to New York to celebrate a milestone birthday with my brother, and to acclimate to a later time zone before traveling on to Italy, where I'm writing this now. We've spent the last five days on a rare family trip, in a little house with a yard full of lavender and rosemary, on a hilltop covered in olive trees. We've toured a medieval city. We've visited the ocean, the faint lilac horizon we can see from our windows. We've eaten our weight in cheese.

As often seems to be the case when you leave a big city, we seem to have more hours in the day than we know what to do with, and I've spent every night since we arrived laying in bed writing and rewriting this post.

Yesterday, during one such session, I paged through a softcover notebook I occasionally use as a journal. The last full entry I wrote was on May 25th; after that, the pages devolve into grocery reminders and to-do lists, save for one single sentence from June 28th: "I've written nothing for weeks, but everything is happening."

The next page is blank.


I posted an entry here recently about navigating writers' block, the influence of which has been evident on the increasingly sparse pages of this blog. Something similar happened around this time last year, when I took a short hiatus to rethink the direction I wanted to take my site. What I may or may not have shared at the time was that I was also rethinking my decision to pursue writing, and whether or not I wanted to stay in New York. 

I've found that this has been one of the biggest challenges of my twenties: often, everything — not just career, friendships, love, or location, but all of it, all at once — feels up in the air. It's a challenge, sometimes, to see things through with grace, with focus. It's a lot like juggling: trying to keep multiple batons in the air, being mindful all the time of timing, and footwork, and gravity.

I often feel like I'm trying to be everywhere at once, and falling short. 

These days, I'm there in spirit has become something of a steady mantra. I say it constantly. I've written it half a dozen times tonight alone, to friends back in New York, whose birthdays and shows and summer get-togethers I'm missing while traveling. And I mean it. 

Also: however scattered, however absent, my spirit is here, too, with you. I hope that's felt.

A few weeks ago, I ran into an old friend outside a concert. "Where have you been?" he asked, and I had an experience like one you see in movies, when all of the events leading up to that single moment in time whiz by in a blur onscreen. 

"Here," I said. "I've always been here."


I'll be traveling in Italy and Amsterdam til the 30th of July; I'll be back with a regular week of posts (that's five!) starting August 3rd. Sending lots of love from around the world in the meantime — and many thanks, as always, for your kind words and understanding about my sporadic posting this year. I'm here in spirit always; I really am. 

You can find my previous POV entries, here. Thank you so much for reading. Photo via Instagram (where Max, Margaux, and I are posting photos of our trip).


Catty said...

Feeling on reading this - Oh. It's not just me then. Of course.

I quoted and linked to this on my blog

[though actually I think I scheduled the post for tomorrow]

but thank you.

Anonymous said...

this is lovely. thank you for sharing and being honest.

burntfeather said...

and here in spirit is totally good enough :) Sometimes the soul needs time to recharge! Keep having fun!

Tori's Tales said...

There is nothing I love more than reading the words you share here in POV, Shoko.

"often, everything — not just career, friendships, love, or location, but all of it, all at once — feels up in the air"

This is my constant. I am 29, and for so many years of my life - at least the last 9, but I'm in fact sure more, if not all of my since-a-late-teen ones - nothing has felt certain. There has been no one thing that has been concrete, no one thing that has fit - just been - but, instead, thing after thing that suspends, in limbo, pulling my heart to and fro, which has meant that most of my adult years have been fraught with anxious, 'what's going on?' thoughts.

Thank you for sharing your own experience. Although knowing someone else out there has struggled with things being up in the air isn't nice - because I'd rather no one else be juggling those come-with-the-situation thoughts - there's comfort brought in not being the only one.

Your family trip really does sound so beautiful, and I've enjoyed following it along on IG. Your images have me yearning for a spot in the sun to breathe in :)

Much love <3

Rachel said...

These days it seems that my sole method of comment communication is emojis, but I'm writing this on my computer, so...*double hearts*. Hope Europe is treating you well =] Your posts make me happy.

Shoko said...

Catty, I'm honored. Thank you! Your blog is beautiful.

Anon, thank you for reading.

Fee, agreed — and will do! :)

Tori, I think all the up-in-the-air makes for better stories in the end! Thank you so much for such lovely words.

Rachel, that's so nice of you to say. Thanks so much.

Julia said...

One of my favorite POVs. I love how your words always feel so relatable and honest.

bernadette said...


max said...

so so lovely. as always. as usual. thank you for sharing your words.

Kat said...

Your words resonate in my soul. Thank you for putting them out here.


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