|Photo Credit: Faith Jones|
As much as I try to maintain a "moving forward" type of attitude these days, some moments just punch me in the gut and leave me gasping for my next breath. It seems as though New Orleans is everywhere. Seriously, it's in the name of a yogurt flavor at Target. I don't even eat supermarket yogurt since I am a vegan, and yet the Big Easy is still inescapable, appearing even when I am just trying to check for the hundredth time if Target has finally decided to stock cashew milk yogurt (I am convinced that the day is coming, but so far I have only been disappointed). My New Orleans-radar is at an all-time high since I am missing it so much, so when its frequent appearances and my hyper-awareness of these appearances combine, it feels a little bit like I am drowning in the Mississippi under the musical canopy of a jazz funeral and the dim shade of second line umbrellas.
A year ago, seeing the name of such a magical city on a yogurt cup would have excited me to no end. Today, the very same city brings back deeply painful memories along with all of the fun ones. Memories of a Mardi Gras spent mostly in my bed, praying for the energy to eat lunch. Memories of sweet hugs from my favorite Tulane nurse that only made me cry harder as I wished for a sense of peace and stability with my health that was not as fleeting as someone wrapping their arms around me. Memories of sitting down on the landing of the staircase that led up to my history class because my body was too achy and my lungs were too weak to walk up all of the stairs at once.
Of course, not all of my memories are so dramatic or heartbreaking, but if I went through all of the good ones or thanked everyone who made my time in New Orleans so wonderful I would never finish this post. There are definitely more good memories than bad ones. There are more that make me laugh than that make my cry.
I wish that I could just let go of the year I had in New Orleans. I wish I could love all of my friends there without missing them, and that I could forget about the tears welled up in my eyes the last time I rode the streetcar, and that I could stop longing for the succinct and clear explanations of one of my professors every time a new health care bill is put forward. I wish I could be completely at peace with it. I wish I could stop thinking about it and stop writing about it and stop bringing it up. I do not consider myself to be a person who lives in the past, the present, or the future. I find myself always living in all three, unable to ever separate myself from any one component. Is this a healthy balance, or some sort of self-inflicted punishment?
I want to experience New Orleans in more than a yogurt cup way. I want to live there, just like I did for the past year. The reality is that that is not going to happen, at least not for the rest of my undergraduate education. I am slowly getting used to that idea. Getting used to it is nothing impressive and is not symbolic of some type of emotional "coming to terms" that I feel slightly expected/pressured to have, but is rather a reflection of the power of time to stop the bleeding. It is not the end of the world, and I am not constantly thinking about it by any means, but it sort of sweeps me up and carries me away for brief periods of time before putting me back down on my feet again, safe from the storm yet rattled by the wind. I suppose we all have little things like that.
|My sweet friend Michelle!|
|Faith taking pictures in the rose garden|