Being Human

 

Perhaps one of the hardest and most important lessons we learn as we grow up is that the people we meet and the connections we make are often temporary. People wander in and out of our lives by accident and sometimes, they're people whose names we will forget a year from now. But if we're lucky, those people can have a profound impact on our lives. Maybe we love them and they leave us. Maybe we befriend them and they change how we see the world. Or maybe they've been right beside us all along and we've only now begun to realize how important they are. 

As I stumble through this life, I tend not to carry regrets. However, the one thing I about my formative years that I wish I could change is the fact I spent so much time keeping the people around me at a distance because I was so afraid of experiencing the pain of losing them. I spent my college years isolated from the amazing and talented people surrounding me out of fear.  And in the months that followed my graduation, I watched my father lose his mother and two brothers within six months. I lost almost all of my closest friends. I lost the the person who I thought to be the great love of my life. During that period of my life, I was angry and I was hurt and I continued to keep people at an arm's length. Nevertheless, the people who were in my life at the time loved me anyway. And their love was what gave me the courage to love them in return.

In the weeks leading up to my relocation here to Portland, I was terrified that I'd move to this city and I'd feel as lonely as I did before. But somehow, I am here and I have met some of the most amazing people – people I was close with and drifted away from, people I still see every single day, people I've laughed with over drinks at a bar and haven't encountered since. Regardless of whether they stayed in my life or left it, I feel so lucky to have crossed paths with each and every one of them. Someone I used to know told me once that ultimately, we go through our lives alone. The lonely girl I used to be agrees with him. But I'm not that girl anymore. Sure, people will come and go and very few of them stay for longer than a moment. And yes, it hurts when these people leave our lives. But why deny ourselves the magic that happens when we choose to love the people around us? Why settle for a life with less hurt when it also means that we'll experience less love? 
 

A special thanks to all of the people I've encountered who allow me photograph them incessantly.