Sunday, December 16, 2007

my philosophy on advice is that if i were asking for it, i would want to hear the blunt truth. i want to hear what i might know is true but don't want to admit to myself. someone has to be the voice of reason and it's not usually the person asking for advice, or they wouldn't be asking for it.

it's pretty odd to be in a situation that is almost exactly like one that you gave someone else advice about before. you're suddenly like... shit... now i have to follow my own advice.

a few years back, one of my friends (no names to protect the innocent) was lamenting having to leave someone she had met while studying abroad. she was saying that she felt that the things she shared with this person didn't really mean anything because he had gone back home, to his girlfriend, and she was sure she'd never see him again.

i gave her my best attempt at being a wise and insightful friend and i told her that she should be really happy that she got the three months that she did. she could always look back on those three months and remember them fondly. she could remember that this person had a really deep affection for her, even if it wasn't quite manifest in the way it she wanted it to be. and that it doesn't mean any less just because it's in the past tense instead of the present.

so, to me, even though this thing i said to her sounded really idealistic, it also sounded like "the right answer," even if that's hard to follow. really i just wanted to her not to be sad about something she couldn't change.

that being said, i realize now how completely unfollowable that advice was.

this isn't something you can actually do. you can't turn off your feelings for something and transform it into a pleasant memory in a split second. eventually... but after some time. i realize that i was telling her this advice thinking "don't be sad! you have these three months of memories, don't be sad about them, be happy. turn it on like a switch." which is completely crazy. no one can do that.

so i know what i need to do. i've put myself back to two years ago and i'm listening to myself give this advice and telling myself to follow it. but i know exactly why she thought about it feeling meaningless.

this friend wrote this really wonderful story for one of her nonfiction classes about how this guy lived a life she described as transient -- he had no qualms about moving from one part of his life to another, just picking up and leaving everything behind to start something new. he would look at his experience abroad the way that she wished she could. like a great time in his life that's over.

i can't remember the moral of her story, if her prose decided this was an ideal way to live or a sad way. i sort of wish i could be that kind of person, but i know that i'm not and i probably never will be. i don't have the capability of remembering things without placing myself back at that time; it's only one place or the other, now or then, and it's usually then. i was actually just thinking about how often i do that; sit and look at pictures or think about things i've done and wish i was back at those times rather than right now.

i understand why people become writers or musicians or artists or photographers or filmmakers. you want to cement something into the present tense that otherwise would disappear into the past, into memory.

i've never been good at taking my own advice, but then again i don't know if that's true of anyone. i suppose you can either waste your time being sad or just decide to be happy, i just don't know how possible the latter is.

i recently learned the term "gutted" and at first i thought it just meant sad, but now i think it's a little bit more than that. i actually feel like i've been gutted, hollow, i feel like i don't have insides. but maybe you need to feel that way first to make the memories move vivid. like a chrysalis for memories... i don't know.

i'm not sure if i really got at what i'm trying to get at with this.

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