Yesterday I graduated from VFS for the second time, out of two classes in a row. This was the official graduation, when I got my diploma, while the first one was more important as a ceremony, being up there with the people which I worked side by side for almost the entire year. Each one of them was a different experience, different feelings both outside and inside.
One of the faculty speakers chosen by 3D112 was Francois, our modeling instructor for the first three terms. His speech was unusual, very brief words followed by a long poem by Dr. Seuss, entitled “Oh, the Places You’ll Go”. It’s really long, I’m not gonna put it all in here, but I will highlight one bit that was particularly meaningful for me. Long poem short, it tells us about how this is just the start of our journeys through the world, about our good choices and success and how there are wonderful things out there and all the amazing things we’ll get to do because we’re fit for it. Then it takes a dark turn and goes about how sometimes things get messed up and we’re all alone to deal with them, and we try to run, and choose, and fight, and it looks bad either to stay or to go, but we’ll move and eventually “toward a most useless place./ The Waiting Place…”
“…for people just waiting.
Waiting for a train to go
or a bus to come, or a plane to go
or the mail to come, or the rain to go
or the phone to ring, or the snow to snow
or the waiting around for a Yes or No
or waiting for their hair to grow.
Everyone is just waiting.”
“Waiting for the fish to bite
or waiting for the wind to fly a kite
or waiting around for Friday night
or waiting, perhaps, for their Uncle Jake
or a pot to boil, or a Better Break
or a string of pearls, or a pair of pants
or a wig with curls, or Another Chance.
Everyone is just waiting.”
That’s not for you!”
I guess I don’t need to tell you how much I could relate to this poem, like being on the verge of tears. Then Francois finished his talking and we moved on with the ceremony, but the poem was kept alive in me. Rumbling, twitching, jumping and screaming for attention so, by the time I went to bed I decided to take another quick look at it and I think by now I can almost tie each verse to specific events that took place this last year. And, man, the Waiting Place…
I’ve been there, I’ve practically redecorated the place for the amount of time spent waiting. Waiting for things to get better, waiting for the Sun to shine, waiting for my appetite to come back, waiting on other people’s help, waiting on a work permit, waiting on a job offer, waiting to know what I was gonna do with my life after VFS, waiting to see if it was ever gonna be like before, all of that and then some.
I think I stopped waiting when I went home. I couldn’t fucking wait any more, and so I started doing things. Not to meet deadlines, not to please someone else, but things I wanted to get done for myself. I got back to reading a lot, I started shooting my own videos and coming up with different ideas without having to wait on anyone’s approval. I have this habit with writing, whenever I think I have a good subject for a post, I try and wait for it to come out. Yeah, you guessed right, fuck that. I just started writing more and more. Some work out well, some don’t, and I’m fine with it.
When I got back to Vancouver, I also got back together with my bike. Our relationship had been broken sometime during the winter, when I couldn’t keep up with the weather simply because I didn’t have any food inside. I remember talking with my parents about this, about stop using the bike and start taking the bus. For this entire time I kept all the bus passes I used. I didn’t know what they were meant for, but I kept them on my desk. I still have the stack here, over a hundred bus tickets. It’ll eventually be put to good use.
Another thing I resumed was photography. I was running out of content for Instagram, and taking new pictures has replenished my stock. It also made me work on new strategies to carry my camera around – whenever I put it in my backpack I never actually reach for it, and using the strap is terribly uncomfortable after some time – as well as experimenting with new lenses and continuing my personal projects and studies in this field. It made me get back to seeing light, really paying attention to it, knowing when the sun rises and sets, what places look good at what times and that kind of thing.
This whole series of changes made me realize it’s very easy for us to just sit down and wait. Wait for divine providence, wait for that dream job offer when we need it – hell, wait for ANY reply at all regarding jobs! -, wait for that video to go viral. And Dr. Seuss couldn’t be more precise on his words, it is “a most useless place” and in my personal experience, 98 and 3/4 percent of the times nothing good comes from it. Unfortunately for us, sometimes it’s damn hard to see we’re there, and it’s a least twice as hard to push the door and leave because we can’t know what’s expecting on the other side, but we have to do it despite not knowing, we have to do it otherwise we’re just letting life slip through our fingers and that does feel pretty useless.
I’m very grateful to all of those close to me that supported me through these times – and if you’re reading this you be sure you’re in the special thanks list -, be it with pointless conversations, stupid jokes, boat riding (!), obsessing about lenses, talking about bikes, riding along the seawall, sharing a special meal, suggesting me something to read (or listen, or watch), climbing mountains (!), making plans, or even things as simple as a kind (or crazy) good morning/good evening, you made the load bearable, you gave me strength to go on, you helped me find direction, you guided me out of the waiting place.
Thank you Francois, for a speech that didn’t end there and then. This one stays with me for the long haul.
At last, but not least, thank you 3D111 for being my brothers, sisters, moms, dads and even children sometimes. It was an honor to be a part of you. I also thank you, 3D112, for the warm and welcoming embrace on such short notice and this brief little time we had working together.