Looking up from underneath,
Fractured moonlight on the sea,
Reflections still look the same to me
As before I went under.
This is a song by one of my favorite artists, Florence Welch, from her Ceremonials album. It is hard to put into words exactly what goes through me when I listen to this, but I will do my best. As with all my artwork, this piece is tied to a place and a time, and, where before I focused on my past, my present is now pronounced and all-consuming.
As many of you know, I moved to LA after graduating from A&M and have been looking for a job. Coming up on 10 years now I have been studying, training, and refining my skills so that I may one day have a career in making animated films. My eye has never strayed from this goal; it has given me focus, direction, and stability in the way that a dancer focuses on a distant point to maintain balance as they flow through their frenetic performances. But, if you spend too much time staring at something, you can begin to lose clarity in the world around you, and the subject of your gaze imprints itself so that no matter where else you may look a specter of it remains. It is in this way, I fear, that the pursuit of my ambition has tainted my perspective and I can no longer see as clearly as I once could. Now, at a point in my journey where the ability to control my advancement is hindered, I find myself completely disoriented. There is no more schooling to provide sustenance or guidance for my trajectory, short term though it may have been, and I have discovered that achieving my dream is different and more complicated than I had known. I feel almost as if I am flailing, trying to remember the choreography but unable to decipher the rhythm that had once given me purpose. However, though my steps may be faltering, I am forced to acknowledge existence outside of my goals and maybe even the possibilities of writing another tune, or at least one that is slightly different, to align my dance to.
And it's peaceful in the deep
Cathedral where you cannot breathe.
No need to pray, no need to speak,
Now I am under.
My fear, at the moment, is that if I never am able to achieve finding a job at a studio, will I be able to put myself back together and live freely like I did at the beginning of my journey? Can I surrender myself to the will of whatever force determines the fate of the universe and find happiness? This is where the song comes in. Most people think it's about suicide, the literal story of the artist surrendering her life to the ocean and finally finding peace as she dies. I strongly disagree with this interpretation. It does feel as if it's a surrender, though, not of life, but to the emotion. Maybe even to something more ethereal, like fate, or love, or just happiness in general.
The ocean has always had a very complex meaning in my life, as several defining moments have taken place by waves crashing on shores. Maybe that's why the song moves me as it does. This is the type of lyrical and melodic fusion that is to me what religion is to other people. It harmonizes with my soul and guides me, gives me perspective, and erases the nonsense chatter that fills my head every other waking minute. What it makes me ask myself is, can I surrender my ambition and just be happy with where life takes me? To allow myself peace as promised in these words is something I could spend a lifetime trying to achieve, though I am able to on serendipitous occasions. Once when I was on a ship on the Alaskan ocean, chilled to the bone while watching an endless sunrise, once wandering around at night with a fever through what felt like endless outdoor gardens at a magical Mexican resort, and then again tonight sitting in the park under the moon painting this picture.
And now it's breaking over me.
A thousand miles down to the sea bed
I found the place to rest me head.
Never let me go.
There are very few physical of means of describing this emotion, but I can remember doing something as a kid that comes close. I don't know if any of you out there have done this, but when I used to play in swimming pools I would let myself sink to the bottom and just sit there listening. There was something very peaceful about the weight of the water around me, the isolation from sound, and the release of the control of my body. I could lay there suspended, perfectly still, forever if nature would have allowed. This is how I wish to be able to live my life one day. To let it wash over me and take me where it will, to surrender my desperate goals and find happiness with the peace. To find stillness of spirit. Wherever I may end up.
And the arms of the ocean are carrying me,
And all this devotion was rushing out of me,
And the crashes are heaven for a sinner like me,
But the arms of the ocean delivered me.