Have I ever told you the story about theory and practice? Yeah, I’ve always loved it, the fact that nothing actually seems as it really is. In theory it’s the middle of the night and I’m lying still on my bed in the darkness. I’m staring at my ceiling which is so cold and blank now and this emptiness fills me up totally and I feel it’s the definition. That’s what I am today.
In practice I’m far away from home, walking the path I’ve never walked before, to get to the place that doesn’t exist in the way it used to. I haven’t been here for a while. I came back as suddenly as the memory of it, led by the impulse of my thoughts to find this place where nobody follows my story anymore. I thought this visit would fill the void I have inside. Instead, I’m standing here with my arms crossed, shrivelling out of disappointment that catches me out of the blue. My memories were better than that. Brighter and more colourful. Different.
I’ve never wanted to grow up. Neither my dad who was coming back late from his work nor my mum who was falling asleep in the middle of my favourite fairy tale (sic!) were encouraging enough to make me crave being independent and “free”. I wasn’t able to understand the children in the kindergarten when they were playing at being family, girls dreaming about the highest heels and beautiful make-ups. And me? I was playing at being pirates and sirens, putting the pots on my head and using bedsheets as a curtain of my homemade theatre. The further I was from being an adult, the better I felt and it stayed like that until today. It is said that children can’t distinguish reality from dreams until they’re six. And even though I am three times older now, I feel that I kept this weird characteristic. Something is making me want to just casually drop everything and lay on my terrace, look into the stars or run barefoot in the rain.
I am stuck in a certain moment of time now. Everything just stopped and I don’t feel like it’s going to move. I don’t know whether it’s about the pandemic time or if everybody feels this way just before they go to the university and become “officially” adults. I spend my days thinking about the upcoming changes but I’m unable to imagine them happening at the same time. The life that is about to come crosses the borders I know. It’s a big unknown that reaches the end of the universe and constantly makes me wonder – why in this moment of life do people stop looking at the world as if they were experiencing it for the very first time?
Growing up comes with loneliness because the price of living outside the box of adulthood is too high for most people. Why the hell do we associate being mature with stability and balance if the longer we live, the more complicated the world seems to be? The more I know about life, the less I understand it. I don’t know what to do, where to go and who I can trust. I undermine authorities. I dig deeper than ever before. When one is no longer blinded by the haze of innocent thinking, people suddenly appear to be monsters and the world is a very mad place without much hope to see.
That’s why I often feel like a little boat in the middle of the ocean. I used to stay safely in the port, not going out into deep waters, under the protection of two experienced sailors. I could eat sand, laugh loud while playing or speak with a lisp, and strangers were happy when I smiled at them. Now I get questions from the world that I have no clear answers to. I don’t know when relationships with people got so complicated, reality started getting grey, and in my old toys I saw an opportunity for profit instead of pure joy. I have only one lamp in my hand, fueled by the hope that keeps fading at times, with which I light my way through the dark corners of my soul. I get there while searching for the most confusing answers in the universe. And I never find them.
It all makes me feel so tired that I don’t want to be a part of it. I go back to my secret places, which used to be a remedy for everything that’s evil in the world, but today even they keep reminding me about all of the challenges I’ll have to face. Strange things are happening around. They overwhelm me, disturb the peace of my young thoughts and want to fit them into a pattern. Sometimes I feel like I keep losing the clarity that I need so much right now. I try to hide from it, I run away, but I know there’s nowhere I can go.
More and more often I realise that life is just an art of simultaneously accepting constant and constantly changing things in life. While standing in the place of my own memories, I feel like some kind of intruder, as if I entered the life of someone completely different. Words, once so clear and tender, mingle with strange noises, the dangerous murmur that creeps in from the outside world. I feel the icy wind blowing again and the longer I’m standing, the more I realize the truth I never wanted to know.
The world is moving forward and I don’t have the power to stop it.
But it’s okay. I’ll let it go. After all, I can still sit on the terrace in the evenings if I want, looking at the stars with my head up, jump into puddles and laugh whenever there’s an opportunity for it. Life will be hard for me, I know, because I want to choose one of the least well-worn paths in the world. Deep down inside I feel that if I do otherwise, I’ll lose myself.
I have to get older but no one can make me grow up, right?
Aron Wiesenfeld is an American artist whose works I came across completely by accident, but they charmed me at the very first sight. The delicate mystery and deep melancholy of his paintings make them strangely disturbing and beautiful. The silhouettes of children placed against the background of uninhabited spaces are the symbols of moving away from innocence. The world created by the artist is a world full of incompatibilities, where in winter you cycle and wear shorts, life contrasts with death, and adulthood is mixed with childhood. These children, painted in his characteristic style, have been thrown into the deep water, into the world of independence and apparent ease. They try to face the challenges of the mature world with consternation, while still remaining “just” children inside, just as we all do.
Photos used in the entry and more of the artist’s works can be seen here.
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