The Magic

Courtney Woolery
Apr 12, 2017 · 5 min read

It’s April 11, 2017 09:50 PM PST. My little brother has a beard now, and I am 23.5 years older than my sister who was born earlier today.

Twenty minutes ago I was in an Uber driving across the bridge from Capitol Hill back into my precious Seattle neighborhood. I was high and alone, besides the driver — and he was playing the new wave station on an almost inaudible volume. His window was open, mine closed. As my hair blew against my face, I could smell the sweet scent of marijuana smoke mixed with the unique way the air just naturally smells here. Like you know you’re near parts of the ocean, but you’re also near so much that isn’t so all you can smell is something fresh.

Almost two months ago I saw Angel Olsen for the first time. A boy I barely knew who never talked to me again after the show took me. I can’t believe we watched that literal Angel perform while we stood next to each other and didn’t fall in love.

Don’t you ever feel that? Like if you just experience something so magical, so beautiful, so fucking pure with someone… how can you ever have a better beginning than that? It’s why I’m afraid to ever see Beach House because I know whoever I stood next to when I heard “why do other people have to mean so much?” I would lose absolutely all of my cool over.

Not that I have that much cool to begin with. I want so badly for my life to be something so specific that I will do almost anything to feel it. I’ve lived my entire life this way because I one-hundred percent know for sure that it’s all possible. I’ve felt it before. The magic I want is out there. But I also know that you can’t force it: not for you to feel it or for someone else. Not everyone even values it. Not me though. I always keep an eye out for the special way the light can sparkle golden on your skin or the way a certain song can make you feel when you’re driving with the windows down or the way you catch a whiff of freshly mowed grass or something and all of a sudden you’re five years old again, running down the block, and the moment is building, and you’re about to turn the corner, and your hair is flying out behind your back, and your bare feet are somehow both sticky and dirty, and you know when you reach your yard you can just flop yourself down on the itchy green grass and laugh as loud as you fucking want.

I felt that when I saw Angel Olsen and I felt that again tonight.

I’ve actually felt it a lot since I moved here almost nine months ago. I knew this was one of my magic places since I came here and decided to move when I got lost while walking around downtown alone and looked up at everything around me and felt this sense of happiness. I had no idea what I was doing or what I wanted or what I spent five years getting a degree was going to mean to me and then I felt this. And somehow none of that mattered anymore because I knew that it was going to be okay for me to always seek this out. For me, it’s intertwined with my love for writing — another thing I’ve known since I was five years old.

Seattle has helped me stop fearing calling myself a writer. It brought me experiences and people and moments that all asked me the same thing: Why are you so afraid of labeling yourself writer? What is it about fully committing to a passion that scares you? And the answers have come gradually — but they’ve come to me here because everything keeps pushing me into it. And I’m bolder here because the magic gives me confidence — so I’ve been going toward experiences I’ve never even considered in the past. And there are stories everywhere, characters everywhere — pulling me into it all.

You cannot erase me and I cannot erase myself. And by not committing to my passion, I was erasing myself. I always thought that one day it would just come easy to me, or work in some way that didn’t feel like an effort. Isn’t that what all true artists feel? I thought. But the magic itself is in the process. What I wasn’t doing was forcing myself to sit down and write: the material was there, the magic and the drive that always pushed me toward words was all in there. But I needed to actually sit down and write.

And Seattle has brought that to me. In a combination of all this, I started writing more.

And then I saw Angel Olsen and heard her sing one of what will now always be one of my favorite lyrics:

“All my life I thought I’d change”

And I swear after I heard this I could barely speak for the rest of the day because it was like something had clicked inside of my soul.

Like, I’m always waiting for this moment when my “real life” is really actually going to start. You go through high school, and you go through college, and you move out on your own, and then… then what? What was I doing all of that for? Like, is something going to click inside me and now I’m this person who knows what to do?

“All my life I thought I’d change”

But I’m never going to change. This is who I am and this is what I will always be and that core part of whatever the fuck it is that makes someone “me” is always going to be this. There’s not going to be something that changes and things suddenly work differently for you.

And to me this realization isn’t pessimistic but so crucial because it’s when things can really start because there’s no lingering “what if…”

Once you reach that place of acceptance, nothing can erase you. You’re fucking solid. You can live for your own magic and not care about how it fits into any kind of expectation.

So I’m a writer. It’s April 11, 2017 10:36 PM PST. My little brother has a beard now, and I am 23.5 years older than my sister who was born earlier today.

One hour and six minutes ago I was in an Uber driving across the bridge from Capitol Hill back into my precious Seattle neighborhood. I was high and alone, besides the driver — and he was playing the new wave station on an almost inaudible volume. His window was open, mine closed. As my hair blew against my face, I could smell the sweet scent of marijuana smoke mixed with the unique way the air just naturally smells here. Like you know you’re near parts of the ocean, but you’re also near so much that isn’t so all you can smell is something fresh…

Courtney Woolery

writer based out of Seattle, I also write poetry, tweet at me @courtneyskye

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