A New Heart, A New Spirit
December 2016 was a rough month in Oakland. Like so many of you, I was dealing with some pretty hefty feelings; that month, I wrote down some of my thoughts and sent them to a friend I’d made this time last year, when I first moved permanently to the Bay Area. I’ve been living here full-time for over a year now, and every day reminds me how much I love this place. With this sense of belonging in mind, I want to share my thoughts from last December with everyone — I hope some of you can relate, or at least it helps knowing you’re not the only one out there who feels sad and confused sometimes.
“Today was pretty rough for me — I was in my own head thinking about people and love and dumb stuff, feeling hella sad, until I started reading more Ghost Ship obituaries.
It’s hard to say that I saw a face I knew, I just never connected the dots cause I only knew them by their first name and internet alias. Her name was Jennifer Morris, but I knew her as Jenny and @jennyakiko. We’d run into each other at live music shows and around Downtown Oakland and talk online. She was actually the first of many people who entered my life after I moved to Oakland for the long term. We met in line for the Alex G show at the Rickshaw Stop in SF last spring. It was a beautiful night, a night where I sang and danced and cried to some of my favorite music and made some new friends. I can’t really say we were the closest but it always felt good seeing Jenny around the Bay. We were always out having a good time and doing our thing in those moments. All of these run-ins with her sparked my first feelings of how small the Bay Area is and how chance encounters like these feel really “real” out here.
We last spoke in October, when I failed to reply to her last text message. I’m shaken up thinking about it. I feel like I left a good person hanging all while I was fixated on some lousy connections with people that are miles away and not even in my life.”
I wrote that after work one day. I fought tears for a few weeks — I can’t imagine what some of you must have gone through, losing people even closer to you — and eventually made it to Jenny’s memorial service. I lost it as soon as I sat down.
I still feel confused and overwhelmed by the way random connections and random loss can send ripples through so many lives. But I also feel really blessed to have had so many amazing, positive people like Jenny enter my life in this past year. Hearing about different experiences and points of view is awesome, and being around people like this challenges my own mental attitude and pushes me to explore and share those difficult, deeper thoughts and feelings running through my own head.
I still think about Jenny and the people I want to love and the people I think I’ve scared in the past. I think about my role in my neighborhood and community and state, and wonder if what I’m doing is not enough. I think social media is gross and twists and turns me into false moods. I think I think too much — but that’s probably better than not thinking enough.
Anyways, I’d like to take this time and say how fortunate I feel to be living in the Bay Area, specifically the East Bay. I feel there’s a pace of life here that cannot be matched anywhere else in this world. The people I’ve met and even grown so close to in the last 12+ months know my feelings on this. Some of them are across the globe right now or living here in the Bay or the states. All of them have shown me that I am capable of love and being loved.
If you’re reading this right now, you most likely had some impression on my life and are a source of some sweet inspiration. Last year I felt alone, exploring myself with my mind at its weakest. Now I feel conscious and open, ready to connect with those around me.