Yesterday, I saw the news on social media about the explosion in Beirut, minutes after it happened. I watched and rewatched the videos trying to understand what I was viewing since it was too early for it to have been known and reported out yet. The only thing I was sure of was that 2020 would go down in the history books as a year that changed the world and everyone in it somehow.
These events make you think back to other significant events that happen outside of the control of those who are impacted by it. We may work hard to keep ourselves and our loved ones safe and taken care of, but there is an ever-constant randomized variable that makes it impossible to succeed consistently. We can only do our best and hope that the protection we setup for those we love does what we hoped it would do.
Protection is a type of barrier set up with good intentions. Without transparency for others to know its function, it can make the people being protected seem cold and calculated or naive and unrealistic.
The events in Beirut looped in my mind throughout the evening. I thought a lot about moments in my life when I wasn’t in the safest place or when I knew the place I was visiting was questionable and how at any moment, something could have gone wrong without notice. Thinking back through those experiences initially gave me worry and anxiety, but then I realized I had made it through them all. In the end, nearly nothing that happens in the world is something I can control. At some point, we have to stop worrying, prepare ourselves the best we can, and get on with life.
One thing I had been worrying about with COVID-19 ever-present was exploring London. I had been in an isolated lockdown for months with only a few interactions other than delivery drivers, since March. I most likely will share more of that in another post. On Tuesday evening, I decided I wouldn’t let COVID-19 ruin the time I had left in London. I decided to get out and watch the sunrise from Primrose Hill, something I’d wanted to do at sunset since I arrived in London, but didn’t want to do alone. Sunrise seemed like a natural time to go alone and prepare my thought process for mt next post.
I woke up at 3:45 am, showered, and set out towards Primrose Hill. I brought my fancy camera, a backpack, some supplies, and an energy I hadn’t felt since before lockdown. I arrived at the location to find two groups of late-night partiers, laying in the grass, half of them napping, and the other half seemingly out of it. It was a Wednesday morning. I positioned myself to go live on Instagram to share with my friends in the states who were about to go to bed. A few people hoped on and started chatting with me on the live feed, which I didn’t anticipate. I’m not someone who uses social media for its social aspect; I only like sharing my photography until this point and having it be more of a one-way communication channel. I was surprised that I enjoyed talking to them as much as I did.
Once I took some pictures, I reached out to one of the people who message about joining my live feed, but I couldn’t easily take pictures and talk with them at the same time. This person was someone who was a friend of a friend I had met a couple of times, but we were never close. For some reason, I felt the need to have that conversation, and I am so glad we did.
We ended up in a phone call that lasted over 30 minutes, and both shared stories about what we had been up to, our families, the similarities between our times growing up, and I got some feedback on the journey I have posted thus far. In a 30-minute Instagram call, I learned more about this person than I did in the times we met in person, which included a lunch at a restaurant where we sat next to one another. As I walked home, I was thinking how crazy it was that we never had these conversations when we were together, but as someone always trying to keep people at a distance, it didn’t surprise me. By opening up more and starting this project, I cleared the way for a new connection in my journey, and that alone has made this project worth it. I’m excited about who will rejoin my life in a meaningful way and who I will meet as I continue down this path.