I miss you

Stepping out of NYWF is hard. A life-changing experience doesn’t really rock the foundations of your life until it’s over. I am so lucky that I get to experience that life changing impact every single year, that is has shaped my life right down to it’s core. I’m not denying that. There will be other blogs about the good parts. But before them, I want to write this one. Because I also don’t feel like I can go back and reflect on this weekend without processing what I’m feeling now, in it’s aftermath.
This year was my eighth festival and this is, perhaps, the worst come down I’ve experienced. I wasn’t expecting that. I wasn’t expecting to miss you this much.
Mostly, digital communication feels like a lifeline. It is better than silence, better than wondering. Most of the time I barely notice the cracks in it’s surface. But in the weeks after NYWF, the things that it can’t do stand out with staggering clarity.
DMing you is not the same as smiling at each other at 2am, when your smile is so backlit it’s almost invisible but so important that it’s all I can see. Talking on Skype is not the same as silently resting my head on your shoulder just because you’re close enough that I can. Promising that I’ll come visit (soon, definitely soon) is not the same as arriving at the ocean to find, without planning, that you’re already there.   
For a few days after NYWF, I read all of your tweets in your voice. And then that memory fades and they go back to being words and they’re still your words but I miss the sound of your voice in my head. I miss the way you laugh. It’s almost impossible to hold onto the memory of someone’s laugh. I’ve tried. So many times. Everyone’s laugh is different. The sound of your laughter, as silly as it sounds, is one of the things I miss most.
One of the very hardest things about this, the part which is hardest to articulate is that one of the people I miss in this aftermath is me.
I am different at NYWF. Not radically different. But different in subtle, tiny, earth shattering ways. On those days I am the very best version of myself. I am happy and I am kind and I am brave.
On the one hand, of course it helps to know that that person is inside me, that I am capable of that much bravery and joy. But that realisation is also devastating. Because, if I could, I would choose to be that person every day. I wantto be. So much. NYWF is to be reminded both that I can be that person and that I can’t be that person all the time.
At NYWF I am fearless. I dance without worrying. I laugh without hesitating. I talk without second guessing myself. I can be me, completely, because I don’t worry that that isn’t enough. Because at NYWF you will always, always be ready to catch me if I fall.
Part of missing you is relinquishing the safety that you give me. It is remembering that being with you is rare and precious. It is the desperate yearning desire for that feeling to be mundane.
I’m still clinging to the sadness this year, even as it fades. I have realised that I miss you every single day. That missing you is a part of me. In the days after NYWF it is so acute that I don’t always associate it with the dull ache that is at the background of my life. But that ache is no less sad and it is no less important.
And if you’ve read this far and are still not sure if this blog applies to you, because I don’t really like you and I can’t possibly be missing you with a sadness like that, know that I do mean you. Because I like you a lot. For real. I promise.
Telling people that you miss them is important. Because otherwise they might not know. Sometimes my sadness feels so large that it must be able to cross stateliness and time zones but it can’t, not without help (I miss you). Tell the people that you love how impressive they are every chance you get (you are impressive). Tell people that you like them, because the distance of online makes it easy for them to forget that you do (I like you). Say ‘I love you’ to friends until it doesn’t feel strange anymore (I love you). Even when texts and messages and faving tweets feels so small as to be worthless, remember that it is worth a whole lot.
Just because you can’t be all of yourself, don’t let it stop you striving to be more. Celebrate small acts of bravery and of happiness. Treasure the very best version of yourself. Give it, wholly, to the people that matter, every chance you get.
I miss you.
Alex x

Further reading

December – home

I spent the first minutes of 2018 on the beach. I’ve never actually spent New Year