Perhaps it's this time of year, or perhaps it is just one of those magical times in your life when things are going right. The times when you think, oh man, things are too good, what's about to come! It's this time when I really start thinking about people. The people in my life, and the people who have come and gone from my life. I am so grateful for all the amazing people I know and who will always be a part of my life. But today's post isn't about them. It is about the people who don't stay in your life. I am not talking about the people who have passed (though they stay with me too). Or the people you don't talk to much but are freinds with on Facetagram. I am talking about the people you don't expect to have an impact on your life. Perhaps you will know who you are. Perhaps you will read this and feel like I am one of those people to you. Who knows! But away we go...
I think the first time I really thought about this concept of never seeing someone again after we spent some time together was when I took a leap and moved out to Montana to be with my long time and long distance boyfriend. I was fresh out of school, fresh out of residency and feeling like an Bouss Artist (like boss but with more attitude). I packed up all of my clay and headed out West. When I got there my parents and I unloaded all my stuff from my uncles conversion van and my subaru and BAM no clay. I left it at the base of the stairs hundreds and hundreds of miles away... Defeat. I felt lost. I didn't have any of my comfort zone things to work with. I realized, on top of being thrown into living together with my boyfriend who I saw MAYBE every 3 months if we were lucky, I had no where to do the thing that made me feel like me. I felt so insecure and so vulnerable. It was something that I hadn't felt since starting my major in college. I knew what I could do with clay and was proud of what I had been making.
SO! Off I went to find a job and a studio. Turned out there was a ceramics studio in Whitefish Montana, Stumptown Art Studio and I got myself a shelf and got to work. Well sort of. I got to sitting at the table staring at a sketchbook and doing nothing with clay, and frankly nothing with that pencil and paper either. Thats when I met her. The middle aged woman whom I couldn't even tell you her name if I tried as hard as I could. This woman who I eventually came to share extremely personal things with and vice versa was the first person I can remember thinking, "I will never see this woman again when I leave this place, but she has had a profound impact on my life." I wish I could tell her that now. Maybe someday I will go back to Montana, go back to Stumptown and run into her.
I was stuck. And boy did she know it. She sat happily at the wheel throwing pots, not great pots, they were thick, they were off-center, but that was also a time when I realized it didn't matter, it didnt have to be perfect. She very obviously did this for her, and not for ANYONE else. Her work was good enough, because she was good enough. I was in no such place in my life.
Up until this point I had made very serious, very emotionally driven pieces about love and war and hate and I found myself not knowing what to make. Nothing that I was going to make would be as good as those pieces. Retrospectively, of course I have learned that that was a different chapter in my life and the key is to continue to learn and reinvent. BUT! Back on track... I remember the first thing she said to me. It wasn't "hello my name is Blank." It was "Man you are just your worst enemy aren't you." I felt so exposed, how did she know. How did she know so much about me from watching me sit there staring after a long day working at a bakery. I didn't know what to say so I just said simply "yes." She went on to explain what a terrible thing that is and what to do about it. That I needed to let it go. To move on to the next thing. To forget what I knew and try something else. To stay open.
We became buds. I looked forward to going to the studio and seeing her there. We talked about life, love, art, adventures we had taken, adventures we longed to take. By the time I left Montana I had been a part of a shop owned and run by us the artists and had done a commission for mugs for a Brewery. All things that I didn't see myself doing, all things outside my comfort zone.
Since then I have met so many amazing people. Some that will stay in my life forever. Some that won't. I try to meet everyone with this woman in mind. I want to have an impact on people like they have on me. Even if is it just sitting at the bar in Jackson Hole talking with a tourist who was traveling alone for 3 weeks seeing the National Parks, buying jewelry right out of my ears, telling stories about adventures.
I try to absorb all my encounters after meeting Blank. Even if they are fleeting. I want to be the type of person who someday you can see all the people she has met and all the places she has gone written all over her.
You never know how important someone is until you realize you will never see them again. I can tell you I will never forget my first. I hope the world is treating her well. That she has since gone back to Holland for some time like she wanted to and that she continues to look into people's souls, even if they don't ask or necessarily think they want them to!
To Her! You don't know how important you have been to me.