Saturday, January 8, 2011

Waiting in Lines at H&M: Where Sarah Learned the Art of Letting Your Mind Wander

Today I went on an artist's date.  I woke up a little panicky.  About what, I'm not sure.  Taking myself on a date isn't exactly like going on a typical date.  I mean, I'm pretty comfortable with myself, I don't mind if I don't shave my legs, and I don't have to worry if I think my jokes are funny or if I have food in my teeth- because I know my jokes are hilarious, and so is having food in my teeth.  But seeing as I get panicky over most things, I rolled out myself out of bed and told myself to got over it.  I showered, dressed, procrastinated, brushed my teeth, and procrastinated some more.  I trudged downstairs and said a disgruntled goodbye to Emily.  I headed downtown to Powell's for some quiet reflection surrounded by my three dearest friends- words, characters, and can't-turn-the-page-fast-enough plots.

I perused the variously themed rooms- Rose, Purple, Green; Children's, History, Classical Literature.  After searching in vain for this beautifully illustrated copy of Emily Dickinson's My Letter to the World and purchasing a short book about writing novels, I perched myself in the cafe against the wall of windows, across from the Buffalo Exchange.  In front of me was a vanilla latte and a copy of Emma.  To my right was a devout chemistry student taking up three seats with her work and listening to Lil Wayne at a level most otolaryngologists would disapprove of.  The garbled hip hop did not frame my reading of Jane Austen well, but there wasn't anywhere else to sit, and after a while you just get used to things like that.  It wasn't until she left to go to the bathroom, and my brain let out a sigh of relief, that I realized I wouldn't be able to ignore her quite as successful when she returned.  So I packed my things, took a final sip of that vanilla latte, and headed to Antrhopologie to see what sorts of inspiration awaited me.

I love Anthropologie, to point of hating Anthropologie.  I used quite a bit of restraint, but seeing that "Sale" sign by the front door was rather ominous.  Artist dates are not excuses to buy things you don't need, however, so I kept myself to the books and little trinkets that tend to set my imagination afire.  There's something about perfume puffs and the tinkling of those delicate tea cups that I simply can't resist.  Surrounding yourself with beautiful things can do nothing but aid in the creative process... Right?  I left with beautiful copy of Anne of Green Gables, a book of inspirations by Paulo Coehlo and a delicate, tinkling tea cup.  

Next I took myself (and my newly acquired books and china) to H&M, where I had a gift card to work my way through.  People in Portland are a little intense when it comes to H&M.  Really, the dressing room lines, the clothes scattered every which way and the dazed looking employees are a little silly.  But I struggled through it, finding some very preppy things to wear to a "Soul Dance Party" tonight (very well then, I contradict myself).

I should mention that I forgot my phone this morning.  At first blush, this was a panic-worthy revelation.  But a few hours and some deep breaths later, I realized that I could, in fact, get along fine without it.  It wasn't until I stood in line for a dressing room at H&M that I really started to miss the little guy.  But, as 5 minutes turned into 15, which turned eventually turned into 30 and so on, I noticed something odd taking place.  Rather than distracting myself with Facebook statuses and Twitter updates, I was... thinking, imagining, conjuring and creating.  Recently I've been worried about my lake of creativity and increasingly shortened attention span.  But just 3 hours without my phone, and I was coming up with ideas for a novel, framing new blog ideas, and thinking of how very much Emma and I are alike.

I wasn't sure what I was supposed to be getting out of these artist's dates- I'm not exactly short on alone time and the concept was beginning to feel a little trivial.  But the process of intentionally carving out a block of time where you are forced to communicate with no one but yourself- even if you're doing something you might be doing otherwise- can be truly monumental.  It's just like creating space and time for a couple to come together to reconnect, communicate, and get to know one another again.  I had almost forgotten how wildly my mind can work when it's allowed to wander at will.  It was refreshing and encouraging to know that I am always a fountain of new ideas, I just need to allow opportunities for my imagination to do what it does best.

What started as an apathetic attempt to fulfill a goal I'm being held accountable to, turned into a really beautiful experience of getting back in touch with the parts of myself- my nuances- that are lost, forgotten, and overlooked  on a daily basis.  This is an artist's date at the core and I highly recommend them for anyone wanting to recharge, reconnect and remember the little qualities that make them extraordinary.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Shake the dust off that keyboard and type us something pretty.