I swear, everything happened today.
I swear, everything happened today.
At the moment I’m composing this post while being stuffed in a train, limbs awkwardly pressing against my fellow stranger’s. I’m trying my best to gracefully accept this packed, crowded stereotype that Tokyo is well known for.
In review of my day, I feel a bit disappointed that I didn’t try harder to observe my surroundings and find more beautiful things. Granted I didn’t have much time to just sit and relax, but I definitely could have put out more effort.
I do feel better knowing that I’m going to be here a week, instead of my regular go in and go out on the same day trips, which is because I love Home too much to stay away from it for too long. I am flowing at a better pace, and don’t feel so overwhelmed or constricted by time. But at the same time, it is still Tokyo. I have this odd sense of being in a different country when I’m here, and makes me feel very far from home.
But my sister is here. I don’t get to see Betsie so much because she works long hours at night, but it is indeed very pleasant being back with her. Tonight we went to a restaurant, and I had her hold a magnifying glass that was hanging from the ceiling in front of an old-fashioned light. It revived an old idea that I had for a piece. So perhaps this singular moment of interest in this hanging object will burrow it’s way to a future image. We shall see.
In Tokyo. Rush Rush Rush from the get-go. I hardly have any time. But I suppose that’s what I came here for. Even this image is rushed. To be honest, I really want to go to bed. It’s 1:00 and the bus ride here was less than pleasant (Although can’t complain too much of a 2,500 yen bus) .
Admittedly, it is sometimes its nice to be busy. It’s almost a romantic feeling until it’s paralyzing. I’ll do what I can to keep it romantic.
Before my boyfriend Alex went to work this morning, I asked him to help me test out some lights that I’m borrowing from a friend. It was quick, and it was simple. He was even watching anime while we were shooting, with the computer screen strategically positioned behind me.
I’m going to be heading off to Tokyo from tonight. I have three large pieces of luggage, and being accompanied by this interminable rain. According to the forecast, it seems that I can expect the rain to be my constant companion for the duration of my trip. I can only hope that it won’t.
Experimentation. What would I do if I felt no fear? Or rather, laughed in it’s face? It might laugh back and then maybe we could have a drink together.
Some time ago, about two years now, I was at a festival. This particular one I had looked forward to every year. It was here that I had discovered a part of myself that wasn’t scared or anxious. It was during this one day, my brain allowed myself to transform.
It wasn’t until the evening, that a man came up to me. He told me he was a friend of my mother’s. He was friendly, but looked at me intently. We chatted casually about the day, him a drink in hand, and me sober. A state to remember everything. “Oh Reylia.” he said, suddenly changing the topic. He cupped my face in his hand, and then briskly stroked my cheek. “You could be so beautiful…if your skin wasn’t like this.”
Pain and shock erupted in my gut, but left me speechless. Because of this man, the skin trouble I had been dealing with for years might have finally broken me. Every morning, the first thing I would do was to look in the mirror and to see if it was gone. Every night, I would check the mirror again to see if it leveled out through the day. It rarely did, if not get worse with the sun, air, and sweat. Despite all the things I used to try to heal it. And here at the festival where I felt the most confident, I had in front of me all my demons, all my insecurities, in the form of just one man.
In my daily life, once I stepped out of the house, I tried to never mind my skin too much, and to remind myself that there were worse things to worry about than how I looked. In that way, I was confident, and concerned myself with matters that involved my art or my education. Unfortunately makeup had the tendency to hurt my skin more, so it was always me naturally, bare skin to all.
After the words had come out of the man’s mouth and his hand had fallen back to his side, I realized that all my friends were walking ahead back to the station, so I had no time to react properly. I rushed to my group, and was quiet for a while, processing how his comment, his physical gesture, made me feel. I touched my skin gently as the train swayed back and forth, the texture rough to the tips of my fingers.
It was then I realized how much I didn’t care. But that I did want to turn it around and make something through this time of mine. The Red Era. Maybe that’s what it’ll be called. Whatever this time of mine is, I won’t let anyone take away my joy at just living, breathing, and being alive. Here, now, and in my skin.
Recently, I’ve been working with a team to create photography pieces in-studio. It is all-in-all a wonderful experience, though it can be conflicting. In the past, I had predominantly done Fine Art Photography, and lately it has been harder and harder to create within that realm. Almost as if I’m not quite ready for what that next step is. I am still preparing myself for what direction I want to go to. But I do know that I am starting to adore the sphere of fashion and beauty, and I am learning. Painfully so. I’ve spend so many hours staring at thousands of images in admiration, imagining the process of how it was completed, but only to have it like a skeleton in my brain, incomplete. I’ve been overwhelming myself with going over the processes, the possibilities. This dream, I’ve come to realize, has the capacity to destroy me. But when it doesn’t, I adore it. Creation is complex in that way, and in some respects contains elements of Stockholm syndrome. It takes you captive, gives you pain, but you stay. Perhaps that’s why I sometimes feel locked in, and unable to move.
In some ways, it’s a wonderful thing, to love something so much, that even when it hurts you, you choose not to leave. I’d like to think that that’s how you know when it’s real.
But admittedly I am fearful. I’m afraid of showing exactly how this field of mine controls me emotionally, and how it makes me feel. Its gut-retching to see everyone try to present themselves so confidently, whereas I quiver, so prone to honesty. When all I wanted was to just make beautiful things, and to not have to feel like I had to succeed online, have a stance, have a following. Popular on this social media, that social media, until it chokes you. It’s just so saturated that it’s painful.
But I hope that one day it can all come together and be beautiful. That even with all this excess, we can merge together and make sense of this all together. Can you imagine what a murmuration looks like? An enormous, overwhelmingly breathtaking flock of starling birds flying together in unison. Once you see it from afar, it makes sense and it’s awe inspiring. I hope that that’s what we look like as well, once you step away far enough. A flock of creatives, doing what they can, flying and soaring. Doing what they naturally do, with the by-product being beauty.
© Reylia Slaby
Fine Art Photography