When I was a sophomore in high school, I watched Gone with the Wind three times in a row, and cried myself stupid. The first time I heard The Cure’s Kiss Me Kiss Me Kiss Me, the summer after 7th grade, it was all I listened to. Back in the days when you had to rewind over and over to hear a song on repeat. I read Calvin and Hobbes obsessively, forgave him for his maudlin lapses. Art was the way I understood my feelings.
Music allowed me to reset. I still use it that way. I play guitar when I’m freaking out, and trouble falls away. That’s the thing about art, you get carried away with it; your experience becomes reflective and objective and human. You share. And you hurt.
I stall at the end of books. Run my hands over the binding. Remind myself to breathe. I’m stricken. No matter how many times I read The Little Prince, or watch High Noon, or think about Graveyard of the Fireflies. I’m reminded that I’m alive — tenuously, thrillingly alive. We’re elemental. Our bodies, our stories, our seeking. That we stumble after beauty is how we are saved.