“Downpour, did I make you proud?”

This is my favorite line from Jeremy Messersmith’s “Ghost”. To me, it evokes the feeling I get whenever I think about my current life situation. Every person I get close to is like a downpour, overwhelming me and irrevocably changing me in ways I often can’t understand until long after. And inevitably, I create new goals for myself coming out of that change in persona. Thus, when I assess my situation, I think back to the people that inspired that change in me, and wonder if they would be proud of where I am now.

Would my high school art teacher be proud of me for pursuing my dream of being an artist, and now working in video and photography? Would my college girlfriend be proud of the ways I’ve grown to enjoy letting myself be a little silly in public? Would my friend be proud of my willingness to be emotionally vulnerable in my writing?

I don’t do anything for someone’s approval or to prove a point, but rather, it’s the questions that come after that make me consider my own action. There are many people in my life that have changed me in ways that they’ll never know. The one that made me distrustful, the one that inspired riskiness, the one that made me rebellious, and the one that inspired me to think deeply. I wonder, if they knew the impact they had on me, what would they say? Would they be proud of who I’ve become since them?

I try to avoid getting too personal on this blog, but I’ve been mulling over this line for some time now.

People change us in many ways like a rainfall. They change us temporarily, like the rain on a concrete sidewalk, dry before the day is out, or like the soil that absorbs the water and takes it in to nourish and grow. But they also leave lasting marks over time, like the potholes and dips in the road, or like the great arches of the American southwest. Carving and smoothing until our shape is something not foreign, but new. The shapes we are imparted are indelible and malleable. We can undo the change if we catch it soon enough, but given time and intensity those changes become part of who we are.

Even people that I’m not close to change me sometimes, if the interaction is significant enough. The couple that I met hiking to a waterfall one morning, or the barista at a local cafe. It’s like these interactions prove that I don’t need to hide behind solitude in order to feel safe. I can be safe in community and with strangers as well, because most people are pretty cool. I’m quickly becoming a regular at a cafe down the road from my house simply because this one barista has started to recognize me and I find it really comforting and fun.

I don’t know what my takeaway is from this whole post, and I’m sure anyone reading it will feel the same. I just know that when it comes to music that sticks in my head, I’ve got to write about it, otherwise it just rattles around until it means nothing and I forget about it. In any case, take a listen and enjoy this song for me, okay?

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