Christian Weber - Speak and Spell (2012)
"A fascination with Eastern spirituality led Weber to work on Speak and Spell, a series of photographs that examines human gesture.”
1. Suggesting Astonishment
3. Holding Fingers Open to Grasp a Weapon
4. Instruction by Silence
5. Beckoning to Bestow
6. Assuring Protection
A wonderful fact to reflect upon, that every human creature is constituted to be that profound secret and mystery to every other. —Charles Dickens
You know what I’ve noticed?
Whenever adults don’t have anything to say to me they talk about:
- How big my hair is and how I should/shouldn’t get a haircut.
- How I still don’t drive. Why. Why not. Give me a stupid lecture.
- My acne (which I really don’t have that much of). And what I should do to get rid of it.
- And who I like. Which, unfortunately, is no one lol.
Anything that people randomly bring up or ask you when they have nothing to say?
Shoutout to my Tumblr friends who have stuck it through for such a long time. Check out some responses from this post from 5 years ago! Relish in them!
I’m full to the brim with love
Today marked my 22nd year of life.
Like I said before, I usually don’t like my birthdays. But today — today was different. I had 20 of the most important people in my life over in my backyard. We shared a meal at sunset together on a long table with candles and flowers under stringed lights (and plenty of Florida heat) where we talked, laughed, and took a massive group selfie. We cleared everything out, set out a ton of blankets, and watched E.T. projected on a makeshift screen while eating popcorn, Reese’s Pieces, and M&Ms.
Truly, it was an unforgettable evening and absolutely nothing short of my dreams for today.
Unlike other birthdays, I showed myself love today. I invited who I wanted, not out of obligation or pity, but those who I wanted to be around. I chose all the party details, including the decoration and the film selection. I asked for help setting things up, and allowed people to help clean things up (because there was probably 100+ pieces of dishes that needed to be washed).
Above showing myself love, though, something else happened that I think was more important: I allowed myself to receive others’ love toward me, and I believed it to be true. That’s not the same as letting them do my dishes; it goes much further than that.
I believed people when they said they cared for me. I listened to their words and I accepted their cards with open arms. I didn’t try to justify their love as a formality, or as quasi-real because of the things I offered them. I let go of those things (to the best of my ability) and simply soaked in the the love that existed around me.
To see all those faces of all those people I cared for so much in one place, what a gift that was.
I am so content (which, by definition, literally means that I’m “in a state of peaceful happiness.”)
Q:Why don't you normally celebrate your birthday?
(Firstly, let me preface the response by saying that I usually end up doing one thing or another on my birthday, so it’s not like I stay locked up in my room all day whenever my birthday comes around. Whether it be because family members buy me a cake and sing happy birthday, or because I decide last minute to invite people over, I end up doing something. That said, those birthdays mostly involve activities I don’t necessarily enjoy — things like having a pool party with people I barely talk to, and going out to a loud restaurant, etc).
There’s a number a reasons why I don’t normally celebrate my birthday:
- It can be super awkward for guests. Let’s say I invite 15 people I know really well. Of those 15, however, only about 5 of them are friends with each another, and the rest maybe has talked to each other once or twice, or maybe it’s an old friend I invite and they’ve never seen anyone in that group. So people are left trying to make small talk with people they don’t really want to talk to in the first place.
- It never feels enjoyable. Whether it’s me planning a party at my house or going out to eat, I always feel either super anxious about making sure everything works out, or I feel bad for the one person that’s a super introvert, so I’m left talking to them all night instead of my other friends, or I’m at a large table in a restaurant and I barely get to talk to the person three seats away from me all night.
- I’m unnecessarily the center of attention at all times. People feel it the obligation to make sure I’m having the time of my life at every given moment. I get the intention, but what it comes off as is them having to say or do certain things, when all I want is to hang out and have fun and not really worry about the right stuff to say.
All of those minute reasons aside, there’s a bigger, all-encompassing reason as to why I don’t like celebrating my birthday: I don’t show myself enough love, (which translates into), I don’t think I’m worth the love.
That thought alone is a doozy in and of itself, but the gist of it is that I don’t (historically) think I’m worth people’s time, and because I don’t value myself, I’m left with people-pleasing those around me, and therefore I end up doing things because I want other people to feel comfortable and I want other people to feel loved and I want other people to put in the least amount of work possible toward me and my birthday because it’d be insane of me to ask anything more than that from them. Like, I’ll gladly receive the love, but I won’t ask for it, but if I don’t ask for it, it’s likely that most people aren’t mind-readers, so I end up not receiving (in a general sense, not in a gift sense) what I really want.
Not this year, though.
I’m having a sunset backyard dinner with the people that I specifically want to be there, followed by a viewing with blankets under the stars of a film I used to love as a kid (Spielberg’s E.T.) projected onto some makeshift screen. I’m going to be as laid back as I can with planning, and I’ll try my best to say and do what I really want to do on that day.
I’m feeling really good about this one.
Things are a-changing
I’m actually celebrating my birthday this year. (Willingly!) And, I’ve made public my birthdate on Facebook, which sounds silly, but the action holds significance to me.
"Are you lonely?"
"It’s been a lifetime of loneliness. I decided early on that I better get used to it. I go to movies by myself. If the movie theater is completely empty, I’m even happier. I learned early on that if I wanted to go to restaurants, I better learn to go by myself. One benefit to being big is that people don’t bother you. I’m shocked that you came up to me. Nobody’s ever done that. When I started to go to therapy, it took me several sessions before I even spoke a word. I’d just sit there and cry. And honestly, you caught me on a tough day. I was sitting here feeling really bad about myself. Because I went to the doctor today, and I was sure that I’d lost weight. But I’d gained some."
The more I talk to people and observe the world around me, the more I realize just how universal these feelings of loneliness, of worthlessness, of longing — to whatever the degree — actually are.