Day 2: Lost Love, The Peace of Morning and The Ocean
In this untitled mostly nonfiction series, Tiffany Hernandez, a 20-year old NYC writer and visual artist, explores the different ways the Blues presents itself in everyday life. Using vignette format, Tiffany writes on the struggles of relearning your native tongue, writing all you could about a lost love, a sisterhood and so much more. All visuals were created by Tiffany in attempts to come to terms with what "the Blues" mean to her.
There is emptiness that fills your stomach after you've written all that you could about a lost love. After every scar on your chest had a metaphor to match and every tear was a personified ocean, there comes silence. If you're like me, you'll still try to come to terms with old bruises with new words, again and again. In the end, it'll feel like someone else's work. I suppose it is — it is in these moments that you, as a writer, know that you are not longer trying to tell your story but the story of someone that use to inhabit this body of yours long ago. And when that happens, all you can do is stop digging. Stop picking up that shovel every night, stop going into the cemetery of your past selves and trying to resurrect someone who is no longer alive. Put an end to the picking of scabs and trying to write about the blood that flows. Don't poke the bruises anymore, let them fade. Throw out the god damn shovel. Go to the store, pick up a couple of seeds for flowers, herbs and vegetables. Learn how to care for morning glories, for basil and tomatoes. When your first flower buds, smell the way nature shows us there is always room of rebirth. And when your basil is mature and your tomatoes are plump, make a dish that fills your stomach with nutrients and gratitude. Let your hands do the healing. When you've put honey in your tea, read a good book and washed your hair — not all in one day, but allowed this routine of self-love to cultivate for weeks, then that's when you can write about how you're learning to accept the emptiness that fills your stomach after you've written all that you could about a lost love.
I love mornings. The delicate sunlight that fills the nooks and crannies of my kitchen feels inherently peaceful. Sometimes, I'll get up early enough to catch the dark navy blues of 4am turn into the cornflower blues of dawn that intertwine with the yellows of sunrise. I boil my tea water in a sauce pan. But, these are the moments I yearn most for a cutesy, vintage tea pot that will steam with excitement at the start of my day. Over my hibiscus tea and a morning bagel, I make mental notes to visit my local thrift store, drop off my box of old books and scavenge for a tea pot.
Nine in the morning allows for silence, for allowing the shores of my thinking to settle. It allows for meditation and journaling. And if silence doesn't occupy my space, melodies and rhythms do and they feels like velvet to the skin. And in the summer, my thighs stick together when I do morning downward-dogs to get the blood flowing and the mangos are deliciously ripe — never as good as picking them off Colombian trees, close but no cigar. I pull back the shades of my room and there's not a cloud in sight. All blue skies overhead. I sigh with relief.
My childhood was wiggling toes under wet sand, chasing after tides and testing the merciless nature of the ocean. I grew up on the south shore of Long Island and I often forget there are people who have never felt the way cold ocean water has no regard for human fear. The concept of icy ocean water becoming numbingly comfortable is foreign to some, but it was the way I first began to understand how resilient my body was.
After hours of play, I would escape the pull of tides for a short ice cream break. Once the sun licked every drop of salt water off my skin, I'd run back into the arms of the ocean and we'd embraced the way lovers do. When the sun began to set and we all became restless under the summer's heat, we would pack our things and climb our sandy behinds into my mother's car. With the windows peeled, my mother's summer blues controlling the radio dial, I shook the salt out of my hair.
When I get home, I am first in line for the shower. Under warmer tides, I stand still and allow the water to cascade from the crown of my head, down to my toes and through the shower drain. The grains of sand and salt slips through my hair, down my shoulders, over my developing chest, skimming my hips, escaping between my thighs and then wiggling between my toes.
This process is tedious, but cleansing. I know this, even at ten years old.
At the end of it, I am warm and steamed. My skin is smooth like melted butter and my curls spiral out of control. Every crevices and curve of my body has been anointed as holy.
Somehow, I still wish I could start the day all over again, starting with my head under that chilly, deep blue ocean.