Prologue

Myriam Sitterson - Brazil


July 30, 2014

I believe that one of the greatest skills an artist possesses is his or her ability to make a flat surface look three-dimensional. It’s incredible, really.

Right now, my knowledge of the world is largely two-dimensional. A lot of the time, I feel ignorant, shut-off, naive. Like I’ve grown up inside a box. A box within a box within a box. I feel like I’ve lived my life within infinite boxes. And even beginning to open them has been a slow, hard, confusing process.

To be clear, it’s not about hating where I come from. I love Miami. I love the school I went to for thirteen years. I even love the weather. It’s not about my social group. I love my friends and family. I love most kids my age. It’s not that I’m discontent with what I have, that I feel existentially unsatisfied with my life thus far, or that I constantly ask “what if?”

But somewhere outside these boxes there is a whole universe with so much to it. I can’t stand the idea of not trying to get to know it, simply because trying is even a possibility. And I’m not just talking about the physical world. There’s a lot of thought to be explored too. And feeling. There is a universe for every dimension of being, and I want to explore all of them. But the physical world seems like a good place to start.

Imagine if you could speak every language. Think in every language. Imagine if you could drive through the streets of any town without thinking, the way you drive to school every morning. Imagine if you could connect with a 78-year-old woman from halfway around the world the way you connect with your best friend.

I’m not suggesting that any of this is possible. I’m not even sure I like the idea of it. I don’t want to fall in love with every city I visit or every person I meet. I know I won’t, and I’m ok with that. What I’m trying to say is that there is so much out there to be experienced. Maybe I’ll hate Brazil. Maybe I’ll love it. More likely, I’ll love some things and hate others and the rest of what I experience will fall on some spectrum. But I wonder how much that even matters.

I like to wonder. It’s one of my favorite pastimes. I could sit for hours just thinking. Sometimes I write things down. Mostly, though, I just take time thinking through a thought. I love it.

The problem is, sometimes I think so much that I forget to live. And then I panic. Because there’s nothing like feeling a part of this world, feeling like an active component of this strange, complex, amazing system of living and non-living things that no one really understands.

I have no expectations for this year. I do have goals, but they are simple. I want to grow. I want to learn. I want to live a little without thinking too much, and I want to think a little without doing too much. I want to give value to my notion of the world, to deepen the highlights and shadows I have already begun to place, to give meaning and depth to the incomplete universe constantly growing inside my mind.

But I’m also down to erase my drawing so hard that the eraser tears right through the paper. Or let other people draw their own pictures to cover my own. Or switch to painting. Or juggling. Or end up on the Moon.

That’s the thing about expectations.

Myriam Sitterson