Finding Beauty and Calm in Night

I’m typing from my brand new macbook pro right now and I must say, each and every type on the keyboard is new and exhilarating. I spent a shit ton of money on this reality crippling device, maximized on the customizable options to make it the fastest bestest highest performing 15″ macbook pro that ever existed. I splurged on a case, a smart wireless mouse, and a new router that lets you print and play from speakers wireless as well. Stunning.

Of course in an attempt to “migrate” data from my old to the new I realized the new macbook doesn’t have the same firewire input as the old. So typical that Apple would make you go out of your way to purchase this that and the other extra device to do what you want it to do and still feel mildly good and proud about it. It was 9pm and I already had drank espresso with full intention of staying up and doing my stuff, stuff being blogging for the most part, but was completely distracted by the current useless state of my new macbook. Angel reminded me that the Apple store in midtown is open 24/365 (literally stated as their store hours on the website) so onwards we went. I was appalled by how many people were in there minioning away like glorified zombies in front of rows upon rows of computers, gadgets, prized and priceless tschockes of the electronic netherworlds. Them helpers in blue shirts swiftly guided me to the USB cords and we were in and out of that place in 10 minutes.

Then I remembered, I’m in midtown. When the HELL do I ever go to midtown? And look, there’s Central Park! We walked past the giant circular fountain, crossed the street that stank of horse shit, quickly admired Ryan Gander‘s Public Art Funded installation of a column broken and shattered, as if it were remains of a tragic earthquake (or the remains of a fallen society), and entered the park that could potentially rape us both at this time of night.

I discovered the beauty and calm of night FOR THE FIRST TIME IN MY LIFE. It was one pure mindfuck of an experience, one that slowly seeped into my visual membranes and affected my internal organs with a most soothing sensation, the same way pepto bismol makes your belly ache go away. The way light and shadow played its game with the trees, the street lamps, the clouds, the sky, the raccoons, the bridges, the architecture and the ground made for quite an unexpected adventure. These pictures will attest to how artificial lighting from lamp posts and traffic lights made way for a stage in which every living and nonliving object was subject to display and unintended performance.

Put in the corniest way possible, it was as if I was SEEING for the first time. Everywhere I turned I was fascinated by how and why things looked the way they looked and they moved the way they did and they were shaped the way they were. The clouds were friendly, thin and sheer, a light fall blanket idling past the moon and stars. The darkness flattened the proximity between our earthly atmospheric layers and outer space and also livened up the leaves dangling from the hundreds of trees into patterned silhouettes stamping themselves into the sky. What was trippiest of all was how these elements of sky, clouds, tree, and moon moved and my vision and perspective was being affected by my walking. I experienced it as if I were standing still and the trees and sky were moving towards and away from me simultaneously. At one point Angel and I just stood still and looked up and I was filled with the most comforting feeling, an affirmation of sorts that all was ok, that darkness was harmless and has the ability to hug you to sweet serenity. I was basically high but not high at all.

One thing I’ll need to explain is my bizarre obsession to control the uncontrollable, specifically that of nature; weather, the sun, and its subsequent lack thereof. I am warning you now, this will sound kind of insane.

As a side effect of having panic disorder, which I have, and for those who are not familiar, a panic disorder is like having panic or anxiety attacks, which everyone has felt at one point or another during a particularly nervous breakdown prone time of their life, but it’s a disorder when the panic attack itself becomes its own autonomous monster and is manifested in myriad forms and what results is the fear and anticipation of an attack happening at the moment you imagine it would manifest. Having grown up and struggled with a will for freedom, escape, and a most surreal experience of stuckness, and helplessness, my panic disorder comes in the form of claustrophobia. It doesn’t only kick in when subject to small enclosed spaces such as elevators and unacquainted locked bathrooms and subways (all of which I hate and avoid as much as possible), it shows its strongest as an obsessive thought that cannot be let go of, released, or shrugged away brought about by my need to control the uncontrollable.

For those who know me, you know how much I hate clouds and storms and rain. The clouds loom over me and the rain suffocates me with its downfall. Storms, hurricanes, tornadoes are all in it to kill me and make me explode from the inside out. It makes me go crazy and I’m assured at every turn I will die from suffocating within my own brain. An actual panic attack is the worst feeling in the entire world and it’s even worse when it happens to you every single fucking day. Nighttime, or more specifically, sunset, that transitional point from light to darkness, is the most heinous time of day for me. The fact that the wondrous and most holy form of life, the sun, is going to go down to leave me with darkness for 12 hours saddens me to the point of madness. I know what your thinking: “omg Joann is insane. The sun comes up every day and the sun goes down every night, wtf is wrong with you?”

I know. Believe me. I know. But what can I say? It’s claustrophobia at its weirdest. I get claustrophobic thinking about the night, how suffocating the blackness is and how I have to wait how many more hours till the sun comes up again. It’s a fucked up cycle of emotions and thoughts and I’ve gone through many processes of healing and coping. Obviously the grunt of the work towards sourcing and curing the illness is not directed at the sun and clouds. My ridiculous fears and obsessions all come from deeper issues and fears faced from childhood, relationships, and other elements of life experienced. I won’t get too much into that because it’s personal and I don’t need to be that personal, as if this isn’t personal enough.

So anyhow I detest the darkness, I detest the night, I detest its thick and suffocating ways.

Until tonight.

For the first time in my entire life I met with darkness as a friend, one who comforts and finds alternative paths toward expression, presentation, and being. Nightlife is a completely different entity from that of day. The trees, the sky, the lamps, the sidewalk, the clouds, the raccoon, the buildings, the skyline, the plants and rocks, and the people strolling along all looked different to me. They all looked new to me. The darkness brought about a whole different side to life and I realized how beautiful it can be to be blanketed by the night, snuggling under its covers and tearing away the stress, one layer at a time. I mean, look at these pictures. I’m really proud of them. Each object gave off its own special quality under what lighting was made available. Our drive back to Brooklyn down 5th ave was awe inspiring as well with all its artificial lighting and signage; Julian Moore posing naked with some baby tigers for Bvalgari or whatever it’s called, the window displays of many other high end boutiques drilling you with their come hither lurings, the bazillion windows piled atop another both empty and warm, the empire state building (which doesn’t actually look that tall when you’re directly in front of it), and the people all dressed in bedazzled clothing showing off well to do ness.

It was an enchanting night and reflecting back on it the day after I was met with a relative lightness and neutral contentment which is rarely the case.



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4 responses to “Finding Beauty and Calm in Night

  1. I am smiling now too, I’m glad the night loves you :), I love the night 🙂

  2. Beautiful, Joann. Thank you.

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