A Love Letter To The Stars

A Love Letter To The Stars

And their influence on humanity.

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From the second we first look up in the night sky, we are fascinated with the stars, with the moon, with every visible celestial body. It has always been this way, and will likely be this way until humanity is wiped out by an apocalyptic catastrophe. The night sky will remain, neutral, unwavering, and beautiful long after we are no more.

The youngest stars visible to us are millions of years older than we and will live for billions once we're gone.

Stars may be born, they may change in appearance, they may waver as they age, they may die before I do, but there will always be so many more to observe, and such a distance between us, that I may never be lucky enough to perceive these phenomena firsthand.

As a result, I must assume that stars are flawlessly ageless, that they have always and will always be all around us, watching us. I must assume that each one will forever have an impact and a place in our lives.

That my love for the stars will always remain and that it will go untested because of their perceived immortality.

Yet, there are nights, when the clouds overtake the sky, or when the light pollution builds too great, or when the weather combats our ability to be outside, that the stars feel as if they've abandoned us.

Sometimes these nights feel like a disaster as if our childhood security blanket has just been ripped away from us by a middle school bully who knows exactly how to tear us apart.

There are times when this lasts for a week or more at a time.

Times when we feel absolutely lost because we haven't seen the stars, because maybe we've forgotten what they look like. It feels like we've been ghosted by the only consistent lover we've ever known. It feels like desolation in its most intense form.

We run through the stages of grief. We always get caught up on denial, because there's so much evidence to suggest that the stars will never be gone, will never abandon us, will never disappear, will not be around.

And we are right, of course, but our minds disagree, our instincts could never be as powerful as the anxieties of being deserted are. So despite our animal brains telling our emotional human ones that they're wrong, we stop denying.

We again get caught up, this time on anger. Anger is the easiest stage of the grieving process, anyway, so much can keep us enraged if we choose to let it that we never have to process the underlying root of our anger: loss.

So instead we get angry at the weather, at those around us, at anything we can latch onto and be angry about until it consumes us.

We are right to be angry at the weather, though. The weather is usually the cause of the obstructions, of the clouds and fog and storms keeping us away from our heavenly lovers.

But our anger is misplaced because the weather is not a thing that can be controlled. We must keep the faith that all will return to still, calm, and clear.

Whether that clarity comes in bone-chilling temperatures, or in brain-melting ones, whether it's possible to comfortably enjoy the revelation of our lovers' bodies again, we must remember that true love always finds a way and that this is only a temporary obstacle between us.

So we finally extinguish our raging flame, and we take another step towards processing our loss.

We bargain, we beg any deity, any social construct, anything we can place faith in, that we are reunited. We promise to change so much about our individual selves, we claim we will make a change to humanity as a whole, if only we can rid the night sky of this shroud that coats it, of the shadows that obstruct our view.

We don't mean these things, we don't have the power to, but in these desperate moments, we really are willing to try everything we can to make them come true if it allows us reunion even for just one night.

But no matter how we beg, no matter how desperate we get or how much we offer up, the atmosphere of our planet continues to betray us. Bargaining is a leap of faith, and it has never been one that got positive results. Why should we have expected differently this time?

We float aimlessly along, buried deep into the fourth step of the grieving process: Depression. Not clinical depression, but situational. Depression caused by a deep longing, a deep hurt, an overwhelming of our emotional processes, until all that remains within our lives is pointlessness and numbness.

Sometimes, we get lucky, and we feel again, as we jump back into the anger that filled our days before, though never as intense, with much less passion behind it. We manage to survive, only by doing the bare minimum to keep ourselves alive.

We lose hope, we stop going outside at night, we stop searching for a glimpse, we rely solely on forecasts to tell us if it's worth it if there's an ounce of hope in the world that we'll be able to see what we need again.

We remain this way for what feels like an eternity, until one day, we've processed it all. We've confronted ourselves. We've realized we'll never see the night sky again, and we accept that.

It still hurts, daily, but we start to finally work through it.

But then they return, and we fall back in love. We're reminded why we need the stars. Why being without them made us go through so much pain. Every breath under them fills us with butterflies, every new star that pops out as the night carries on makes our bodies electric.

We remember our passions. We remember our feelings. We can navigate once more, we can feel a sense of purpose in our lives.

We play this game, dancing in and out of a deep infatuation with these glorious, inanimate beings, over and over again. And it hurts just as fresh every time. It hurts worse, even.

But the payoff, when we are finally reunited, is more than any person could ever dream. We suffer for our love, but it's a marvelous ache.

Love, without the ache of desolation and the fears of being lost, unappreciated, and abandoned to contrast it, loses so much of its power.

But love, in all of its forms, is worth feeling, no matter the cost.

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It's Time To Thank Your First Roommate

Not the horror story kind of roommate, but the one that was truly awesome.
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Nostalgic feelings have recently caused me to reflect back on my freshman year of college. No other year of my life has been filled with more ups and downs, and highs and lows, than freshman year. Throughout all of the madness, one factor remained constant: my roommate. It is time to thank her for everything. These are only a few of the many reasons to do so, and this goes for roommates everywhere.

You have been through all the college "firsts" together.

If you think about it, your roommate was there through all of your first college experiences. The first day of orientation, wishing you luck on the first days of classes, the first night out, etc. That is something that can never be changed. You will always look back and think, "I remember my first day of college with ____."

You were even each other's first real college friend.

You were even each other's first real college friend.

Months before move-in day, you were already planning out what freshman year would be like. Whether you previously knew each other, met on Facebook, or arranged to meet in person before making any decisions, you made your first real college friend during that process.

SEE ALSO: 18 Signs You're A Little Too Comfortable With Your Best Friends

The transition from high school to college is not easy, but somehow you made it out on the other side.

It is no secret that transitioning from high school to college is difficult. No matter how excited you were to get away from home, reality hit at some point. Although some people are better at adjusting than others, at the times when you were not, your roommate was there to listen. You helped each other out, and made it through together.

Late night talks were never more real.

Remember the first week when we stayed up talking until 2:00 a.m. every night? Late night talks will never be more real than they were freshman year. There was so much to plan for, figure out, and hope for. Your roommate talked, listened, laughed, and cried right there with you until one of you stopped responding because sleep took over.

You saw each other at your absolute lowest.

It was difficult being away from home. It hurt watching relationships end and losing touch with your hometown friends. It was stressful trying to get in the swing of college level classes. Despite all of the above, your roommate saw, listened, and strengthened you.

...but you also saw each other during your highest highs.

After seeing each other during the lows, seeing each other during the highs was such a great feeling. Getting involved on campus, making new friends, and succeeding in classes are only a few of the many ways you have watched each other grow.

There was so much time to bond before the stresses of college would later take over.

Freshman year was not "easy," but looking back on it, it was more manageable than you thought at the time. College only gets busier the more the years go on, which means less free time. Freshman year you went to lunch, dinner, the gym, class, events, and everything else possible together. You had the chance to be each other's go-to before it got tough.

No matter what, you always bounced back to being inseparable.

Phases of not talking or seeing each other because of business and stress would come and go. Even though you physically grew apart, you did not grow apart as friends. When one of you was in a funk, as soon as it was over, you bounced right back. You and your freshman roommate were inseparable.

The "remember that one time, freshman year..." stories never end.

Looking back on freshman year together is one of my favorite times. There are so many stories you have made, which at the time seemed so small, that bring the biggest laughs today. You will always have those stories to share together.

SEE ALSO: 15 Things You Say To Your Roommates Before Going Out

The unspoken rule that no matter how far apart you grow, you are always there for each other.

It is sad to look back and realize everything that has changed since your freshman year days. You started college with a clean slate, and all you really had was each other. Even though you went separate ways, there is an unspoken rule that you are still always there for each other.

Your old dorm room is now filled with two freshmen trying to make it through their first year. They will never know all the memories that you made in that room, and how it used to be your home. You can only hope that they will have the relationship you had together to reflect on in the years to come.


Cover Image Credit: Katie Ward

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21 Quotes From Twyla Tharp's 'The Creative Habit' That Will Fuel Your Artistic Self

Use your half-baked ideas for good!

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Twyla Tharp is a master dancer and choreographer. She's worked with the world's most prestigious artists to create works that will withstand the test of time. She published her book "The Creative Habit" as a viewing window for seeing into her creative process. Tharp offers both hard truths and gently encouraging words for both serious artists and everyday people just trying to expand their circle of knowledge about art. I compiled some quotations from the book that were profound, useful and to-the-point when it comes to examining artistic development.

1. "Creativity is not just for artists. It's for businesspeople looking for a new way to close a sale; it's for engineers trying to solve a problem; it's for parents who want their children to see the world in more than one way."

You get some creativity! YOU get some creativity! Everyone gets creativity!

2. "If art is the bridge between what you see in your mind and what the world sees, then skill is how you build that bridge."

3. "Everything that happens in my day is a transaction between the external world and my internal world. Everything is raw material. Everything is relevant. Everything is usable. Everything feeds into my creativity."

4. "In the end, there is no one ideal condition for creativity. What works for one person is useless for another. The only criterion is this: Make it easy on yourself. Find a working environment where the prospect of wrestling with your muse doesn't scare you, doesn't shut you down."

5. "Someone has done it before? Honey, it's all been done before. Nothing's really original. Not Homer or Shakespeare and certainly not you. Get over yourself."

Ouch. Toes stepped on.

6. "Metaphor is the lifeblood of all art, if it is not art itself. Metaphor is our vocabulary for connecting what we're experiencing to what we have experienced before."

"It's *literally* like this..."

7. "...get busy copying. Traveling the paths of greatness, even in someone else's footprints, is a vital means to acquiring skill."

Choose your muse wisely!

8. "You can't just dance or paint or write or sculpt. Those are just verbs. You need a tangible idea to get you going. The idea, however minuscule, is what turns the verb into a noun..."

9. "When you're in scratching mode, the tiniest microcell of an idea will get you going. Musicians know this because compositions rarely come to them whole and complete. They call their morsels of inspiration lines or riffs or hooks or licks. That's what they look for when they scratch for an idea."

You know you look crazy, but press on, baby ideas in hand!

10. "It doesn't matter if it's a book, magazine, newspaper, billboard, instruction manual, or cereal box -- reading generates ideas, because you're literally filling your head with ideas and letting your imagination filter them for something useful."

"Alexa, play the Reading Rainbow theme song."

11. "...there's a fine line between good planning and overplanning. You never want the planning to inhibit the natural evolution of your work."

Screw this global need for instant information. You gotta just let things run their course sometimes.

12. "Habitually creative people are, in E.B. white's phrase, 'prepared to be lucky.' You don't get lucky without preparation, and there's no sense in being prepared if you're not open to the possibility of a glorious accident. In creative endeavors luck is a skill."

Twyla Tharp is really just a more Type A version of Bob Ross.

13. "I know it's important to be prepared, but at the start of the process this type of perfectionism is more like procrastination. You've got to get in there and do."

14. "You're only kidding yourself if you put creativity before craft. Craft is where our best efforts begin. You should never worry that rote exercises aimed at developing skills will suffocate creativity."

15. "That's what the great ones do: They shelve the perfected skills for a while and concentrate on their imperfections."

16. "Without passion, all the skill in the world won't lift you above your craft. Without skill, all the passion in the world will leave you eager but floundering. combining the two is the essence of the creative life."

17. "My heroes are those who've prevailed over far greater losses than I've ever had to face."

18. "Part of the excitement of creativity is the headlong rush into action when we latch onto a new idea. Yet, in the excitement, we often forget to apply pressure to the idea, poke it, challenge it, push it around, see if it stands up. Without that challenge, you never know how far astray your assumptions may have taken you."

19. "...there's a lesson here about finding your groove. Yes, you can find it via a breakthrough in your craft. But you can also find it in other means -- in congenial material, in a perfect partner, in a favorite character or comfortable subject matter."

20. "A math professor at Williams College bases ten percent of his students' grades on failure. Mathematics is all about trying out new ideas -- new formulas, theorems, approaches -- and knowing that the vast majority of them will be dad ends. To encourage his students not to be afraid of testing their quirkiest ideas in public, he rewards rather than punishes them for coming up with wrong answers."

This approach would've been so helpful.

21. "I began as a dancer, and in those days of pain and shock I went back to where I started. Creating dance is the thing I know best. It is how I recognize myself. Even in the worst of times, such habits sustain, protect, and, in the most unlikely way, lift us up."

Take Twyla's knowledge and have fun exploring creativity in your personal life!

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