Interview by Ruby Bisson.
“Sometimes you’re 23 and standing in the kitchen of your house making breakfast and brewing coffee and listening to music that for some reason is really getting to your heart. You’re just standing there thinking about going to work and picking up your dry cleaning. And also more exciting things like books you’re reading and trips you plan on taking and relationships that are springing into existence. Or fading from your memory, which is far less exciting. And suddenly you just don’t feel at home in your skin or in your house and you just want home but “Mom’s” probably wouldn’t feel like home anymore either. There used to be the comfort of a number in your phone and ears that listened every day and arms that were never for anyone else. But just to calm you down when you started feeling trapped in a five-minute period where nostalgia is too much and thoughts of this person you are feel foreign. When you realize that you’ll never be this young again but this is the first time you’ve ever been this old. When you can’t remember how you got from sixteen to here and all the same feel like sixteen is just as much of a stranger to you now. The song is over. The coffee’s done. You’re going to breath in and out. You’re going to be fine in about five minutes.”
Kalyn RoseAnne first captured my heart when she uploaded this very apt morsel on her blog a little while ago. Kalyn is a writer from North Carolina who has published her collection of poems and essays entitled, High Wire Darlings.
Since reading and re- reading and re- reading the above post, I’ve wanted to know the girl behind the blog, the person behind a collection of poems that seemed to speak directly to me. Kalyn joins us today, writing in response to a series of prompts about the big picture things— passion, really living, and childhood.
Here is the first half of the interview, sit down with a cup of tea and enjoy! We will be posting part two, along with a new poem of Kalyn’s, over the course of the week.
On something I feel passionate about|
The first thing that came into my thoughts was people, and everything that followed somehow related back to them as well. Except dogs, really, which I am also very passionate about.
I remember learning the word “misanthrope” in high school and convincing myself that I identified with it because it was just so beautiful. During this time of my life, I also might have been writing “the world is f***** up” on my converses. I wanted to hold onto this very dark worldview, and while I can’t exactly argue with my teenage sentiments the only thing I was building them on was, essentially, based on compassion for other people. People who were lonely, kids who didn’t have parents that treated them right, the homeless amongst us, the broken-hearted, corrupt governments and their victims. It’s a weird catch 22, I guess, because these people I felt/feel so heavy for are usually in these positions because of other people. Even if “other people” is themselves. Because of this, I wanted to be a misanthrope, but compassion spoke louder for me.
People have always been what I cared about the most. In wanting to be a writer, I used to question if I was making a selfish choice and just doing what I wanted instead of something that was going to be of benefit to others. When I started receiving messages about my writing helping people feel less alone, get through a hard time, find comfort, it was honestly the best gift. To learn that what I loved doing and felt compelled to do was actually something that was helpful to people in that way…it blew my mind. It sealed the deal for me.
On the difference between living and existing|
This has been on my mind a lot this summer. I feel like it’s a subtle difference when you are on the “existing” end of the spectrum, but it becomes very stark when you feel like you’re really living. But what is that, you know? “Living?”
I was camping on an island with a friend a few weeks ago, and the first night we were there we walked out onto the beach after dark. The landscape was so vast and seemingly empty. It was a moonless night and we could hardly differentiate between the waves, the sand, the sky, the dunes etc. The wind was so fierce and constant that you could lean into it without falling. I could go on and on about that night and the feelings within it, but what I am getting at is that we both agreed that we felt really alive in that moment. And I just started thinking, “Then what in the world are we doing with our lives the rest of the time?” Sometimes I think that we get so caught up in daily life we forget what it means to really live. It’s just one “have-to” after another and it gets exhausting. But I’m learning that we don’t all have to leave our current lives and go off on existential adventures to feel fully alive. (Though, that sounds kind of ideal.) I feel like it’s much more to do with how we live each day with the time that we’re given. We have a choice to be awake, to live deliberately, to be wide-eyed to the world around us. And it’s hard. I can’t say that this is the way I live all the time, but I believe it’s better than just floating through letting life happen to us like we don’t have any say. We do. And I think that to live we must fill our days, to the best of our abilities, with things that move us or interest us or just make us feel something other than indifference, and we have to consciously choose it.
On what I would tell 12-year-old me|
Let me try and neatly condense some of this without rambling on.
One, I would tell myself that things probably won’t look much like I would be envisioning at that age. Not who I am, and not what my life looks like. My ideas about most everything are going to change drastically and I shouldn’t fight it or be scared of it. It’s perfectly alright; Something to embrace.
Two, I’d want to say something that would hopefully get my 12-year-old self to be completely…herself. Without fear of how other people will respond. I spent so many years being painfully shy and concerned with other people’s opinion of me. Cliché as it sounds, the right ones stay. So long as you are treating other people well, you should be yourself and be so unapologetically. That’s the most beautiful, freeing thing.
Lastly, kid, there is a certain sadness that you will feel all your life. It comes and goes, often without explanation. You will feel it alone and with boys and in rooms of people you love. There’s nothing wrong with it or with you. Own it. Don’t look for other people as the cause. Learn how to handle it yourself and understand that no one will ever be able to fix it for you. And no one should. To be able to be okay on your own? It’s important.
To hear more from Kalyn and learn about her publishing and art process (as well as a new poem!), check back here next Monday afternoon (Aussie time).
All photos by Kalyn Roseanne.
Ruby is a university student who is best known for her creative methods in avoiding class. She prefers to gallivant in forests and under waterfalls, attempt pottery and mixed media and read novels completely unrelated to her degree. She is loud and messy and contemplative and struggles to stay in one place for an extended period of time. You can usually figure out her location via her blog/ Instagram.