Björk made me do it!

Image from Stonemilker music video
Image from Stonemilker music video

I accidentally bought a ticket to Iceland Airwaves 5-day music this October. OK, it wasn’t an accident so much as it was a crazy impulse induced by the news that Björk would be headlining. What I can’t decipher is whether it’s the kind of ‘crazy’ that is just plain stupid given my utter lack of resources, or if it’s more the kind of ‘crazy wisdom’, detached from conventional logic, that has preceded the other ‘miracles’ I’ve managed to pull off over the last few years – a few laps around the globe, keeping my house, my first photography exhibition – all improbable and against the odds but each made manifest seemingly by the very act of jumping in, boots and all.

What I’ve been struggling with in this instance though is that each of those previous ‘miracles’ (and make no mistake, this one is going to need a miracle too) had a weight to it, a mission that I pinned my soul-survival to. The trip to see the Northern Lights was about keeping a long-held promise to myself; keeping my house was about salvaging my own home from a broken one; and my exhibition was about claiming back my story which I’d allowed to become subsumed in another’s. All of them were about grief, healing, and proving that I was more than I thought I could be. The successive achievement of each catapulted me to a new horizon and a brave new frontier.

This time, I just really want to see Björk in Iceland!

That’s all well and good for someone who can afford to be so decadent but perhaps not so for the self-(under)-employed who struggles from month-to-month to pay the mortgage. I was so embarrassed by my impulsiveness that I didn’t tell anyone that I’d bought the ticket until perhaps a month later. The only exception was my friend Karina who’d just thrown in her job to go globetrotting. Her response? “Get me a ticket too!”, which I did gladly, contorting her enthusiasm into misshapen justification for myself.

But Karina’s situation is different: she has new grief, current hardship and some savings. This is her clearly marked time to cut loose, go adventuring and get lost in the hope of being found. Surely I’d already used up my allotment of that same goodwill. I’d made as much lemonade out of life’s lemons as was possible. I’d climbed every mountain, forged every stream, followed every rainbow, but at the end of it, it didn’t find myself amidst my dream.

In fact, in the year since my exhibition, the landscape has been a little more nightmarish. In particular, the untimely loss by suicide of my dear friends Ryan and Matty, unrelated but within mere weeks of each other. I haven’t written much about either because words have seemed too crude and usury to describe the profundity of their losses. When news of Ryan hit, it hit hard and bought my momentum to a grinding halt. Matty’s death made suicide feel epidemic with fears of contagion. I couldn’t find my feet, so crawled through time for a long while after. Any purchase gained was precarious and given to frequent slips back into dark, slippery places.

Everyone seemed to be moving on around me in new relationships, new opportunities, new homes, new adventures, new wealth and I just felt stuck without any of it. The friction of being stuck and thinking I shouldn’t be has only caused further pain and frustration.

And then one day, like a bolt out of the blue, I booked a ticket to a 5-day music festival in Iceland. It was a burst of hope, a surge of joy, a gust of inspiration… perhaps that is enough of a spark to ignite another miracle.

I guess we’re about to find out.



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