A Letter To You

Dear Clark,

How are you doing? It’s been a long time since you and I actually talked but please know, first and foremost, that I speak about you all the time. I live in Albuquerque, New Mexico now. I am not sure if you know that. It’s amazing here. I was not so sure that when I made the decision to uproot myself and move here that it was the right decision. Sometimes I still doubt myself, wondering if rejecting all the safety and stability and steady income was worth it, but then I think about how miserable it was trying to fit myself into some capitalist ideal of happiness and how it was such a waste of time and so detrimental to my existence that I know I made the right choice. It’s not always easy, and some of the old, familiar anxiety and worry seeps in. Some of it is probably valid, I don’t really know how long I can keep this up and I worry about running out of money, but mostly, I just say fuck it to that nonsense and figure I’ll figure it out.

I found myself here in Albuquerque, Clark. It’s a feeling I can’t describe with much articulation yet. I find myself very angry at where I came from, the types of anxiety I had to navigate in our shared hometown. I try not to resent it, for you and I both know how amazing and important and special growing up in the Washington DC region was. We were blessed with a privilege to grow up in DC at the time we did. We may have missed the beginning, the primordial chemistry and biology, but I think we got very lucky roaming around Virginia and Maryland and the District when so much amazing music, history, politics and people were around. But I can’t help be upset how so much of that was taken away from us as our government grew and got more powerful and paranoid. I know, this seems strange to talk about, but I think about it a lot. So many things, bigger than myself, I realize had an external effect on me that I wasn’t aware of. I don’t want to get too philosophical with you, but there is a truth. Capitalism, power, privilege, these things effected me and my decision making and put me in a bad spot. I lost focus on what was important, despite your awesome philosophy that you shared with me so many years ago, and I got fucked up. I’m trying to fix that now.

Clark, I’ve been reckless while keeping the best intentions possible. I’ve been trying to love with abandonment of reason, to be open to the world and to have as much damn fun as possible. I am eternally lucky to have met some wonderful people here in Albuquerque who are young in years and free in spirit. I have to keep myself in check sometimes and hope that the life lessons I have inherited can provide some reasonable guidance that is full of truth and does not gloss over the evils that we are often faced with in this world. But I try to cherish everyday, sometimes I do that with too much intellect and academic reference and framing, but every breath I take now has a purpose. I want to live, not just for my life span, but forever. Life is so amazing, such a great gift that we are granted. Sadly, we give so much of it over to other people, for their goals and rewards that are at detriment to who we are. It’s total fucking madness my friend. It’s something I know you fight against, so please just consider me an ally, ready to confront all these ills that cause all this sadness. I know that with love, compassion, companionship and fun we can make this world in the image and beauty it thrives to be.

I think about Rebecca everyday as well. I feel guilt sometimes when I think about her. She so often gets lost in my story, in your story, when I tell them to the people who I meet. She is such a saint and goddess on this earth. Leaving Washington D.C. was already difficult enough to do last winter, but leaving Rebecca was especially hard. While I know that she and I will be bound together always in our hearts and souls, her companionship, friendship and love was so new and encouraging in my day-to-day life, that leaving that prematurely stings. Further, though I know she doesn’t feel this way, I can’t help but think that I serve as a small reminder that she is not able to hold you and kiss you and dance with you in her arms. We met in your absence, and I can’t forgive myself for that. But I still can not thank you enough for introducing us to each other. There are so many strong, amazing, beautiful and awesome women in my life and I am so glad that among them, Rebecca is one that I can include in my personal celebration of them all.

There are scars I carry. Some that I carry are important. Some of them still hurt and sting, but I am trying to forgive them. Some of them will never fade and I am resolved to be okay with that. Some of them came from fun despite the consequences, the manifestations of which I have to live with. They are the gradients pulled across my garden, the place where I still find solitude, strength, redemption and love. I plant the seeds, like you told me to do. They are of passions, adventure, compassion and beauty. I embrace my work with my arms, trying to be careful and tender. But I never forget that not all seeds grow, not all plants survive, no matter my effort and best intentions. I still maintain and believe that the most important part of this process is that you plant the seeds. I know that the ones that do grow are so beautiful, precious and fragile. From there, my excitement and appetite are nourished. It’s amazing. Your guidance brought me so much clarity and relief.

It is a very late or very early hour now. The alluring charm of sleep finally calls to me once more. I will put myself down to bed, head facing south and sleep with calm abiding. I love you, Clark. You might never know how much you gave to me and what it is you mean to me. I am not sure I will truly ever understand the impact you have on my life. Some things are far too profound for words and fools like me chase that through a maze of language. But know I keep you close to my heart and spirit. I celebrate you in every victory and stumble. Thank you.

Eternally, I plant the seed,

Erik Gamlem


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