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is for hope.
August is the worst month.
On the first day of August this year, my sadness at the beginning of the worst time of year collided with Taylor Swift’s song august going viral on every single platform imaginable.
August is my least favourite month. That’s the nicest way I can put it. August is cold. August is the overdrawn end of a miserable winter. August is when I give up on Year 12. August is when my grandfather dies. August is when my brother is in the hospital. August is when my grandfather dies.
Sorry to be dramatic. But I have developed strong feelings about August.
I felt bombarded by august because I found it funny that people were celebrating a sad song. august is about a girl who realises that the boy she loves only sees her as a summer fling because he already has a girlfriend.
Cancel plans just in case you’d call / And say, “Meet me behind the mall” / So much for summer love and saying “us” / Cause you weren’t mine to lose
I’ve always thought of august as a sad song.
Just before midnight on the first day of August, I saw yet another post about it: happy august to the people who live for the hope of it all.
And a tiny lightbulb flashed gold in my sad brain as I heard that bridge in a new way.
Wanting was enough / For me, it was enough / To live for the hope of it all / Cancel plans just in case you’d call
I had been focused on the bleakness of a love for a boy who doesn’t call.
The point is not the boy. The point is to live for the hope of it all.
Could I reimagine August into living for the hope of it all?
It was almost midnight. I’d lost the first day already.
I made up my mind quickly. I’d look for hope in each day of August.
And I’d photograph it.
My rules: 1. One photo per day, 2. Shot on instant film and 3. Following the idea of hope.
My guidelines: 1. Resist the urge to retake photos if they came out badly, 2. Find a new thing to photograph each day and 3. Taking multiple photos in a day is fine, but choose one which best fits the theme.
Instant film is fuelled by hope. I only have control over two things: where I point the camera and whether I twist the lens for a close up shot.
The rest is up to the universe. If I tried to photograph the same thing twice, it wouldn’t look the same.
I did a lot of thinking this August.
It turns out August comes back to the same thing that most of my writing comes back to.
Which is figuring out how to exist in a world after someone you love has left it.
If you’re lucky, sometimes you get to try and figure that out while they’re leaving.
Sometimes that’s worse.
But there’s no way to get over it. There’s no way to recapture what’s gone.
The only way out of grief is to go through.
I knew that already. Other people have said that already. But some lessons have to be learnt again and again until they sink in.
At one point I wondered if I was sticking to the theme, if maybe this was just a photo a day project.
But isn’t that the real essence of hope, I thought, to look for a good thing in the chaos of each individual day?
August is watching the Matildas. August is the eve of women’s football. August is eating ice-cream in Canberra. August is flying to another city to see a play. August is lying underneath cherry blossom trees.