About eighteen months ago, I moved from the UK to Australia. After spending almost the entirety of my 20s in London, I felt lost as soon as I left the place. Our 20s are typically the years we spend looking for ourselves. London is where I went through that process. Along the way, my identity super-glued itself to where I lived; by the time I turned 30, I lost all flexibility: London became the only place I could feel uniquely myself. It was no surprise that my departure triggered a crisis of the self; suddenly, I felt porous, as if I could either morph into a different, unrecognisable person, or even disappear completely. During the early months, I did walk around as though I had actually evaporated–melted into air. To will myself back, I turned to my favourite works of art; books, records, paintings, and photographs. They became the most potent ways to connect with who I am.
“Tangled Up In Blue,” by Bob Dylan, is possibly my favourite ever song (it’s neck and neck with another; “The Golden Age of Aviation,” by The Lucksmiths). It’s a genius abstract narrative of a decaying relationship told with a blend of first and third person. From verse to verse, Dylan’s leaps of perspective–from his to his wife’s–remind me how important it is to nurture my elasticity; to stay in touch with who I am, but not to hold on to a fixed, unmovable idea of the self.