#1,000: like my hands had been cut off

Posted on 25.08.2014


When I think about which sense I’d be most unhappy to lose, I always end with my hands and my sense of feeling. I do SO MUCH with my hands, and they are literally a way of life for me. The first time I thought about this, I was still in art school, up all night with a drawing final (so it must have been freshman year, since I dropped drawing for computers my sophomore year). I was past the point of tired, and a friend and I were up late, working. The subject came up: ‘Which of the five senses would you most hate to lose?’. I jokingly said that I imagine ALL artists would answer ‘my hands’, and we both agreed that was the one we’d be most angry to go without, especially if it happened tomorrow.

Almost everything I do now, from teaching (writing notes for my students) to photography, sometimes drawing, to emailing… it all hinges on my hands. So when my computer died in January, it felt like my hands had been cut off. Gone were all of my passwords and to-do lists, my bookmarks, but most importantly, Photoshop was gone. I could no longer edit any of the photos I’d taken, or post them online (I never post anything unedited, unless it’s from my cell phone). I couldn’t update my résumé, or Skype with my students. Yes, I had my boyfriend’s computer, which was effectively the same as mine, but it didn’t have any of my programs on it. And he had a German version of Word, which made me want to kill things, even though I know it well enough.

We’ve got a book that I’ve been making, of every place we’ve been to together. I haven’t been able to print photos to go into it since January. It’s been kind of killing me, as I quantify in my head the sheer volume of photos I’ll have to sift through once it’s all back to normal.

one of the last *actual* photos I posted online, from my birthday in November.

one of the last *actual* photos I posted online, from my birthday in November.

It’s felt like I haven’t been myself for a while. And I know that’s been partially due to the fact that we’ve moved to a new country where we don’t speak the language, have been trying to break into our new jobs and get settled, and do normal things like furnishing our house, paying bills, etc. But the other part of it is that if I’m not shooting and editing photos, and keeping up with things online, I feel like I’m not living my life somehow.

I have 4 or 5 rolls of film that need to be edited. MONTHS of events to comb through, that I’m slowly pulling together. Thankfully when my computer died, everything was mostly backed up onto my XHD. But still, it was a loss. I’d had that laptop since the beginning of 2009, right before I left the states and got on with the rest of my life. And now here I am, in Tokyo, 5 years later, and I had to get a new computer at the same time as beginning this new chapter in my life. I think it’s a bit funny that my last computer effectively died as soon as I left everything that was familiar. Perfect timing?

I’ve been meaning to write about this for a while, and the irony in this post, #1,000, is that I’m typing it from my shiny NEW laptop. So the clock has started, and I’ve got about 5 years here before deciding to uproot everything and go somewhere else. Let’s look back on this in 5 years and see what’s new, shall we?

Posted in: life