I have always been a superstitious girl, looking for signs in everything: if I throw this crumpled paper and it lands in the garbage can it means I should stay. If I throw THIS crumpled paper and it lands in the garbage can it means I should go. I remember the day I decided to move to New York. It was July 3, 1999. It was a sunshiney day in Olympia and I was sitting on my futon in my upstairs bedroom, on the phone with my friend Nancy. I was having an existential crisis, and she was urging me to move to New York. Right then the house started shaking. It was a 5.8 earthquake. Unlike my usual wastebasket fortune telling, I got a very clear message from this moment. It was a moment in which I was simultaneously resisting a big change, discussing the very real and very big possibility of moving very far away, and the earth was trembling beneath me. I decided during that phone call/earthquake that I was moving. Six weeks later I was there.
Filled with all the 22-year old feelings that accompany leaving a boyfriend and a community and a very small cat, I cried a lot. I wrote a lot of terrible poetry. I drew terrible comics. I made terrible collages. One of the comics I made (which I could probably find right now and show you BUT THAT'S NOT THE POINT) was of a very sad girl (me) sitting at the window in her giant apartment building (I didn't live in a giant apartment building, but I felt like I did) with a teardrop on her face. Each frame zoomed in incrementally on the teardrop and then when you got close enough you realize that inside the teardrop is a whole planet, and when you zoom in further you see another apartment building and another girl and another teardrop. It was a melancholy mise en abîme situation that, as silly and self-indulgent as it was, stuck with me.
Ever since, I have appreciated the teardrop shape for its symbolic capacity to contain everything, a reminder about the smallness and the hugeness of this world, about the smallness and hugeness of my own sadness, about the smallness and hugeness of those moments when we can truly embrace both. That's why the teardrop.