“Animals, people, body, game, art, and I”

Anna Lesiczka
23rd March 2023

“Animals, people, body, game, art, and I”

Although I had been terrified just thinking about it, I took a risk and googled myself. I found some archival information about exhibitions and, unfortunately, the texts I am writing for the Barefoot Journal. Now I am afraid that my family will google me and find out who I am.

People can find precise information about when I was born, where I live, and with whom. What surprised me was the information that my name’s day is here on the 9th of December, not on the 26th of July like in Poland. It seems like I do exist, but some people named the same as me seem to exist more. 

Talking with people has become more difficult lately, like standing against the wind that blows straight into your face. I googled my name to assure myself that I am not fading away.

I go for walks, drink coffee, and try to lose weight. Lately, I can’t consume any fiction because I am already too obsessed with one series. I wait patiently until the next season's release which is in two months. I am doing my best to not focus too much on the nonsense of it and I am doing well even though my fern died. And it has never happened to me before. I had never killed a plant. So I automatically put too much value into this small death and it made me very upset.

The cat was watching me when I was trying to save it, by cutting out the dry leaves and watering it with an enormous amount of water. I woke up and its condition was even worse, so I stayed in my room for the rest of the day.

On the night preceding my birthday, I had a dream about this fern. Although some of the leaves were dried exactly like in real life, the rest was resurrected. They grew very beautiful and shiny. I remember touching the soil underneath, it was very wet and fertile. It was a nice dream and despite having such a negative approach to birthdays, I had a nice day. Although I haven’t done what I planned before, which was to visit the seaside.

My birthday was also the first day of my period. If I wanted to follow my regular rules: I would just ignore it and go to the sea despite all the inconvenience I would experience during my three hours journey, without any food or toilet at the final destination. When I left the house after 8 am, the inner battle wasn’t resolved. I was eating cake and drinking coffee at the cafe around the corner and I still didn’t know if I should listen to my body or follow the master birthday plan of exploring the suburban wilderness. My train was leaving at 9:20 and I was sitting just next to the subway station. I left the cafe exactly in time to catch it, but I saw a bus approaching. I didn’t know where it was going but I rushed and jumped inside. It was an impulsive decision that saved my day.

Afterward, I thought I would succeed even if the day failed. I finally agreed with the message I’ve been receiving from my body, never being able to respond. It seems like a small thing, but I have struggled with it for too long.

A moment ago my friend called to wish me happy birthday and ask about my day. I spent two hours jumping from one bus to another without any purpose. She said that she has never done it and I was honestly a little surprised. Maybe it sounds like I live in a bubble thinking that people focus on the same activities as I do. But it’s not so true actually, anyway when I heard that she never went anywhere without a purpose I started thinking “how could she lose so much pleasure?” On the other hand, it’s just my kind of pleasure. Sincerely I’ve never done so many things most of the population finds best.

I’ve been practicing going somewhere without a purpose since I was allowed to leave the house without attendance. If you haven’t done it yet, try.

It shows me where I stand - nowhere. I only move. And why should I know where I am going to end up? It’s like taking part in a trailer of life. Different people join the journey, I don’t know who they are, whether they are dangerous or important. I observe them and slowly get attached, but later they leave so I stay only with the driver. I end up at the bus stop at the end of the city, lost. Therefore I have to try again - go a few steps back or wait for another bus. I don’t have much time to make a decision - leave all my fellow travellers or continue together.

When I was in high school I used to play a self-invented game. Instruction: you have to enter a subway and sit down. Later you choose one seat in front of you. Whenever a person sits on it, you tell yourself a story about them - everything you can imagine. You stop when they leave and you begin when another resits. You can go on and on for the whole day, traveling back and forth, from the beginning of the route till the end, from the end till the beginning.

I played it by myself on weekends until I shared it with my roommate and we started playing together. When our person left the train, we exchanged our stories until another one came. It was fascinating how similar they were. We were giving the same people the same names, the same professions and the same problems. It was more fun to play with somebody.

I finished my pointless journey when from a window, I spotted an open church. I entered and lit a candle. It was possible to write a prayer on a yellow piece of paper. I wanted to pray for myself because it was my day. I wrote in Polish because I didn’t want anybody to understand but later I regretted making everything always so exclusive. I translated it to English. After a moment I decided to write a Swedish version as well. I knew all the words I needed. I know that my Swedish slowly becomes better. I don’t listen to music in the subway anymore, I listen to other people's conversations. Sometimes I can even get the point. Every day I understand more. Although I am still afraid to say anything. I couldn’t get up from bed today because I decided that on my birthday I will order a cake in Swedish - I’ve been learning for five months already. But I couldn’t.

For this whole time, I was just waiting to go to the cinema. I was already sitting in the hall an hour before so I decided to call my grandma because she never knows how to call numbers with a foreign extension. In the beginning, I asked her if she knew what kind of festival was today. She said: “There is no festival today, it’s only your birthday”. She wished me everything best and said that she doesn’t want to know how old I am. Therefore I didn’t tell her, but when she repeated her concern, I said the number. Her reaction was hysterical - “No, no, no, kid, don’t tell me this, I can’t believe it, no, no it’s impossible”. She accused me that I am old and I am not even looking for a boyfriend while she already had two children when she was my age.

My whole family is very supportive of my education, and sometimes I feel guilty that I cheat them, so they believe that I can achieve something in the future. But I am honest, mostly talking about preparing myself for death and learning to abandon expectations. On the other hand, we are Christians and it’s indeed a very Christian approach. My grandma is the only one who goes to church every day and the only one who doesn’t mentally support me at all. Whenever I call her, she tells me to return to Poland. She wants me to have a proper Polish education, a proper Polish husband, and proper Polish children, the sooner the better. So today when she heard that I was in the cinema at 1 pm, she started criticizing my study program again asking what do I learn here, if I even learn anything. Normally I answer that I don’t learn anything so I am going to be poor and unsuccessful and she can already prepare herself for this occasion. But today I felt more honest to defend my life by telling her that actually it can be difficult. Maybe it seems like it’s easy because I don’t have exams, but I have to fight with myself every day. All the time I have to be prepared to start from scratch and revalue everything. I never leave my doubts, but I continue with work anyway. Nobody asks me to, I don’t do it for some kind of boss or income. I do it only because I need to, and still I don’t understand the needs and I don’t know where they are leading me.

“So what is it about?” - my grandma asked - “this whole education”. “About self-development I guess” - I answered - “like life in general maybe”. “I am so grateful that I was born in different times”- she said - “when the most important thing was marriage and people only wanted to catch a girl or a boy and have children as soon as possible, everything was easier”.

The film I watched was “The Fablemans”.  My friend asked me whether I would go to see it if I had any other choice. I had many other options but I was more than sure that this is the movie I need to watch today. When I was a kid I loved Steven Spielberg because he was a director. It was enough. And I knew that he is a director because he was so famous that everybody knew that. Also, “Jurassic Park” was a little bit of my favorite movie. So I wanted to be a female Steven Spielberg - famous, rich, and skilled. Being twelve I decided about my upcoming career as a movie director, precisely in Hollywood, so I started watching many movies. I had my own computer and nobody was controlling me, therefore most of them I watched much too young.  Maybe it destroyed my mind, or maybe it was something else (like parents in many other cases). I watched thousands of films (I know because I keep notes). It took me four years to find the one I love the most. It’s still the same movie - “Fanny and Alexander”.

Before I saw it, I had thought that “The Fablemans” could be like a mix between “Jurassic Park” and “Fanny and Alexander”. I was right, but it doesn’t mean that I loved it. It was okay and also I was a little touched and a little angry. It’s just something that seemed unfair. As Wikipedia says, Steven Spielberg is the most commercially successful director of all time. He fought for his dreams and won. He climbed to the top and in his old age, made a movie about pursuing the dream, which he eventually reached. It seems like a fairy tale life, with a moral that no matter how difficult life is, when you follow your heart, you can reach your destiny. So we watch the story of the successful one. But still, there are plenty of others who never get the opportunity to even get close to where he is.

I went to my previous house to pick up a package. I opened the door and the dog came. She was extremely happy seeing me. I won’t be able to find words to describe it. I’ve never experienced any creature’s happiness so strong. I couldn’t stand it at that moment and I still haven’t processed it. This situation made me question many things and I still can’t figure out what bothers me the most. Maybe something close to the fact that I always miss the ex-partners of my friends, and still remember their birthdays and favorite colors (even if I didn’t really like them).

At least in the last scene, the main character is criticized for placing cinema separately from art.