Suburbs are quiet, the noise is less deliberate, and the stars are dull like sawdust. They don't try to capture your attention.
We try to see our town objectively, but we get addicted to the outside. And the further we get, the prettier our small town becomes. All the restriction, all the lifelessness is lost in contemplation. When we are outsiders finally saying goodbye, we can see its full vivacity. Like Dorothy waving goodbye to Emerald City.
Every street curves into a cul-de-sac like an infinite smirk. The yellow warmth of our small town melts the sweaters off of our backs before 12pm and even when it’s raining, the persistent sun creates the sensation of being in a lukewarm shower. From rooftops, we watch ephemeral skies blush softly as if from a compliment. The drugs in our systems accompany the muted colors to create a concoction that makes us feel like we're drowning. Drowning in mediocrity and underwhelming sunsets.
I once heard a story about a boy’s father who got drunk and started drowning in his own pool because he thought the floor was the surface. That's what suburbia feels like. We are gently drowning and nothing is even trying to overtake us.
We suppress the suffocating nothingness with a search for our eternal youth. We screw up on purpose because “we hear our mediocrities over-praised" (Adrienne Rich). So we strive for more, we strive for less, we boast about our inadequacies. We are fragmented versions of ourselves.
Sometimes we find infinity. Our minds dazed, dreaming of elsewhere, we capture small moments with polaroids and disposable cameras and 35mm film. We get stick-n-pokes for the heck of it. We escape monotony at night, driving through the vacant city, ignoring “No Trespassing” signs, blatantly disregarding curfew. We smell like weed sometimes (we do things to fill voids we don’t know we have).
Our leather jackets peeling, our converse faded, white strings hanging freely from the bottom of our freshly cut jeans, we rummage through our parents’ old clothes and photos of them in their youth. We immerse ourselves in who they were and desperately try to emulate it.
The past lives vicariously through us. Soon our time in the suburbs will be a part of the past too. Every day the distance between us and our hometown grows. We are softly slipping away like the colors of a mediocre sunset. ✉
article by: victoria barrios
models: stranger, heeeun chung, mia amendariz, jake marlow