The Parting Glass

As I plan out every detail of this upcoming documentary, I can’t help but reminisce about my first trip around the world.

There were moments, since the day I published my old Preventable website, where I could feel failure breathing down my neck. I wasn’t raising enough money. I was heartbroken from a sudden separation and divorce. My India visa almost fell through the cracks. I didn’t have formal training and felt like an imposter setting up at every location. The itinerary, no matter how meticulously planned, got interrupted. My computer kept crashing while editing. I wasn’t sure how I was going to have a life if I kept putting the documentary first.

So many tears, sacrifices, and grief that surrounded my first film.

But, then I remember how unbelievably held I felt during it all. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I could make it through all of those hurdles, let alone gain a tremendous family, while circumnavigating the globe. I had only met one of the interviewees in person before heading out. The rest were just willing strangers from the internet, opening their homes and hearts to the world, to me. We felt bonded through TSW, yet to have that connection in person was something else entirely different.

Recording their stories were a gift. To feel trusted enough in that position was beyond a blessing. That’s always something I’ve strived to be in these moments of vulnerability — a book of blank pages ready for every person to place their pen. No judgement, no hesitancy in manumitting their deepest fears or heaviest burdens. 

And once the red little button had stopped blinking, all of the equipment back in their traversing homes, the sharing continued. It wasn’t just a syphoning of more TSW talk or necessary engagement from muse to maker, but conversations that were bringing pieces of me back into existence. Beth blessed me with a gift that reinforced the innate knowledge of my ability to tackle any problem in my path. Kelly allowed me to laugh in ways I hadn’t allowed myself in quite some time. Janelle was the embodiment of mother earth and grounded me in a time of turbulence. And Melissa, my dear Melissa, tattooed our sisterhood on my soul.

It was really hard saying goodbye to them all (even the ones I have not mentioned). It was like opening a bag of crisps and being allowed to devour just one; delicious, but nowhere near enough. Goodbyes have never been a strongpoint for me. I’ve had to say them a lot, so you’d think I’d have mastered the art of a fond farewell. But my heart tethers to people and their unique draw. To encounter them in their briefness feels like being cheated.

However, as I was examining my thoughts around creating a second documentary, I was listening to Dermot Kennedy’s recent busking videos (avid fan). He would turn up to various cities around the world, including a place I had just left (rude), and after every short set, he’d end with this song called, “The Parting Glass.”

Of all the comrades that e’er I’ve had, they’re sorry for my going away;

and all the sweethearts that e’er I had, they’d wish me one more day to stay;

but since I fell into my lot, that I should rise and you should not;

I’ll gently rise and I’ll softly call goodnight and joy be with you all.

He would say that this Irish (well, arguably Scottish) song was about not being sad in saying goodbye. To hold on to the good moments. To be grateful it all happened instead of sad that it is all over. It was a lovely view to leave us with as he walked away.

This year, I will endeavor to hold this song’s sentiment close to my chest. I’ve been holding on to some beautiful moments with hints of sorrow because they are no longer around. But perhaps we should remember them in earnest gratitude rather than longing or lack. To be lucky enough to have encountered people, places, and things that are worth remembering.

I look forward to all the new relationships that will be molded as this documentary commences. I will inhale them all, creating “picture memories” that I can chisel into the framework of my mind, carrying their lessons and love with me forever.

Cheers to 2023. “Fill to me the parting glass…”

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