Yesterday, I spoke about the yellow concept coined by Albert Espinosa, an industrial engineer, writer, director and amongst all this creativity, a cancer survivor who lost one leg, a lung and part of his liver. Like I said, I believe I found one of my yellows and this would not have been made possible without what I am about to tell you.
I have been living in England for over 5 years, nearly two of which spent in London. And yet, I have lived in a bubble. I started my uni years this way, chose to stay in my room while the others were going to foam parties and dance clubs. Years went by and I made friends along the way but still, there was this bubble. I felt no restrictions at the time. It felt normal, lonely at times but didn’t I used to think I was a loner?
Last week, I did something way out of my comfort zone. And I mean.. way out. I was the architectural tour guide of a large group of French architects. And you see, this could have been very easy. I have lived in London for two years, surely I should know a lot about it. Not when you live in a bubble. No, the bubble contains you, it holds you prisoner and the worst part? You are there on your own initiative.
Did I know the History of London? No. Did I know the Tate Modern were building a gigantic new extension? No. Did I know what the buildings surrounding me were or did I ever express any interest whatsoever? No.
Apparently, this is normal behaviour in our society – my grandma said so although I know it was to comfort me. We spend years living in a place yet disregarding what it has to offer. We play tourist every now and again, then work swallows us whole. The stress is constant, the crowds are everywhere and we forget to look around us and at least feign interest.
As I am writing this, I am baffled at my own ignorance. This kind of negligence is only acceptable when you are a tumultuous teenager, or an uninterested child. Not when you are a growing adult. I will not dwell on the reasons why I was like this although it merits reflection. But one thing is certain, taking responsibility to guide a group gave me no choice but to burst the bubble.
Now, when I walk past a building, I know its history, I know the architect and I know a string of funny anecdotes. When I look at the National Theatre, I know what lies within, I know about its five-storey high drum revolve, and I see it rising and falling behind the concrete façade. When I ride the bus, or cross a bridge, or walk along the Thames, I notice and I smile. Because I know exactly where I am and exactly what surrounds me.
When I walk past Her Majesty’s Theatre, I hear echoes of The Phantom Of The Opera and for the first time since I landed in England in 2009, I feel like I belong. And that… that is my epiphany.