Maine— just being here stirs up some things. I guess there are qualities about a place that never really go away. You love parts of it, people in it, m e m o r i e s associated with it… but you can’t really bring yourself to admit you love all of it for all the heartaches, drawbacks, and things it lacks. But you ignore those faults anyway and surround yourself with people you love and good energy. That’s what being home is. I think that’s what contentment is. It’s not just a love for, but it is also forgiveness of, a past you cannot change.
–December 19th, 2016
This post is something entirely new for me– a concept, a photojournalistic experience of a place many of you will likely never get the chance to see in December (I wouldn’t blame you, it’s absolutely frigid… and Maine sort of sucks in the winter). Despite all those things, it is a place I still fondly refer to as ‘home’ located in a little town called Camden, smack dab in the middle of the coast of Maine.
After going home for a solid month, I thought I’d give a little glimpse through my own figurative and literal lens to the Maine experience. This post sort of details all of the little things I found so beautiful where I once saw nothing as a teenager and a kid. It’s so odd to realize how times can change. I won’t lie– I think about my life and the life that could have been there, all the time.
I hope you are able to feel the way I felt being home– a dreamlike state of being neither here nor there. I also hope that same part of you falls in love with the very people, places, and things that I did.
Maine is one of those places a person can only dream about and read books about and is occasionally featured in this fictional television show or that novel. There was hardly a person I passed on an everyday basis whose name I did not already know, and supermarket runs often meant an additional thirty minutes to complete on account of knowing far too many people to keep track of.
I’ll admit– the way I grew up was unconventional in comparison to most city dwellers and suburban kids I’ve met. I lived in a town with a whopping population of 3,000 people– sometimes there were more, oftentimes less. Winters were and still are endless (and unbelievably lonely), the locals are lovely, and cheeks are red. But for all that it lacks and all that it has, I am in a perpetual state of both loving and hating it, if that makes any sense?
Going home, I realized that nothing ever really changes. Just being back, you remember feelings that were hurt and pain that lasts. If you’ve ever seen the movie Click (starring Adam Sandler), the town is a bit like that… except you’re only allowed to press pause instead of rewind, fast forward, and slow-mo. Just because you go away, it doesn’t mean that past mistakes and old grudges stay that way too, and like everything in life, are bound to come full circle. I’ve realized there’s only so long you can run until everything really does come flooding back.
Sure I’ll admit that I’m as susceptible as anyone to succumbing to the negativity that once made up a large part of my life, but after leaving for a good chunk of time, I grew up… plain and simple, and realized there’s more to life. I want to get back to that point where I love my neighbor and my neighbor’s neighbor, and look forward to seeing the town where I grew up more than I dread my return home.
One thing that never really gets old are the days and nights spent cuddled inside, wrapped under a blanket or spent sipping on hot chocolate with a friend. Since it’s often far too cold to be outside during the winter months, people in Maine tend not to go out at all when the weather is too frigid. Warm fireplaces and Netflix are a much more appealing alternative to freezing your butt off and attempting to keep your fingers from getting frostbite…
That is, unless, you ski, or snowboard, or have taken up some other wintertime activity. With way too much free time and far too much snow, Mainers tend to pick up hobbies as they go. I still look back fondly on the ice skating, skiing, and snowboarding lessons I took as a kid and realize I was lucky to have had those opportunities. Now I can kick ass on the slopes and my only response is,”I’m from Maine.” Enough said.
If you couldn’t tell, I also can’t get enough of my friends. Being in Maine always feels like a bit of a dreamscape. I’ve have everything I need, right there. I’ve said it again and again and again– there are far too many beautiful people, places, and things that I once took for granted. Now that I’ve left them, I miss it all… especially when my thoughts fall north towards Maine’s direction.
Besides, how could one tire of the adventures, the untouched nature, the shenanigans, the smiles, or the people? I always say that being in Maine brings out the most natural human inside of everyone, and I stand by that statement to this day. Living is simple there. There are no pretenses or egos, everyone is just trying to get by. You’re forced to be smart, resourceful, and humble… and when you get your car stuck on the ice like I did, you get out and push with your own hands and feet.
It’s hard to replicate that attitude, that stubbornness, that resourcefulness anywhere else… no matter how hard you try.
And don’t even get me started on how beautiful the woods and wilderness are… you can hike a mountain or take a ride on a chairlift and wind up overlooking the sea. It’s the best of both worlds, and it makes you wonder why all your problems seemed so large anyway. As humans, we have a way of taking things for granted and destroying everything we touch.
Being in Maine makes you think differently about a lot of things, whether it’s the way you treat mother nature or how you think about what you eat. I always live the most consciously there, and it’s because there is always an influx of fresh thought and food and attitude. You learn to need not, want not. People aren’t competing for the same level of status as they would be in, say, DC. In the city, being an asshole is perfectly fine. In Maine, being an asshole just ensures that you will be alone for the rest of your life.
It really is funny… how I used to hate home so much. Now? I romanticize, yearn for, write about, and miss it to no end. It’s a strange disconnect from the person I used to be to the person I am today. When I’m there I can’t help but feel immeasurably grateful. It forces me to stand back and look at everything in retrospect. What a beautiful life I live… and what a beautiful world we take for granted.
♡ Questions for Y-O-U ♡
I’m curious to see whether you have the same fondness for the place you were raised as I do. Have you ever been to Maine? Also let me know what you thought of this post, as it’s something I’ve never really done before. The best way is to let me know in the comments below! 🙂