Sitting here on this breezy and cool fall afternoon, I’m overcome with a feeling of genuine hopelessness. A loss of sense of where I am and who I am becoming. I wonder what has gotten me to this point and suddenly I am overwhelmed in that I am no longer who I used to be. My life is no longer what has been. In just a few short months I have gone from a small town homebody to a college freshman with responsibilities. Both nerves and fears crawl up my spine as I sit here and let it all in. All I hear are doubts but strangely for the very first time since moving to Nashville, I can finally recognize my new place as my own. I am living in a foreign place, away from home, away from commonality, away from all that I’ve ever known to exist. Starting fresh, reinventing, relearning, reevaluating: all a part of this moment here and now. The pit in my stomach will not go away but somehow being her amidst these hopes and doubts I can find peace. Peace of who I am, who I will become, and where this road will lead.
After focusing on the theme of estrangement in Sebald, I decided to try and consider a time in which I felt this way. I had trouble considering at what point in time I truly felt disconnected from a place or family. I thought back to summer experiences and my freshmen year at Vanderbilt but still could not place a distinct memory. This past weekend while sitting outside Sarratt in the small courtyard, however, I became overwhelmed with emotion. This is the exact place in which I had my “Wow, I’m in college” revelation. Coming from a small all-girls Catholic school to a university thousands of miles away from home was a hard adjustment. The feelings of estrangement present in Sebald that I had felt in that very moment at this very spot I tried to capture in my image. My perspective is captured by the empty chair sitting at my table as the distance I felt from others and myself. More symbolically, the glares of light in the left corner can be representative of my hope for what’s to come and the foreign ambience of the courtyard emphasizes the strangeness of this new place. As Sebald is able to capture memories through place, this image is able to capture an array of emotions and thoughts all in one passing moment.