Consider with Emmalyn Sullivan
1 Do you have any rituals?
1 I think my entire life is comprised of/constructed by little rituals, sun up to sundown. When I was younger I used to have a lot of physical manifestations of them, ex: picking little bouquets on long walks, but lately, it feels that they’re more about heart if that makes sense. I never show up anywhere empty-handed. If I have a meeting, or a gig, or am just seeing a friend, I always make sure I have a sweet treat, or something floral. For people in my life more permanently, I’m constantly collecting little nicknacks and gifts when I see things that remind me of them. One of the mantras I live my one life by is that I want to leave people off a little better than when I found them.
Even if it’s a smile and a favor for a stranger, or overtipping a waiter. So many people’s goals are monetary or marked/tracked with a timeline, and really, I just want to do good. I want to be a physical manifestation of the word. I want to seek the good out in the world and filter all the negatives through that compass. It hurts my heart that I have fences left un-mended, and I know that that’s just life, and I can only do better and move forward. However, the idea that the idea of me could bring someone, not just apathy or indifference, but the opposite of joy or goodness- that’s a feeling I have a hard time sitting with. Sort of parallel to that I value my solitude and the things that I accomplish within that space and I’m grateful to have a partner in life who understands this with reverence and to have friends that understand too, who fully assert and comprehend my love languages. A younger version of me would have been so much better off to know love languages: my own and those around me.
2 What fills your heart up?
2 The simple answer is love. The complex answer is also love. And I’m so blessed to be surrounded by it on all sides: romantic, and platonic, and familial, and just the way I interact with the world. Love bleeds into every corner of my life. In the veins and out through the pores. And it is work- to be open to love coming and going. Constant learning and unlearning and readapting. What fills my heart- if you cut me open, I would hope that you would find delicate light and soft petaled flowers. Not to over-romanticize…but it’s what I do best.
3 What does timelessness mean to you?
3 My maternal grandmother grew up as a poor immigrant from Holland, but she always accessorized. She had a pink armoire; I remember the childhood magic of sneaking into her room and opening it with my little sister- the pink tassels, the secret compartments. She was a collector: dime-store rings, and bracelets, and costume jewelry for when she went out dancing at night. Everything she inevitably archived was passed down to me, and what makes me speak to timelessness is that her pieces weave in and out of style. There are things I flaunted as a teenager and pieces I value more now. Her style was evolutionary and recycles itself; I get to keep her with me always this way. She’s a big reason for my love of trinkets and tokens- things I can walk by in my everyday life and get swept up in.
4 What is a meaningful keepsake you own?
4 I love curated little clusters. Here are lots of hidden keepsakes. I don’t have a hierarchy of keepsakes; things that mean more than others. I’ve played the desert island games and ‘what would you grab in a fire’ and I don’t know if it is the answer or the question, but some part of that is too big or finite for me to comprehend. I like to keep little heartbeats everywhere. If you open my silverware drawer, there’s a pocketknife a boyfriend gave me on my 26th birthday. My bookshelf is lined with bar napkins and pressed flowers, and Photo Booth strips, and concert tickets, and books that are gifts themselves. A handful of people have made the hall of fame of being tattooed onto my skin. I don’t know what exactly I’m scared of forgetting, but I have shoeboxes filled under my bed in my childhood home, organizes just so. People weave in and out of your life and I guess I have collected proof that they were ever there at all. Grateful for every little thing my hands have touched. I am better off for knowing everyone who has ever hurt me! Or loved me! Or both!
5 Describe a sound that makes you feel calm
5 I was so blessed to grow up right next to a body of water, so I don’t think I’m allowed to answer this question without saying the sound of high tide from my bed at midnight—a personalized lullaby (don’t worry, I gagged too). I do take a lot of comfort in music; I always have even before I understood why. When you’re able to find someone who can beautifully articulate knotted up feelings you’ve been working through, something really special happens. There are certain hooks and riffs that can bring me back to being 17, to the exact moment I finally felt seen and heard and less alone. I made a little playlist of songs that have had me dancing around in my underwear lately. Close and far away, songs that have turned a heavy heart light.