We talked at-length about quite a bit including the importance of knowing one's self. Soon after this shoot and interview the transition of a chapter's end and beginning started for Alfie. I imagine that his reading of his words and reflecting on this particular day and moment in his life will hold some pain and heartache. Because Alfie does strive to know himself and recognizes the forever changing complexities that happen in and around him, I also hope that it will hold a light for him as well. That this will serve as a marker to a season's end and a new beginning.
We don't grow without change. Sometimes it's not change that we invite but that comes to find us. In those moments of abrupt, life-shifting change, even if you know that you will eventually be okay... even if you know that you will find your feet and your joy... it still hurts. And do you know what? That's okay. Your pain is real and it matters.
During our conversation Alfie told me of a little ritual that he has that I found fascinating.
"I will pick up the Anne Frank diary and go to the specific date that I'm currently living. I've done this since middle school and I can tell you what she said on most any date. Whenever I have a moment that I need to process something I go to her diary and read what she wrote that day."
We're not alone. Its almost funny to think that we ever feel that way when you really look at the grand spectrum and length of human experience. Alfie often reflects back to the life of Anne Frank. Her recordings of the everyday, her joy and her pain show reflections. We have one another. We can hurt together. Sometimes that's all we need in the beginning of such change is to just be allowed to feel. To hurt. There's not an immediate fix and we just need to feel it.
We've all felt pain at some point or another and it's one of our easiest ways to truly empathize with everyone. We should reach out more freely for the hands around us. They understand.
Love Aimlessly, My Friends
What gets you out of bed everyday?
My natural instinct would be to say anxiety. Anxiety gets me out of bed everyday. The moment I wake up, I think that my mind had already subconsciously prepped my day and what I need to do. I go from 0-100. I don't ease into my day. I never have. I get up, get dressed and can usually get out of the house in no more than 20 minutes. I've generally prepped what I'll wear the night before, how I want my hair, all the things. I have a system, but the anxiety is still there.
I get in the car, and my ride to work that should take me around 30 min takes me 15-20. I then find myself sitting in a parking lot down the street waiting on the gate to open. haha. I've tried many things to slow myself down. It's something that I've actually been thinking a lot about lately. I even did things like this when I was younger. When I lived in Florida I would get up early and try to take a walk on the beach, grab coffee and breakfast and try to ease into my day, but for some reason the anxiety of not being able to accomplish so much within a day is always there.
That could be the reason that I did well in New York. Because I could take a little bit of time and get a lot done. I worked two full-time jobs and at most got maybe 4 hours of sleep, but I loved it because I always had something to do.
If I dig deeper into that anxiety, I would say that it's probably the fear of not being connected with people. Whenever I'm alone I get very anxious just from being alone. Since I've moved to Nashville, finding ways to still be active but do things by myself, even if it's something like going to Target and walking around. I don't necessarily talk to anyone but just being able to be around others and have my mind going as well.
To date, what is the greatest lesson you’ve learned?
There's a couple actually. Haha! Right now in my life, I think it's patience and striving to have an understanding of people's emotions and viewpoints.
Patience is something that is not easy or given to you naturally. That forms into patience of understanding people's viewpoints and emotions.
When I was alone for 5-6 years I was able to find myself and find out who I really was. The person that I am today compared to then is completely different. This journey that I've been on since I've moved here has been an interesting one, solely based on the fact of realizing that I'm no longer that person.
This is also a very simple but complicated question for me. In so many ways I think that I'm not there yet because I'm currently learning and going through the lessons of patience.
It's taken me almost the whole 3 years that I've been here to understand that I'm not who I was. That feels extremely vulnerable and scary. Having to take action of that is a whole other thing.
What is love?
Love is a pain... Haha! Love is happiness. Love is fear. ...For me at least. If I'm not scared then where is the love? Throughout my life I have always been scared in certain aspects, but love has always been a part of my life. It's always been there no matter what hardship. When I look at love and ask "What does it mean?" "What does love mean?" For me... it's human interaction. It's the touch of each other. It's knowing that I can go to someone that I care for deeply and talk about my fear. Talk about my insecurities and know that not only I but the other person will be okay. To me that is love because you are being open with one another and to yourself. You're vulnerable in that moment to give that to other. It's love because I have been so very fortunate to experience that.
I think that it's why I love to travel so much. I get to meet so many different people and show them who I am at that point in my life. To be true and have them be true with me. If I do leave Nashville I will have made so many great connections with people and I can honestly say that I love them. I think that most people are afraid of that kind of love. If I were to text you later on and say "Chris, I had a great experience today! Thank you! I love you!" You would see that differently than if I texted that to someone that I'd just met. The connection that you and I are building and have allows for that. There's also still the fear in those cases of wondering "Will he understand that that's not a sexual thing?" I still want to meet and love people though. I want to give them my heart and who I am. I want to be open with them because I know that that's what they want as well.
About Alfie : Alfie works at the Nashville-based clothing design studio of Elisabeth Suzann. He's headed the sewing team there since 2014, a job that he clearly has a passion for and which grows each day!
Lives in Nashville, TN
From Tucson, AZ