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keep this close. (or, everything i felt and pictures too)

by jordan randall


For my Uncle Dave, The New York in me made me hard. The Jesus in you made me soft. Nobody loved like you, you were a saint. You’re finally where you belong.

Miss you.


nice to meet you.

i’m jordan, a photographer from upstate new york that goes to school in florida because he got sick of the cold. up until now, i’ve mostly existed by what i see. i take pictures of people, mostly. because there’s something that doesn’t get old about showing others the magic in people that they often don’t see in themselves. i love taking photos, but last year i came to the conclusion that i no longer wished to only exist by what i saw. i liked the idea of existing by what i felt. this is my way of combing the two. sight and heart.


all i really want to do, is sit down with you and listen to the sound your dreams make when spoken aloud.


growing up is freaking out. i wish there was a way to write your love letter to the world without also feeling like you’re ripping apart all of the letters you ever wrote home.


make pictures.


take the memories.


the painter. i don’t know why we struggle i don’t know why we feel things so intensely i don’t know why i’m always so confused and i don’t know why i remain tired. but i’m choosing to believe that we make sense at the end. that right now we can’t see most of the picture and at the end of it all, you and i both get to look back and go: “if only i knew what the painter was painting”


you can be exactly where you’re supposed to be and still miss home like nobody’s business.

stay.


wife-to-be. i will not find you perfect you will not find me spotless like the wrinkles in the spine of life’s big book we have been bent and broken but i will choose to open you up and read the remedy found inside your eyes every single morning.


one day. one day you will look up and it will all be different different doesn’t mean better different doesn’t mean worse different means different one day you will look up and it will all be different and you will be okay.


if they encourage you to burn your bridges the only bridge you need to burn is theirs.

healthy.


buried alive. i’m a hoarder of the mind. i keep all of my memories in a chest. i hold onto all the ones that make me feel too much, and get rid of all the rest.


love is patient. why don’t you take the time to walk the dark halls that dwell inside your home.

i’ll still be here.


two types of pain. there are two types of pain when someone leaves one is the feeling of a shattered broken heart and the other is more like the pain of a bone being snapped back into place necessary. but it hurts like hell.


when we’re together. i think that life is a lot. and i think that there are moments where you’ll want to hide, and others where all you’ll want is company. i think there will be times where you’ll be surprised, for better and for worse. there will be times where art will make you cry poignant tears of joy and others where it will make you feel a euphoric sense of freedom- of which some of us have not felt for a long, long time. there will be moments where a life will be in your hands, yes, a life will be physically in your hands. a pulse will be present and you will be questioning if anything else even mattered before this moment. there will be moments in the kitchen, moments on the couch, moments watching movies with friends. you won’t remember the movie. or maybe you will. you might not remember the faces in the room, but you’ll remember how you felt. some people will feel like home. others will feel like a prison. you don’t need those people. free them and free yourself. you’re going to meet new people, and you’re going to meet one person especially who makes you look for the soul in all the others. you’ll meet this one person who will affirm you of who are, and remind you of who you can be- who you absolutely have the potential to be. you’ll laugh until you have to pee. you’ll cry until their shoulder is soaked. it’s okay. this is life, and i think that life is a lot. but it’s not so bad when we’re together.


i haven’t seen you since highschool. i don’t know how it happened but it was like we all grew up got licenses and drove away from each other.


traveler’s insurance. let me leave room for oceans let me remember the mountains let me always make room for constant reminders of the grandness of the universe and the smallness of me.


busted. i want to know what haunts you maybe we can bust the ghosts together we can open up the closet door let all of your skeletons crawl out and watch them as they gasp for breath finally, they do not have it anymore it doesn’t belong in their lungs for we have taken it back.


when there was nothing to see


you made a sight out of me.


dear girl, maybe you’re worth it. about two years ago i wrote a letter to a friend i wouldn’t see again for months. it wasn’t romantic. she just made me feel a lot of things. i didn’t really know what it was at the time. they say most advice we give is just us talking to our younger selves. i think that’s what these words always were: a letter to myself in disguise. i’ve kept it mostly private up until this point. but now it belongs to you. keep it close.


dear girl, we barely spoke, but this is a letter to you. not a romantic one. i’ve written plenty of those in the past few years. let’s let this one be from the desk of a friend, an acquaintance, the dude who sat across from you for a few hours tonight, or maybe just another human. i don’t know you, we barely spoke. you’re the friend of one of my friends, who hadn’t seen each other since high school. you told the table what kind of music you listened to, and what kind of things you liked to see in your timeline. you gave us answers like you didn’t think anyone was listening. i came home wondering if it’s because no one ever has before. you say you do things for money. you say you do things and you don’t care. you do things because, why not? i can’t blame you. i do things because why not. i think we all do things because why not. except in actuality i think we know why not, and we choose to do them anyway. i think we drown out the why nots. we choose to turn our heads from the why nots, because the why nots are showing us things we’ve always perceived as fantasy. something we don’t think we can ever really attain. so, why not? because love. why not? because family. why not? because tomorrow. maybe you’re worth it, maybe that’s why not. i don’t know you, girl. in fact these days i’m beginning to think i don’t know much about myself. most of the time, i’m unwilling to trade what i should and willing to trade what i shouldn’t. i don’t care for the why nots. especially when the why nots are the only thing reminding me what’s true, what’s possible, or what i’m capable of. the why nots get in the way of my temporary pleasure.


so, why not? because there’s more for you and me, more for us than these aimless things you and i get ourselves caught up in... one of these days i’ll listen to the why nots. but for now, you and i are both struggling, as struggling is a major part of all our stories. ”hi, i’m jordan” i said. but you did not hear about my late nights. you did not see my tears. we barely spoke, but i know we have differences. a few months ago that would have drove me away. now i’m different. you’ve drawn me in and made me want to find the similarities. we had a good place to start, there’s a lot of similarities found in coffee shops. we all come trying to connect. whether it to the wi-fi or to each other, we’re all here. and that’s a start. i hope you find what you’re looking for, girl. and i hope you know you’re loved. i don’t know when someone listened to you last, or looked at you like you mattered, but i hope that happens for you soon. i hope you find people who talk about the why nots and i hope you find someone who listens until you’re finished talking. i hope you know you’re here for more than making money, girl. i hope you know you’re worth more than paper. really, I hope you find the use in friendship. i hope you find the use in keeping relationships. i hope you keep drinking coffee, you seemed to enjoy where we were tonight. i hope you keep coming back to the things you love, and i hope you have the courage to leave the things you don’t. i know this is a lot, but i’ve got a lot of hope for you, girl. i’ve got a lot of hope in general. i hope you find what you’re looking for. jordan


if the sun decides to go, follow her.


nostalgia is an ocean. soon all we’ll have will be the pictures and life itself will drip from the prints as they’ve been soaking in all of the things that we used to feel and like champagne that’s been building pressure for a hundred nights our feelings will make a mess we will spill it on our laps we will get it on our hands we will get it on each other’s faces — our hair will smell with the scent of who we used to be and what we used to feel and we will be overwhelmed we will laugh until we cry and we will cry until we heal like we always have and we will feel it all again i’m up to my neck in nostalgia, and no one taught me how to tread.


when i grow up.

i want to be at home not at war.


the truth. it is true that you will meet a plethora of significant people they will remodel your heart they will transform your thoughts they will bring light to dark places but it is important for you to know that you yourself will do these things for other people. and that there is power in telling yourself and truly believing that you bring significance to an already crowded room.


photosynthesis. when you're around it’s like the warm rays of the sun giving me energy. and when you talk to me it's like sitting in the pouring rain. except you love it. you absolutely love it. it's like you forget that clothes were ever meant to be worn dry. and i just want to swim in the long pauses you take in-between sentences i want to stay there until my fingers and toes get all prune-like and i have to take a break. and this place this place where i found you is the soil we find ourselves planted in. and these four feet will be our traveling pot within which we go straight into the unfamiliar. i don't know what's growing here but my God i am going to water it.


sos. i know most friendships

are not made

to last forever just as long as i can

make them last.


v important. if you think someone is kind of awesome i think you should tell them today. if you’re obsessed with their hair and the way they roll their eyes i think you should tell them today. if you think their laugh is everything and you want to hear it everyday i’m saying— if you want this person’s laugh to be your ringtone i think you should go ahead and tell them today. if you’ve been thinking of someone in every line and every word i think you should tell them today. i promise it absolutely can not wait until tomorrow.


i wonder what she looks like. if i’ve met you, i’m sorry it’s taking so long for us to stick. if i’ve met you, i’m sorry we don’t talk everyday. if i’ve met you, i hope i remember our beginning. and if i’ve met you, i made this for you. a reminder that i want this time back. though we’ll never have it, let it be known. i wanted this time back.


the spots on my clothes. we had a simple relationship she was my friend and i was hers. and whenever i would bump into her the best of her would spill out and splatter onto me and it would make the most magnificent stains.


two roads diverged in a wood, and they both lead to beautiful places.

decisions are hard.


to my younger self— i think there is something that you should know. just because you care about her doesn’t mean you’re in love. just because you both have chemistry doesn’t mean you’re in love. just because you miss her when she leaves doesn’t mean you’re in love. just because you’re better when she’s around doesn’t mean you’re in love. even if you cannot stop thinking about the future together it does not mean that you’re in love. none of this means that you were ever meant to be together. i think it’s important that you know that. but just the same, it does mean something, doesn’t it? and if you need to do something about it, then doggone it— you do something about it.


4ever. sometimes the person

who makes the most sense

isn’t the one you end up with. that’s okay.

because someone else

is going to make a whole different kind of sense someday.

and it will be a triumph.


no spoilers. the stories are real the fairytales are true you make it out in the end and love comes to you.


dear jordan. you are not always kind your words are not always so pretty

you are not always perfect and you are not

as forgiving as you’d like to think so please stop expecting this in every waking moment from everybody else we are all allowed to feel too much

to be out of character

or be more than one thing.


artwork


is hardwork


remember this. there is nothing you have done that disqualifies you from joy.


you still work. a broken vase can be restored we can get on our knees and we can gather the pieces though it will never look the same it is still capable of holding flowers.


plot twist. your life can go differently than you wanted it to go and it can still be good maybe it is not such a tragedy that we don’t get everything we want i like to believe that we don’t know everything in fact it actually helps me sleep.


sound it out. i will learn your emotional alphabet and i will pledge a lifetime of learning new ways to spell your name.


shook first i shook your hand and then you shook my core. i mean, you rattled me. we went from shaking hands to shaking tailfeather with Nelly at the party. i watched you shake the dirt from your hair when you came up from the water and i shook the towel so we didn’t drag the sand into the car. you shook the polaroids as they came out of the camera and i shook my head and laughed at the things you can make your eyes do in photos. we shook the flowers when we rolled around in them and they shook their fists at us when we imagined what they’d say. i remember i shook the letters when they smelled like you and i felt the dust from my past shake from my shoulders the night we stayed up talking. we shook our heads when people told us we didn’t make sense and you did that thing where you put your hand on my shaking leg because i was so nervous about the future. but all of the knowledge my professors had tried to shake into my head through college had less than zero relevance here. because soon you would be gone. and in your absence, i wasn’t ready for you to teach me an entirely new way to shake.


talk to me like they do in the movies but don’t just sound like you’re reading the script speak like you wrote the dang thing.


...


i’m confused. when did refugee become a dirty word? maybe around the same time that love stopped being our verb.


GOD IS NOT A REPUBLICAN OR A DEMOCRAT. GOD IS NOT A REPUBLICAN OR A DEMOCRAT. GOD IS NOT A REPUBLICAN OR A DEMOCRAT. GOD IS NOT A REPUBLICAN OR A DEMOCRAT. GOD IS NOT A REPUBLICAN OR A DEMOCRAT. GOD IS NOT A REPUBLICAN OR A DEMOCRAT. GOD IS NOT A REPUBLICAN OR A DEMOCRAT. GOD IS NOT A REPUBLICAN OR A DEMOCRAT. GOD IS NOT A REPUBLICAN OR A DEMOCRAT. GOD IS NOT A REPUBLICAN OR A DEMOCRAT. GOD IS NOT A REPUBLICAN OR A DEMOCRAT. GOD IS NOT A REPUBLICAN OR A DEMOCRAT. GOD IS NOT A REPUBLICAN OR A DEMOCRAT. GOD IS NOT A REPUBLICAN OR A DEMOCRAT. GOD IS NOT A REPUBLICAN OR A DEMOCRAT. GOD IS NOT A REPUBLICAN OR A DEMOCRAT. GOD IS NOT A REPUBLICAN OR A DEMOCRAT. GOD IS NOT A REPUBLICAN OR A DEMOCRAT. GOD IS NOT A REPUBLICAN OR A DEMOCRAT. GOD IS NOT A REPUBLICAN OR A DEMOCRAT. GOD IS NOT A REPUBLICAN OR A DEMOCRAT. GOD IS NOT A REPUBLICAN OR A DEMOCRAT. GOD IS NOT A REPUBLICAN OR A DEMOCRAT. GOD IS NOT A REPUBLICAN OR A DEMOCRAT. GOD IS NOT A REPUBLICAN OR A DEMOCRAT. GOD IS NOT A REPUBLICAN OR A DEMOCRAT. GOD IS NOT A REPUBLICAN OR A DEMOCRAT. GOD IS NOT A REPUBLICAN OR A DEMOCRAT. GOD IS NOT A REPUBLICAN OR A DEMOCRAT. GOD IS NOT A REPUBLICAN OR A DEMOCRAT. GOD IS NOT A REPUBLICAN OR A DEMOCRAT. GOD IS NOT A REPUBLICAN OR A DEMOCRAT. GOD IS NOT A REPUBLICAN OR A DEMOCRAT. GOD IS NOT A REPUBLICAN OR A DEMOCRAT. GOD IS NOT A REPUBLICAN OR A DEMOCRAT. GOD IS NOT A REPUBLICAN OR A DEMOCRAT. GOD IS NOT A REPUBLICAN OR A DEMOCRAT. GOD IS NOT A REPUBLICAN OR A DEMOCRAT. GOD IS NOT A REPUBLICAN OR A DEMOCRAT. GOD IS NOT A REPUBLICAN OR A DEMOCRAT.


tension. i wish going didn’t mean leaving i wish picking up didn’t mean putting down i wish having a country didn’t mean having politics because it’s a lot to carry and getting old is getting chilling feeling a lot is feeling overwhelming having friends is having disagreements falling in love is falling in pieces and picking them up time and time again is increasingly becoming everything to me.


everything i felt


and pictures too.


keep this close. (or, everything i felt and pictures too)  

Filled with writing and film photography captured over the course of the last two years, keep this close is a visual diary, filled with hope...

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