What does it mean to be joyful? James Pillion, Bellevue Hill
Text JAMES PILLION
Photography KATE PASCOE SQUIRES
What does it mean to be joyful? I came to find the answer deep in the darkness of despair and disappointment. A few years ago, I was holed up in a one-room apartment of a dreary high-rise of the Romanian capital. I had just finished shooting my first feature film and was desperately trying to keep it together as we began to find the story in the editing suite.
Far From Here was a modern love story, a bittersweet tale of sacrifice and unmet expectations that swallowed me whole for close to two years. In the process, I lost the lead actor — my co-writer and best friend — to our lead actress (and an eventual broken heart) and was slowly accepting the fact that my recent deportation from the United States was slowly destroying my relationship with my California sweetheart.
Yet for all the darkness that consumed me, I was surprised to find myself growing stronger, my negative mindset thawing with every passing day. By holding myself accountable, I processed my feelings and gradually grew bored with feeling sorry for myself.
As I began to unwind with the onset of winter, I came to acknowledge the fact that I had not grieved for the things that I’d lost. The next few months would go on record as the worst period of my life to date. I wallowed in my failures and chastised myself for the choices that led to my current predicament.
I hungered to start over, to build a future on the foundations of my mistakes and longed for genuine fulfilment and friendship. I wanted to connect with souls who had processed their own trauma and lived to laugh another day. Savouring the present, irrespective of future failures or the health of my bank balance, was the answer to my riddle. Surrounding myself with reasons to be grateful for the life I had, not some filtered mirage on social media.
In the pursuit of my own sanity, I stumbled upon the secret to a life well lived and started leaning into the profound pleasures of love and happiness.
James Pillion is a filmmaker who writes. His blog is a gentle reminder to find the joy in every day (with a good dose of humour) and his first book Putting Yourself First is due out later this year. Find James @jamespillion or online at http://www.jamespillion.com