Perspectives of People, Places, and Self: Boston Edition

Text by Mia Zarrella
Photos by Allison Nguyen


Perspective. In film, it’s regarded as point-of-view. In drawing, it relates to the creation of dimensions and distance. In life, it is our attitudes, outlook, and understanding. As humans gain experience, our perspective on people, places and concepts inevitably and perpetually changes. While some things in life come full circle, perspective does not. If the saying, “there’s more than meets the eye” is over said, it’s over said for a reason.

My experience in Boston I consider a microcosm for life. I was intimidated moving to the city from a small town in Rhode Island, and I romanticized what it would be like in Boston, fondly recalling family trips to the city when I was a child. My perspective was undeveloped because so was I. Today, nearly two years since moving here, I still grapple with the injustices and waste that overcome my path and I struggle to behave accordingly when harassed on the street. These daily conflicts gradually suffocated the idealism I once had of Boston. More crimes are committed than we can document and sirens are the soundtrack to our day. 

Yet, as the sun sets and the gray buildings transform to rose gold, and as people leave work and pour into cafes while daily wear gradually turns to formal wear, I am enlightened again of the beauty of the ever-changing city. I know that by 4 a.m. the chaotic, fume-filled streets will be engulfed with silence before resuming to their daily hustle. There is no one way to describe this place, aside from “indescribable,” of course.

Like this city, there’s more to people than we realize. We came here from different neighborhoods, different states, and different countries. Our initial views of Boston and of each other were undeveloped, so we were forced to learn, shedding our judgements to form a sure perspective. 

The people we thought we’d never associate with are now the people we associate with the most and the places we once thought of as dismal are now a beacon of light. That’s when we realize, we are changing too. Our sleepless nights show themselves in purple hues under our eyes, while the darkness that can shroud us and the happiness that enlivens us lives in the depths of our pupils. 

Our eyes, like all other senses, are the transmitters to our mind. Perception controls perspective, so we adjust our aperture. Like a camera, we must adjust our lens and zoom into a person to see what’s underneath because what’s on the surface is not all that is there. 

Who we were on our first day of college is not who we are today or who we will be when we graduate. And what we think we know about people at first glance is far from the reality. We are sponges, absorbing information and experiences, and then releasing those to make way for new knowledge and fresh experiences.  

An ever-changing perspective with no foreseeable inception: C’est la vie.