“And someone with strengths, for all the little things you make …” _ Wheat
Four years ago this morning, I woke up in a much worse place. Vastly worse. The day after a catastrophic election, one that I’d unknowingly been using to prop of the last of my fading hopes, it all started to unravel to the end.
Since then, I went to therapy to start fixing my brain, and to discover that I have a soul worth salvaging. I went to physical therapy, to start fixing my body, and discovered that it was no where near as broken down as I thought. It has done spectacular things for me since then. I went to marriage counseling, to start writing a good (enough) ending to that almost thirty year partnership. Those changes let me get a new job; so vastly better than my old job that they shouldn’t share a noun. I stopped making pots and started making paintings. Or drawings. Or tape collages. Or all of them, lovingly intermingled and not giving the slightest fuck what anyone else thinks of them, wants from them or expects, of me, through them. It was well nigh time that I made some art solely for myself, and unburdened by any of those practical constraints.
I fell in love, more than once, and fell back out again. More than once. The highs and lows of that, for the first time since teenagerdom, are still staggering. I knew I needed and wanted that, in the coldest, farthest reaches of my gravity-straining former orbit — so, so much. And, yet, but, also… it can be so many things that stopping at two seems laughable… I knew I needed and wanted that, and also :: be careful what you wish for.
I am doing that with all the grace and dignity and sincerity I can muster, because other people’s hearts are on the line. It simply cannot be done casually, or recklessly or without a full, open heart. Cannot. I clearly still have a lot to learn; and I also believe that I am learning, have been learning, getting better and closer. So much of that has to happen within me, first. So much of that is happening within me, now. There is an abundance waiting for me, out there, as I’d like to believe there is for all of us, if we don’t give up the quest to find it.
I reclaimed the territory of my mind that had been annexed to numbing distractions. I claimed my equal share of parenting and believe we are thriving in it. I rediscovered my ability to move my body in space, to sing and play, to dance a little in the pre-dawn dark, to hope.
Probably most importantly, I reclaimed my ability to hope.
“Hope is oxygen to someone suffocating on despair.” _ David Carr
There’s so much more I could say; so much more to say. With any luck, this is a reboot, after those years away. Also, just as likely, not. I’ve learned to go quiet(er) when chaos looms; there’s likely more chaos in store.
I haven’t looked at the election results yet. There might be simple, happy news. There’s likely none to bank on, yet. There might be — because there seems to be an infinite capacity for it, no abyss too deep for this American experiment to stumble into — more catastrophe, waiting to shock me, just a few clicks away. Waiting to shock all of us into yet another cycle of waiting and fearing and hoping and trying trying trying trying trying not to slip back into the dark.
I will never go back.
Four years ago this morning, I woke up in a much worse place. Vastly worse. My capacity for reinvention, reclamation, salvaging, restoring and healing still amazes me a little, almost every day. My gratitude for all the people and forces and circumstances that got me to here, including my Self, in unbounded. Especially for the people, none of whom had any obligation to help save me. You know who you are, and I love you all more than I’ll ever be able to type or paint or show.
“I don’t wanna look at anything else now that I saw you. I don’t wanna think of anything else now that I thought of you. Been waiting so long in a twenty year dark night. And now I see daylight. I only see daylight.” _ TS