gratitude · honesty · joy · love · poetry · school · time

Cacophonous Joy

Yesterday, I finished my draft of my poetry thesis. It is
dark, and humorous, and sad, and scared, and thoughtful, and loving, and aimed
toward health. It represents a period in my life, which I’m glad to recognize
as not current, even though the feelings may arise as current.
This is a memoir of sorts. It chronicles a period of time
which, I see now, I do have a degree of distance from, in order to be able to
write about it so fully. I know too it leaves gaps and holes, but I don’t mind
– it’s show, don’t tell, right?
Yesterday, I sort of fell apart around 3pm, as I knew I
needed more time to edit it, little visual changes and some word sorting here
and there. But, I was also supposed to be at class from 4-6:30, and be at a
poetry reading/open mic at 5:30 – 9. How was I to be in so many places at once?
Well, I couldn’t. And the reality of that fell on me at
about 3pm. I made some phone calls; I was told that my main job right then was
to finish my thesis – perhaps you remember some of the craziness when I hadn’t
turned one in, and may not have been graduating in May? Yes, the thesis was my
main job – all other things were secondary.
I spoke briefly to a few friends, wrote emails of apology to
my class teacher and to the organizer of the open mic, and got back to work. I
was not to use the club of
self-flaggellation on myself, I was told. I was not to think that I’d done it
again and over-booked, and I’m a bad person, and here was this opportunity to
put my work out, and I’ve missed it.
I had one job. Thesis.
So, I left those internal critic voices at the door.
Strangely enough, when I did, something miraculous happened.
I finished my thesis. I sent it in multiple document formats
for maximum readability; I cc’d and bcc’d to ensure maximum accountability of
the documents. I sent it off. It was now out of my hands.
I called two friends, let them know that I had sent it, as
I’d told them 3 hours before that I would. And I felt relief. I felt relief as
though it were that cartoon image of someone getting hot, and the thermometer
level inside them fills up with red from the bottom all the way to the top and
bursts out their head. I felt swallowed with relief.
I told my friend, Now, I’m going to drink some water, make a
nice healthy meal, and watch a Disney movie. – That was going to be my celebration. She found that
hilarious: “I’m going to drink … some water.” How times have changed.
So, I did, but as I was cooking my chicken and broccoli and
yummy organic pasta, I had my iPod on shuffle, playing my joy into the kitchen.
And Metallica came on. And for why, who cares, it was that moment. I began to bob and jam and jump around
as I stirred that chicken. Then I abandoned the chicken to just rock out in my
kitchen to the raging flare of electric guitar and passion.
The song finished. But I wasn’t done. I placed my delicate,
hearty, thoughtful meal on a plate, and went into the main room of my studio apartment. I
proceeded to happy dance. That thermometer level radiated out of me and I
DANCED – I shimmied and kicked and ska danced and booty danced and jumped as
very high as I could. I waved my arms like a lunatic and smiled till all of my
teeth shone bright.
This was more than relief at finishing a project for school.
This was pride and gratitude incarnate. This was my joy at having released a
clog in my emotional arteries. I’d moved something. Something big. And I danced
until I couldn’t dance no mo’.
I have released something big here – truth, despair, hurt,
trauma – I’ve let it go. And I’ve opened it to you. I’ve let it have its own purpose outside of my
experience. I’ve given it, and myself, life. It feels like I’ve surrendered
something I’d been holding on to. The clogged artery metaphor feels pretty apt.
But more, it was my throat, my voice, constricted by these stories – and now
that they’re out, birthed, something new can be said, or seen, or felt.
I am humbled by the process of putting this out into the
world. I do hope people enjoy it, or get
something out of it, or find their own voice through reading it. But the
personal gift I have gotten, I could not have predicted: the grin of sheer
bliss as I tucked into my bed last night. … and woke up with again this morning. 

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