Sharing the Sandbox




It’s strange to think that one year ago at this time, I was
getting ready to graduate with a Master’s Degree. All that happened since then;
the joy of having my whole family, including my dad and his fiancé come out to
see me; my dad getting to see me perform my final for acting class, and his
commenting on how surprised and impressed he was at my performance. (And my own
bits of, A little late to notice that I’m talented, but thanks.) My mom and
brother witnessing me read a poem at the “Spiritual” commencement ceremony, and
getting to experience what I’d been trying to do for two years in school. The
positive feedback from strangers and listeners.
The bits of momentum I had then; the job hunting beginning,
but not too worried. The calls with the ‘this would be so perfect for me!’
start-up arts education school and gallery… who could only pay $30k. The
trolling of craigslist for apartments and roommates in New Jersey, because
maybe it was time to go back. The increase in the fevered pitch of anxiety and
worry about money, and jobs, and position, and location, and future, and
Four months of that, till I was hired where I am now, when I
had literally $3.98 in my bank account at my first paycheck.
The oscillation between those moments of triumph and
community, and those moments of perceived failure and desolation. The poor hard
wrenching of my psyche and little heart and big ego, ending indeed in cancer.
I mean, I went to Hawaii because of cancer (and friends’
generosity). I’m working through truly old relationship patterns because I have
to, because they’re here. I have formed strong friendships with people I barely
knew because they showed up for me with a plate of cupcakes, a bowl of soup, a tub of pudding.
Someone told me last week that it sounded like I was
postponing joy until I had a different job and job title. When, in fact, that’s
backwards. The job is what it is, and will be until it isn’t. (said Alice.) But I’m the thing
that can change, and I am.
Those things that brought me joy, community, and a sense of
self and self-esteem last year at this time—acting, performing my work, meeting
up with playful friends—those are the things that I’m grabbing back to again.
My friend’s band I sang with the other week has two other gigs in June they’ve
invited me to sing with. I have two writing groups set up, a softball team I’ll
begin playing with in June, and callouses that please oh
please I hope form soon on my poor pinky from playing my guitar again, however
I mean, I put videos on facebook of me singing! The thing I
always have said no one knows I do. It’s time that you do.
I have a play that I’m in with a host of folks I love, and
my job title is still the same.
I have to budget carefully, owing several months of backrent
from when I was sick, and I proposed a monthly poker night with my friend who
just moved close by.
I bought a ticket home to see a best friend get married, and
I just finished chemo two months ago.
Joy can coexist next to financial insecurity, job
dissatisfaction, and even debt.
I don’t think I knew this before.
And I certainly didn’t practice it.
One year ago, I was getting prepared to graduate; I had
pride, a grin the size of Wisconsin, and family and friends supporting me.
Truthfully, there is no reason–aside from my own stubborn curmudgeonness–that this
year I shouldn’t have the same. 

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