coworker early this year.
consecutive dates like that won’t happen again until 2103 (1/2/03).
used to stand in front of the microwave (the only digital clock in the house
then), look at the time and announce, “Five fifty-five!” and then lean over
sideways, our heads upside-down, and announce, “Fifty-five five!” and then stand up straight and do
it again: 5:55!! 55:5!!
FINE!, is one our mother taught to us.
saw that one of these special dates was coming up, I declared to my coworker
that would be my wedding anniversary date.
engagement! But I figured, What the hell, it’s always good to declare things to
the Universe. Why not?
rivals the strongest romantic connection:
days. Poof! Gone. Done. Finished. Eliminated.
generosity of you, my friends, your friends, and even people I barely know.
week. A brand new woman I hit it off with, and happened to mention the launch
of the campaign on Friday.
the shares and “likes” and “We’re with you” emails and messages.
and for the crowdfunding site to take their cut and then send me the donations.
to say, Yes, it’s time to clean out that janitor room–cum art studio, unstick
the windows, clean out the dried cat poop, put a lock on the door, and hand me a key.
Out of random drawers.
sticks, stamps and stickers, brushes and sketchpads and canvases, exact-o knives and glitter.
closet. All of this out. Up. Lit. Alive. With me, available to me. Creation
a display of love, commitment, hope, cherishment?
hope, your belief in me.
to help me pay the back-rent accrued when I was in chemo.
About 2 weeks ago, I was sitting with a friend in a café, both of us
“applicationing,” online searching, looking for work, looking for authenticity.
hosted this group art show in SF.”
defunct and way out-dated. I told him how successful it was, people came,
people who didn’t know they could sell their art sold their art. I even sold some!
walk over wet paint. I told him about this art studio I found while exploring
the 4th floor of my apartment building, and how I’d inquired to my landlord
about it, and how he’d said, yes, I can rent it for $25 a month(!!!), if I pay off my back rent.
part time after that. I racked up quite the debt. And have been slowly paying
it back. But…
“You should do a Kickstarter. This is exactly the kind of thing people use
said, offered, opened up before me.
again, wouldn’t they?”
not even wearing any make-up, I wish I’d smile, I look awful” moments. And it’s
done. It’s being polished, and tomorrow morning, I will push this campaign out
into the world in the hopes that others will actually feel something from it.
monthly budget. In the hopes that I can sever that weight of debt from that
time in my life.
campaign, we have been talking a lot about “closing the cancer chapter.” And I
turned to him and said, “This isn’t closing it,
you know? This doesn’t make it ‘over.’”
remission. I’m 2 years into the 5 year “almost as healthy as normal people”
period. But it’s never closed. It can be moved on from in many ways, but the
simple existence of the campaign itself is proof that I’m willing to move into
the world in a way I wasn’t before
important. It’s helpful. But it isn’t the end. The “closing the chapter” is a
great sound-byte, and I’m using it. But it was important for me to say to him,
strides I’ve made since being sick. I’m proud of the advancements and actions I’ve
taken – being in a band, singing, being in plays, a musical, going to Hawaii,
Boston, Seattle, trying dating again, flying a goddamned plane! – and I’m
overwhelmed by the support I have gotten.
because of what I went through.
I was diagnosed. I still have to keep extra tabs on my health insurance. I still have
a butterfly-shaped scar on my chest where the chemo tube went.
and pulled a strand of hair caught in it. The hair, my hair, was long, past
shoulder length. It was from before I was sick. Before my hair fell out.
time called, “Before.”
make use of the persistent lesson to live.
woman I have become and continue to evolve into. I know she exists now. And
maybe she always did.
feeling a bit panicky about my upcoming full-time employment in sales starting
on Tuesday. What has been lovely about
this time, besides the “brain space” I spoke of the other day is that I’ve
gotten to take my long walks again, meet up with my folks again, play with my cat again.
also looking for work and get some applicationing done.
This has led to conversations, which have led to ideas, which are leading to
action. Particularly around things that “light me up.”
a few years ago, which hosted a successful group art show, but in which I
put too much of my own money and ended up in a pickle. Since then, I’ve
sort of let that idea drift. But talking to my new friend about what lights me,
I said, “My favorite thing I’ve ever done? This group art show I put on.”
the other week, I looked around the space. I came home and looked up the rental
costs for that space: this could be a great place to host another one.
together, people who “normally would not mix.” I’ve met so many types of
artists on my path – poets, writers, painters, photographers, musicians, actors – that
it only makes sense that I bring
them together. “Oh, you make jewelry, my friend does still photography, maybe
you can work together.” “You’re a painter, my friend just participated in an
open studios, maybe you can talk to her about getting your work out there.”
collaborate with each other. I don’t want us to miss any!
off my back rent (accrued when I was in chemo) so that I can rent out the art
studio space on the 4th floor of my apartment building. I said to my friend
over our laptops, “Yeah, people would be willing to donate to a cancer survivor
who wants to produce art again, wouldn’t they?”
down again: One is the studio space I want to rent so that I can start working again. The other is the creation
of a space for artists to get together, these events and gatherings that I love to host.
behind the other. And so, before I start my full-time work on Tuesday, my
friend and I are going to brainstorm about the video, and maybe even get to
people to meet.
judge of my progress or my abilities. But, even though I can’t rightly see myself, I’m beginning to notice that I am hearing
it from others.
bug zapper lamps people hang on their porch. The bugs merely get within range
of the lamp and they get zapped dead. Same with compliments for me: Anything positive that was said would get deflected before it even got close to
touching me. None of that here, pew! pew!
complementary place within you to receive it. If there’s nowhere it fits
within your own understanding of yourself, then there’s no way that it can be
accepted. There’s no ring of truth, because you don’t believe it yourself.
feedback about certain things, because I have begun to hone and cultivate the
place within me that is receptive, the place within me that believes you
because I believe it myself.
about my progress and abilities, and even though I can’t quite feel this, I’m beginning
to recognize that I believe them, I
believe others are seeing this, even if I’m not myself.
believe in the feedback I’m receiving – so there must be something to it.
way to walk about the world, but what it’s doing for me is giving me hope that
one day I can see it. There is an
existence of a cave wall. Others are telling me so. If that is truth, there is
hope that I will see it, too.
To Kill a Mockingbird, the director came
backstage. He was beaming. He was so glad and proud of the work I was doing
went much better; it felt better.
and Friday night, I was better.
lesson. And at the end of a phrase I’d sung, my teacher applauded and cheered –
he even gave me a high five.
loud and thick.
have to get used to hearing yourself.”
reported these incidents to her, as I begin to parse out these places where I’m
being told one thing, but I’m hearing and sensing another.
feel. And she gave me a metaphor (because we all know I love those!):
foundation. And you can’t always see that growth above ground, but it’s
who I am this lifetime and where I’m going. And she said, some people have
really gorgeous foliage, and weak roots.
come to in mid and later life. Creating a root system, carving out the rot,
cleaning the wounds.
until one morning you turn, and the whole field has sprouted green, fully
formed, like Athena.
hearing or seeing myself clearly. I’m not adequately armed with the ability to
track my own progress. And thank god for other people, then!
I am beginning to hear what they’re saying instead of zapping it, because I’m beginning to uncover the place within me that believes it myself.
for me to swallow:
in to finish, I leafed through an old book of opera history, the only book in
how similar everyone looked to today. Yep, there’re the same cheeckbones, facial
structure, haughty gaze we still see in others and starlets today. Some of the
photos were dated 1898.
They portrayed the same stories of love, hatred, betrayal, and sacrifice. And I
commented to the other actor who was also waiting backstage on how shockingly
similar we looked, and how our stories, our desires haven’t changed for tens of
thousands of years. Mythology and the Bible tell the same stories, and people probably looked
relatively similar too.
sacrificing goats or children as often. Not slaying enemies in the street. But
for the most part, looking back through time, we’re the same people we were
thousands of years ago.
because we have the same brains we’ve had for thousands of years.
place in my head. We’ve been retelling these stories through pictoral, oral,
and written history for eons. Homer wrote about the same passions and impulses
as Shakespeare as Langston Hughes as Brene Brown.
There’s something kind of humbling and shocking about that realization. Perhaps
even a little bit disheartening! But mostly, I think, connecting.
be working with a group of Rwandan refugees. She was worried that she
wouldn’t know how to relate to them, how she would be able to talk to them
about what they’d been through because it was so alien to her experience.
to talk about how the guy she had her eye on was hot for her cousin.
chemistry and wiring, inhibitions and ambitions. Beyond the length of recorded
time, we’ve all been trying to make a go at this thing called life.
night, election night. And she was dispirited by how little she’d gotten to
talk with anyone about the election, the issues, what’s going on in our area.
That it’s just not the water-cooler chatter that’s around her. That there’s a part of her
intelligence that doesn’t feel fueled and fed in the current iteration of her
conversations I don’t have any more on an intellectual level, not just by being
out of school, but by being out of the groups who talk about topics that make
me think (beyond the emotionally intelligent conversations I can have until the
sun burns out).
school hosts every Wednesday, and how for 2 years now, I continue to get his
weekly invitations. I haven’t gone once.
awkward, so it was awkward, and we left. But I have a feeling that dinner’s one
source of the higher conversations I want to have.
it’s her annual birthday party this Saturday. She’s the founder of a non-profit
that provides medical birthing supplies to women in Africa, and has visited
more times than I can count. I can see from my text history that she invited me
last year, and the year before, and I still haven’t gone.
an invitation to events like these. To go, to meet, to talk, to learn, to be sparked. To
see if there’s a level of conversation I can have beyond my normal scope.
way to meet people. And so, today, this morning, I replied that I
would be at my friend’s birthday party this weekend.
of rehearsal, but I promised my Tuesday friend I would go after they finish.
that I’m scared to go. Scared I can’t keep up. That I don’t know enough. My Tuesday friend told me we both know enough to have *some* kind of a conversation about anything, and she’s right.
sit in on classes there for a long time. Maybe it’s different from a party
that’s social, and I’ll want to bring a wingman, someone to discuss it with
afterward or — and here’s my real desire — I’ll meet people there who will want to grab tea afterward and discuss it, our own little study group of lecture-junkies.
and friends and classes that will again spark the kind of thinking I miss
so terribly; that in the absence of such conversation, I begin to feel stagnant
and short of my potential. I know I’ve hemmed and lamented about it
before, but maybe, with this one Yes for this weekend, I’m changing the
direction of my action.