The Dramatic Everyday

Friday, June 3, 2016

Project As[I]Am has a call for submissions out right now! The topic is "Our Greatest Resource," on emotional labor, care, and love letters to yourself and others united for a more socially just world. Get your submissions in by June 4th -- we'd love to see your work!
These past few weeks have been a marriage of opposites. I’ve been trying to climb into a steady routine, but each time it’s been interrupted. Some things were expected, like feeling too tired to move after a full 8 days of work. Others were needlessly difficult, like my recent apartment search which ate up all the time I would have used playing with creative energy. And then along came loss.

I saw the closing of the old Hugo House, where I got my start as a 14-year-old writer. My own emotionality caught me off guard. During the last event, I wandered the halls and took pictures of the messages folks had put up. Tearful ones and frustrated ones, silly nonsense rhymes in the mix with professional artists sending the place off. I was reminded of all the years that I spent volunteering and taking classes there. Taking down the track lighting in the ceiling while standing on a wobbly ladder; being too timid to approach the mic during a performance class; people chuckling as my phone went off during a quiet writing exercise (at the time, the ring tone was my friend screaming “JORDAN, PICK UP THE PHONEEE!”). So, so many memories wrapped up in that space.

Then the last of my family’s cats died. Abby, the one whose kitten face is immortalized in a dusty photo on our fridge. Compared to the prognosis given a little over a year ago – that she would live only 3 more months with this kidney blockage, and in pain at that – she’s hung on for a good long time. She made a cross-state move to California, where my dad held her paws as she took her last breaths. The last cat that died is buried out in the backyard; though this cat's body is not here, the house feels even more full of ghosts.

It’s the mundane that unites it all. The dishes that must be washed, the laundry put away. The car driven, the apartment seen, the phone calls made – the spreadsheets too. The schedules updated and the to-do lists lengthened. This weekend, my best friend and I went through boxes of my old journals and got wrapped up in the nostalgia of letters sent as small children. What started out as a requisite task of moving turned into something more like a commemoration of the places and people who have been meaningful in my life.

It’s been therapeutic to shed what needs to be shed and to mourn what deserves to be mourned. I’m still losing a lot of sleep worrying about projects and next steps - but that, I suppose, is the complex blessing of being alive.