IT FEELS SO GOOD
It’s like the first day back at school, isn’t it? You’ve got a cute new outfit, walking to your new classes, wondering if the teacher you’ve heard was mean would in fact be mean. Running into friends in the hallways, how was summer?? Your hair is so cute!
I’ve missed you all. I’ve missed seeing your names pop up. Sharing poems and stories and games-- knowing that you’re out there connecting in this wild new way and that you’re connecting to each other in new ways, too. Seeing people become facebook friends, hearing about folks getting together outside of these gatherings. This is so beautiful to me. We’ve got plans for making the community even more engaged this season and we’ll roll out those things in the next several days.
Bobby overhauled my office while we were on break. It’s the first time I’ve had a really clean, well organized and lovely place of my own to work. You saw the chair but I’ll do pictures of the rest of it--I’m still waiting for my lamp and a new chair, then I’ll do a whole reveal. But I’m coming to you from a beautiful new space.
It’s funny, for someone who can be so good at ordering words or ideas or lyrics or shows--my inherent nature is messy. I move in circles, leave piles of mess everywhere, drop my clothes next to the bed. My office was a disaster zone, truly. I’m kind of worried that I won’t be able to keep it nice but I’m going to just do my best.
I’m also so glad to have my work to keep me engaged--the pain of our current situation--over 183,000 dead from the virus, a political mess, violence in our streets, the continuing struggle for racial justice.
How will we ever come together again? It seems impossible, doesn’t it? But maybe some things shouldn’t come back together. Maybe things divide and there is more peace in their division?
We’ve all had those experiences where we are looking forward to being back together with someone after a long time apart; there’s expectation and excitement and then, it happens and things aren’t the same. Like the contents of a bag during flight, everything has shifted.
I dated a guy shortly after arriving in New York City, his name was Christian and we met at the Town House a bar for generous older men and their younger, hungrier counterparts. I didn’t know this was the nature of the place until after I had visited the place. Anyway, Christian was a designer from Belgium and was cute and friendly and we spent the night in his very small New York City hotel room with a window like a porthole.And we hung out for a week while he was in the city on business.
At the end of the week, he flew back to Belgium, but he’d be back in a couple of weeks.
Before leaving LA and moving to New York I had been on an exercise and health kick. It was effective--I lost tons of weight--but it was also highly compulsive. I was working out many, many times a week, sometimes several times a day--spin class, high intensity training, dance class, aerobics. I arrived in New York City at my lowest weight since high school.
But the city was immediately confrontational, intense, challenging. For someone who has always turned to food for comfort, well, the weight came back on fast.
A couple of weeks later I met Christian in the park near my apartment, to go out to dinner. As I was walking toward him on the wide path with black iron benches on either side, he stopped about 15 feet away from me. I slowed my walk but kept moving toward him. He cocked his head to the side as if trying to solve a problem.
“Hi,” I said, giving him a kiss.
He stepped back from me and looked me up and down.
“You took weight.”
“You took weight.”
It was such a sad and shitty encounter. I can’t even remember if we kept our date Writing this now I feel sort of sad about it, the ways my body has betrayed me, how it has gotten in the way. And yet, it has also protected me, it led me to Bobby. Writing about this experience heals it--or begins to.
I used to think that one changed the world with grand gestures--but I see now that real change is done piecemeal--in a poem, a story, making a collage, or a meal or a quilt. These acts bring the world back together. And community, all of us gathering here today, that is the most restorative act of all. We are part of the mending of the fabric of the world.
If you’re here for the first time, welcome. We’re so glad to have you. And to the rest of you--welcome back. It is so good to be together.