Tonight the plan is to cook dinner for one. If by accident or design we, as human adults on the planet Earth are alone tonight, I don’t think it’s so terrible. It’s just like turning 30: I will have the exact same behaviors and desires when I wake up in Brooklyn tomorrow, still be me.
I have always resisted posting those “best” moments, because they should be complemented by an equal number of “worst” moments. Our lives are complex, and much like the gender binary, it is reductive and non-inclusive to say that we are not experiencing a host of emotional states at once.
So, in that spirit, here’s what I would say if you saw me at a party tonight, a glass of something in your hand:
- Beginning my vocal study with Jon Stancato – I booked my first private lesson in the Winter, and I walked away having had such a multi folded, profound release of emotion and spirit. A warm and supportive vote of confidence from a gifted teacher, and a calling back to my musical roots. My bones have missed music. But more so, expanding my notion of “my voice” into a much deeper current. In the 8-week intensive I completed this fall, I found power, vulnerability, wisdom, support from my lambastes, and a deepened intuition. It’s easy to ignore the social and psychological and physical aspects that affect how we use our instruments. So it is difficult for me to fully encapsulate the experience of how this work has begun to change my life. A door is open.
- In a rehearsal moment I didn’t realize was being captured on video, I sing a blessing with Dzieci, and access a new, free and powerful part of my singing voice. (March)
- Writing about and attending Octfest (read here). For a few years, I have been chipping away at Freelance Writing on my gut instincts alone, and in this piece I was challenged on a whole new level. It included an extremely nervous conference call with the festival founder, and the foot-in-mouth feeling of speaking about things I’m both passionate about and intimidated by. On the days of the festival, I fought off an inappropriate and emotionally invasive Uber driver, and the discomfort of a recent ankle sprain, to drink that beer and see those bands. All in all this year, I met and shared beers with many journalists I admire, and it is a satisfying slice of proof that my writing efforts are worth continuing.
- Feeling like New York was going to break me in half. Somewhere in the early Spring, I was out of work almost entirely. Counting beans and rice, most of the paycheck would go into rent. Threatening calls about paying off that one credit card I’ve had since college. Scraping by had a brand new meaning. I was feeling spiritually broken by the fact that New York is so damn expensive, all the money in the world funneling by me all the time, and I’m stuck and sad in this polluted concrete hellhole without a clue of how to move forward.
- Ending my long-term relationship. While this is still quite fresh, in terms of the tears and shredded heartstrings, the denigration and pain was slow and sure. I lost a lot of sleep over feelings of guilt, fear, and doubt. Everyone’s getting married and having babies. 32 is the perfect time to settle down. But damnit, sometimes when it’s not right, it’s never going to be right. And now, amid flights of fantasy over new men, and a bit of numbing whiskey, I am hovering both within a sense of phantom limb syndrome and a sense of a new beginning. It’s something I felt when I first moved here–a huge internal opening and stripping away of habits that no longer serve me, a via negativa to my next self.
- My laptop died. After 8+ years I spilled a beer on it. Let’s be honest, Apple Computers, the fact that your sleek-ass computers are designed so sleekly that you can’t separate the keyboard circuit from the power button circuit is complete bullshit. Corporate monsters. And after 8 years, I was extremely attached to this material possession, like losing a child. All those pirated programs. All those unwritten emails, tweets, and beer articles.
A few months ago, before the laptop died, before the breakup, I found a particularly apropos quote (posted by once-upon a time we met Yogini Malia Wright) that I felt would help me through this period of duress.
“The woman you’re becoming will cost you people, relationships, spaces, and material things. Choose her over everything.”
I choose her.