|Haul 1 of 3 so far: snap peas and strawberries|
The other one I can remember is .. let's see... Salina? Sabra? Let me look it up...Sean, um... that's odd. And she also had 12 children, the youngest of which is my other grandmother. I once "modeled" her black brocade wedding dress with 64 hooks-n-eyes, when I was 13 and 14 and maybe 15. I had seen enough of Robert Plant's "Simply Irresistible" on MTV to know that models should scowl. So, although my modeling was just at church wedding-dress shows, I went all Robert-Plant scowly, and everyone asked me what was wrong. Afterwards, all of her peers (though she'd long since died of a goiter) said I looked identical to her. No one mentioned if that was with or without the goiter, or because of the scowl. She was a farmer's wife who's husband drove her, EVERY AFTERNOON! to her sisters house for several hours to chat. I may have a dishwasher and a washing machine, but you tell me if the trade-offs have been worth it! I'm so jealous I could cuss!
|another memorable 2012 achievement|
I know I am not unique in fearing this oblivion. I too want to make some kind of mark on this earth, to scrawl in beautiful, indelible graffiti across this existence: "Sarajoy was here."
For a while I thought I was missing something, that if I could just find the right key, I too could slide into these round little career holes and really make something of myself. But then I realized I don't fit into those holes and if I could fit, I certainly would have by now. So, perhaps I am a square peg or some other shaped peg. If you've been reading here for any amount of time, you know the crescendo of career angst I have reached these last few years.
But what, but what would I do? How would I achieve or contribute?
|Coyote's Birthday Wednesday night birthday party|
|Another pinata bites the dust!|
And so when I found out this week that I didn't get it, I was crushed. Let the glazing of the eyes continue. That, and I will not have the support of a large organization to promote me, to pay me, to set up my gigs. If I do this, it will be me, continuing to root around in the dark, step-by-tripable-step.
So I am writing about this crushing blow, this humiliation, because it has been full of triumphs.
|Mentos and Diet Coke for every boy and girl!|
And so, through my tears, I turned to journal it all out, to write down my feelings and my internal thoughts so that I can actually look at them on paper and think them through. And I picked up my pen, turned to a new page and wrote not what I was thinking, which were not catastrophically negative thoughts, but they were leaning in that direction, quite naturally. No, what came off my pen was like from some other universe. I wrote: "Perhaps just being here is enough." And then I went on to write what I thought I was going to write, about longing to contribute to the human endeavor but not finding my way in, listing all of the "no's" I've gotten from the world. How one part of the universe seems to just want to just wham me into a round hole while some other part of the universe wants me to be myself. But then these little sentences kept popping up, "I'm just here 'to be.'" I know! It's shocking and lazy and un-puritan. But really, I can only try so hard. I've never tried harder than I did for that grant, and it shows in how far I got up the application ladder. But here I stop, unable to see how I can give these stories to the world, to the people who could be touched by them.
|Coyote-designed cake, a swirly 8|
Huck's cousin, a successful attorney for the mentally ill, whom I adored, committed suicide and we'll be at her funeral this weekend. And, amid all the emotions and sadness about this, it has inadvertently underscored the truth that a career, a clear path, obvious and helpful contributions, are not everything. Neither is a spouse and cherubic children (the pieces of life I've received). All of these badges of apparent worth and worthiness can add intrigue and joy, but cannot themselves create worth nor represent it. Perhaps having a career/ a clear path will not Make me happy, will not give me value or worth, or make me love myself, my life and my "being here" more.
I came across this quote in a book I was reading a few weeks ago, it's a quote of a quote of a quote and I think the original is Tal Ben-Shahark's, "To lead a happy life, we must also experience a sense of metaphysical worthiness. We must appreciate our core self, who we really are, independent of our tangible accomplishments.... we must feel that we are worthy by virtue of our existence."
And then there is this one from Alice Walker, "Resistance is the secret of joy."
Not to say I'm not still smarting from the rejection and I've stopped longing to contribute. But I'm happy about the thoughts in my head. This could have been the confirmation of my worst fears: no purpose, no meaning, no impression, nothing to contribute. But now that I've looked these fears in the face, I can see (and I'm sure I saw in some theoretical way before but now I see in my heart) that the fears are empty. None of us has more purpose or meaning than anyone else, no matter how soon we are forgotten, no matter how we change the world, rule the world even.
We're here to "to be" for as long as we get and that's all the "reason for existing" we need.
And then to be forgotten.
Bonus feature: Friday the 13th is Coyote's 8th Birthday! Happy Birthday little "be"ing!