For we cannot tarry here,
We must march my darlings, we must bear the brunt of danger,
Except we must tarry here a little while longer, mustn’t we?
Tell me where you’re going next, and Next, please. (Tell me something, anything. You’re still out there, right?) next, I am going to go outside, I think. Going to make the familiar little loop around the neighborhood. I will smile at the tulips, and at the empty little park with its empty little swingset, and I will wish that you were here, but I will wish harder that you are safe. And so it is okay.
But Next? NEXT?
Once again: loos’d of limits and imaginary lines
I shall abide by the rules now, so that a day will come soon when I can chuck the book out of my window.
Because I Am Enough, and I feel it with something like ferocity this afternoon, iced coffee racing down my bloodstream. I will no longer apologize for my choices, for my being, for my life.
(I will probably still apologize. They can be awfully fleeting, these confident iced coffee feelings.)
But do you get what I’m saying? I am an “Artist,” and, therefore it seems, I am “Poor.” And I feel shitty about it all the time. I have spent so long believing that my work is not worth anything, because of the little, baby numbers in my bank account. No one pays me money for my words right now, and maybe they never will, and I’m just tired of that Not Counting, you know?
Weeks ago, after a live performance, a stranger messaged me on Instagram to tell me that my piece about my dealings with bipolar II helped her partner to understand her better. This, I think, was always what I wanted.
Shakespeare wrote King Lear during the Plague, cool, and I am very happy for him, but I do not think that is the artist’s journey I am on right now. I believe that I am here to comfort, that I am here to serve. I am here to remind you of Walt Whitman quotes, and tell you that you are wonderful, and then I’m over on Ao3 to offer you softness and sweetness. I do not have conflict in me right now. Do not have intricate plot twists or surprises that pull the world out from under you. I have poems and hand holding, if you need them.
Here is what I mean in regards to chucking the rule book out the window. (I have done it before. I am rather given to bounds of whimsy, after all.) I don’t know how to pull it off yet, mostly because I am, yes, Poor, but I am determined to figure it out when this is all over:
I am going to see the Pacific Ocean.
I am going to get myself to California, am going to prove to myself that it’s still there, that it ever existed. I’m going to see the sea lions on the beach, and I’m going to eat so many burritos, and I’m going to ride Mission: Breakout! over at Disney’s California Adventure.
And money will be necessary to make those things possible, I get that, but having money is not why I deserve those things. I want those things, so I will come up with some kind of a plan, and, given my circumstances, perhaps it will take a long, long time to pull off, but my point is that I am allowed to want things. I am allowed to want things Now, was allowed to want things Then, will be allowed to want things Next.
What do you want? How can I help you?
Has the night descended?
Was the road of late so toilsome? did we stop discouraged nodding
on our way?
This is hard, and the iced coffee bravado will fade, and I will sit in the night and feel discouraged again, I know. But my point is (always): there is a Big Open Road for us out there, somewhere, one day, maybe, again, I hope, I need to believe (fuck). I don’t know where yours is going, but I hope you send me a postcard.
I am going to go to California. I write this dream down, and therefore, it must be true. I don’t know when, or how, but, when the night descends, I will close my eyes to picture waves and sand and Disneyland churros.
It’s okay to stop discouraged. Set it all down, it will still be there for you when you’re ready.