Grief is an eery thing. I began the night first thinking of Thelma, and how much she has helped me in all areas but the financial as well, and I had been making her handmade stationary, the idea struck that I should package it inside a box I painted as a car, a symbol of so much worry and anxiety that she has supported me through. The girls got quiet after picking up my paints and begging to play, a promise for another day, the thunderstorm hit, and before I knew it, I was in a room that looked like it had been hit with an art tsunami, my tears had found their comfort zone and fell like water in sync to the rhythm of the music on my ipod, thunder, and my thoughts.
I am in a strange place tonight, and even though there have been two deaths in a month, a mistress appearing in a blog telling me I am selfish, a visit to a friend who has a murdered child she is about to go to trial for, I say this not for pity but explanation that even though my life is blessed, I feel strangely removed from it. Thelma had mentioned earlier, laughing, about how she had removed herself from her office upstairs because she felt so lonely up there, and it triggered me, deep wells of sadness surfaced to show me that is exactly the way I feel, all the time, with or without an office or people I love. I feel strangely alone, the kind of alone that I don’t know how to put my finger on, but certain that I haven’t felt it before. I have felt loneliness, as we all have, no one is stranger to wandering this human experience not lonely, and yes, life is a breath and to exhale is part of being alive, a hit I know too well, a mother in law who overstays her welcome and leaves a bitter taste to remind you, so it does from time to time. I felt it after the divorce, in the marriage, with my father gone, with men I chat politely to on dates I don’t know why I am on. I know in my head that I could call many people right now, at 2 a.m., all that love me but it wouldn’t matter, lonely is inside of me, follows me and I have been making friends with it, slowly, like a new friend in the back of a classroom no one speaks to but I always wonder why. My mind began thinking of death, the two particular recent ones, and why people seem to always mention the survivors, shaking there head in gratitude for it, and I know it is the “political correct” thing to smile and nod, seeing that grace is always offered in times like these.
What I really want to say is surviving is not the fate I hope for, it is to live and survive with the people leaving us behind that makes me shutter, a “survivor” is to me, the ultimate experience of finality. Our loved ones are at peace and leave us here with war. And now, I don’t know if this is war, but to feel strangely used to grief as if I picked it up at Walmart without even needing a list, makes me wonder if I am always here, if it is a disease I caught without a cure. Wisdom tells me different. And so, the painting of the box became a bizarre circling of all these thoughts, my mind trying desperately to find its way out, my hand moving the brush as fast or slow as the tears fell, the room is not lit well and I sighed to notice red paint all over my hands at one point, but I didn’t even care.
I don’t know what occurred, but suddenly I forgot what I was painting, and just started painting everything, file folders, shoe boxes, black card stock, this was to me the best night ever, all my thoughts drifting back and forth, but I felt such elation that something about taking black and putting color on it made me feel better, and so I would get purple, then teal, rush to find my reds, my tears fell just the same, but with a purpose. My room looks like a child got loose in kindergarten camp, but as I continued taking the black and replacing it with color, the satisfaction I felt in seeing every corner of a shoe box differently was like I just discovered candy, and so I would paint over and over it, not even aware that nothing was changing, but just that I was going to be okay, not even the dark thoughts really scared me now. I thought about how when I had it “all,” as a marriage and healthy children and parents that appeared happy, I was miserable. I complained, with money, with a man who rubbed my feet, with children who I don’t ache from missing like I do today.
And here I am, in a teeny room painting every black substance in site, in the middle of the night, more at peace with absolute awareness that every illusion I thought had made life worthwhile, was gone. It was kind of hilarious, this moment of truth, sobbing in my Goodwill clothes to the idea that my life, even with its loss, is exactly the way I want it, that I live every day doing what I love, and I did pause in shock at my own self.
How crazy is that?
Why are humans only empathetic and kind and aware when they are brought to their knees, the suffering in each of us really does save us from ourselves. And, I don’t know really know why or how, but a song looped in that I don’t remember ever hearing, and lost in my circular grief ridden moment, I suddenly was aware of my brush, looked at it as if I had just realized I had been painting, confused, put it down slowly, strangely looking at this bedroom as if it were not even mine. Then, the beat of the music made me smile, and I’m not quite sure why, but it did.
I put my volume on my Droid to max, my one lamp lit, next to my bed covered with art and piles of fresh wet ridiculous paintings on my floor, I started to dance.
I danced on top of papers I don’t know what nor did I care, the song was just that good. It was here I saw making friends with the lonely was restoring my soul to a part of life I blink and miss every day, but not tonight.
I had more love and peace and gratitude with head throbbing and wet paint all in my hair than any dance club yet, being served too much jager with Man Cubs dry humping me from behind.
I am still drunk from it, this new way of seeing the lonely, the death and destruction, surviving, and remaining. The Spirit of God is aware of what I am not.
Life is a gift.
It is a precious beautiful gift that you don’t get back, tomorrow isn’t promised, and I don’t have anything to offer, no wisdom at all, as to why tonight I saw what I may forget in the morning.
But, I saw it.
That is the beauty of living.
To hold on for that next breath, that next day, the right song, the perfect hug to remind and comfort you on dark lonely rainy nights where sadness is all that you see, that you in fact are a miracle, a breathing beautiful walking miracle.
It is God, just in rap, on a random sync, showing me what I knew all along, that of course, he is black, probably a woman, and definitely a terrible painter, because that is exactly how he showed up tonight.
And lets see, maybe I can find the song, and you can see for yourself it had to be God, or at least well disguised for just me, who tends to normally appear blurry and closely to the bad relationship aisle with regret, vodka, and the walk of shame.
Lonely is looking better all the time.
Check out the Nappy yo, I dare ya.
- Nappy Roots, Organized Noize Collaborating on Album (theboombox.com)
- conversing with her (svindigo.wordpress.com)