The thing about the world going to hell/rapidly coming to an end (Choose Your Adventure™️) is it makes you want to reflect on your present stage in life, where you came from, and where you hope to go in the time you have left. I’ve mentioned one of my “I Want”s in a previous post. But I’ve decided that I also want to feel joyous despite the rapidly deteriorating state of our society.
Considering that, I’ve spent the last couple of days in an…altered state, shall we say, on walkabout, looking for small surprises that would make me feel so happy that it would be contagious to anyone close by. Not the best metaphor to use during a global pandemic, but whatareyagonnado?
So here is a small sampling of some of the beautiful moments I encountered while walking around my neighborhood. I hope they’ll set off a spark in your soul that no one can extinguish.
It was inevitable, really. I’ve dreamed of living in the Bay Area (California) since I was 13 years old. I knew I could be happy there, happier than I’d ever been in Atlanta but life intervened and I ended up in Vancouver.
I learned to accept Vancouver. There are even days where I love it fiercely, like on never-ending summer nights or in driving November rain. But as much as I appreciate the life I’ve built here, Vancouver has never felt like home. California feels like home. Lanie feels like home. And as soon as it is feasible, I’m moving back to the US to be at home, to be back where I belong.
They say the sometimes the universe will reveal things to you exactly when you need it. Earlier tonight, YouTube’s algorithm slid this video my way. In the video, the actor Zachary Levi talks about radical love and forgiveness, and how people must learn to love their oppressors. It’s the length of a podcast but it’s worth the watch.
As I understand it, to practice radical love is to always see the humanity in people, and to let the empathy you feel for them as a fellow human being drive how you relate to them. Levi insists that this doesn’t mean you have to want to spend time with a person who has hurt you, because there are usually valid reasons why we choose to keep our distance. Radical love asks us to step outside of our respective camps and have love for all creatures, including those who have hurt us. Especially those who have hurt us.
It’s 4:20am, and before you make a joke about that hour, let me say that presently, I’m more sober than a church. I’ve waited hours for the thoughts in my head to stop careening, but they’re no closer to settling down than Bubba is (that is to say, not at all). I feel like a saguaro looks — ill-tempered and prickly. It’s only been 24 hours, but I’m rooted here, unmovable, no closer to sleep than I was at noon on Sunday.
I’ve had a post about stepping off the ambition escalator sitting in my drafts for months now. Until a few days ago, I thought I’d finally have reason to publish it. However, events didn’t pan out the way I wanted them to, and I am once again feeling helpless and hopeless. Other library-related folks tell me they appreciate what I bring to the profession, or how I’ve helped them see things from a unique perspective. I’m grateful that they say these things to me, even though down deep I don’t believe them. So, here I sit with a fresh wound of rejection that is just starting to scab over, knowing that if I put myself out there again, it’ll be the equivalent of picking at that scab until it becomes infected. My ego feels as sore as this wound.
The little hater that lives in me tells me I should abandon any hope of finding fulfillment in my career, and that to think I could be anything other than ordinary is laughable. But I can’t quite let go of this dream I have in my head of truly making a difference in this world and being paid handsomely for it. Yes, capitalism is a curse, but this is the world we’re living in, and I really want to kiss my girlfriend under a rose-gold sunset while the warm ocean laps at our ankles.
Lanie and I talk to each other every night, something that I know is a regular thing for many long-distance couples. However, the “talking every day” part of that situation doesn’t come natural to me because before her, there was no one I talked to by voice every single night.
I type to my friends on the computer, and for an awkward introvert like me, it’s a method of communication that I’ve grown to think of as just as valid as face-to-face interactions. But a voice call? In this economy? Couldn’t be me.
But as I get older, I’m learning more about myself. Part of that learning is coming to the realization that while I am a misanthropic recluse regarding the larger society, there is nothing I enjoy more than spending time talking to a small, trusted group of friends. I come alive in that environment. Anyone who has hung out with me at South by Southwest or when I swung through their town for a job interview knows this.
Yet, I’ve been alone for so long that this state has shifted from being a lifestyle choice to a behaviour that I need to correct. So don’t be surprised if I send you a link to a group FaceTime call. You’ve all been warned.
I’ve started this post at least a dozen times, and each time, I start off with an apology. I feel bad for not writing more, not because my heart isn’t in it, but because of some pretty nasty repetitive stress injuries I’ve been nursing. A few days ago, my boss said, “It’s okay if you take things slow, Cecily. You don’t have to do it all right now.” I’m sure she was talking about the work I get paid to do, but I also think she was hinting at this compulsion I have to do more even when my body tells me that I should do less.
I have this idea that if my library is to become a more equitable place, then it is up to me to be involved in the process. I don’t believe things will improve for me in the ways I need them to improve, but I’d like it if the librarians of the (not too) distant future could peacefully exist as their full selves in a way that I haven’t been able to do.