Well friends, it’s time to turn a page on 2020. Consider this a New Year’s Card.
The beginning of 2020 started with magical bubbles, sunsets and drum circles, priestesses chanting down 2019 at Moonlight Beach, and even inspired this moon-shaped poem. Then it ended with cataracts in both eyes and an “untamed,” feral family that would make Glennon Doyle proud.
In March I got to be a part of an amazing and highly acclaimed production, The Life and Times of Jim Croce. I was cast as lead (Ingrid Croce) and learned (I’ve lost track how many) songs on vocals, harmony, and guitar, a shit-ton of lines, and sobbed my heart out on stage every night.
On Friday the thirteenth of March, my husband’s birthday and the second Friday of our play’s run, we found out that schools were closing for the month while schools “figured out what to do”. This meant I was now at home trying to learn how to teach Spanish on Zoom to middle schoolers while schooling and caring for my first and third grader. (My husband is an “essential worker” so it was just me at home, with my mom’s help).
Because I’m bad at boundaries, I embraced the new shift as I do everything: with open arms. Being “open” and an empath means I am receptive to creative forces of the universe, others’ feelings (hence the ability to cry on command), as well as numerous health problems. My body is a dilated pupil. All the stuff gets in.
We are fortunate that our family, friends, and loved ones have stayed relatively healthy, although 2020 did not leave without taking my eyes as tribute. I developed fast-growing cataracts in both eyes and the ophthalmologist thinks it’s from my asthma medication (which of course I pumped up when I found out that Covid was a respiratory disease).
Remote schooling for my first and third grader, while simultaneously trying to figure out how to teach Spanish to middle schoolers over Zoom, was less fun than undergoing eight root canals (which I also did last year). I had to resign my position at one of my schools I teach at in order to have time to care and school kids. But I managed to hang onto my Spanish position at the Montessori, so I still have a foot in the door and hopefully something of a teaching career left.
“Zoom school” wasn’t working too well for my children, so last spring I decided to “nature school” them. We spent almost every day in the rainforest or at the beach, in rain, shine, and wind. Here is a poem I wrote about that.
Doing nature school and going “wild” and “untamed” meant that my children and I ended up becoming feral. I detail that experience here, it is all true. Oh, and my menstrual cycle is now synced to the moon. And so in my insomnia. And the tides control my feelings. Like I said, I am full of holes like Swiss Cheese.
My mom has been a tremendous help and the kids have been forced to learn how to get along since they pretty much only have each other. But it’s been up to me to try to care for their social emotional health by arranging play dates outside whenever possible, engaging in physical activities, and nurturing their creative side. The kids have been doing lots of art, reading, indoor rock climbing, swimming, skiing, etc. plus inventing their own “yoga” and freestyle dance moves.
Let’s not kid ourselves, though– it’s been sooooooo faaaaaaking haaaaaaard. One day I will tell you all about it….. one day…… let’s just say I’ve been learning about PTG, or post traumatic growth. One day, when this is said and done, I will write songs and poems and funny essays about it. For now, it’s all I can do in my lizard brain to write satire.
Poetry comes out too depressing, so this fall I turned to comedy to write my feelings. Does this mean that I’ve become cynical? Perhaps. Satire seems to be the best way to describe a world that has turned inside out and upside down and batshit crazy. Humor is a more palatable way to send a message that can otherwise be hard to hear. Also, I don’t think I am inherently funny, so even the challenge of doing comedy is absolutely irresistible to this drama-loving sadist! But so far I have five comedy publications just since November and one slated to publish first week of January, so I’m off to a good start!
2020 wasn’t all bad news– I won a statewide poetry contest, played lead in a highly acclaimed play, and had nineteen pieces published in various literature magazines. I took part in the Through the Cultural Lens class with Southeast Alaska Heritage Institute, and dove deeper into the fundamental question of How do we decolonize? — something I have always been fascinated with and continue to explore further. Watch this space for more of that!
What are YOUR goals or intentions for this year? In this age of Aquarius, NOW is the time for a great creative, cultural and social and political shif! The conjunction of Jupiter with pragmatic Saturn will give the earth energy enough to put ideas into practice! They say this hasn’t happened since right before the Renaissance! Exciting!
So what is on my goal list for 2021? Well, obviously smashing the patriarchy, calling out Western culture–you know, the usual–decolonizing, challenging white privilege (yes, me). Writing more satire and honing my voice as a comedian. I’ll be taking more writing classes, getting my kids up skiing, swimming, and rock climbing, and continuing to teach Spanish and remote school my own children.
Another goal I have for 2021 is to teach children how to process their trauma through poetry and writing their own personal stories. I have always wanted to do this, and I think our students need it now more than ever. I have been communicating with groups in Southern California that do just that and whose framework I plan to use as a model.
Oh yeah, and getting cataract surgery!
Here’s to manifesting dreams! Or should I say, womynfesting?
XO, and Happy New Year,