Standing in your desire, you wrestle –
with non-linear timelines;
undetermined outcomes; and
the fear of rejection.
the shoulders sink in disappointment; heavy
with anger at the incompetence
of the men who seem to lead the world
of the men once in your lives
we are living in strange and uncertain times
and my heart aches
I am known for my optimism, but this time, even I am having trouble keeping faith. I am already grieving for a world now changed, but it’s hard to find a firm foot when the ground below you keeps shifting.
I want to talk about the ways in which this country I now call home is complacent and arrogant in (mis)managing this pandemic. And how the country my heart knows is home is managing it so well, and yet whose measures are constantly referred to as “draconian” – as if this virus really cared if it was infringing on your western ideals of civil liberties; as if Australia wasn’t already a police/nanny state; as if the measures that have worked in China, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Singapore are beneath this country to adopt.
I want to talk about my grief for the loss of momentum – of all the work leading up to a year I have been describing as ‘the one where it all lands,’ and of all the work that this year was going to lead to; of my ambition and aspiration, of a wild heart that cannot be tamed.
I want to talk about the impact on the arts sector with works cancelled and income lost, and the fear and anxiety amongst my peers and friends, but where do you start when this impact is really on the world twice over, and more?
Equally surreal though, is finding myself in a new relationship and spending time with a new puppy. For a virus that attacks your lungs, I find myself breathing – no back-to-back schedule, no intense travelling, cooking for two, and getting chewed at my ankles. I’m relishing not being on a plane for a while. For all the stockpiling the average Australian seems to be doing, I’m relishing in the amazing fresh produce (as I normally do, but even more so now) this country has to offer, and cooking up simple beautiful dishes. I’m relishing in having a friend to share the anxiety of this new world with. I’m relishing in the staying home.
I am a sucker for the kind of adrenaline that comes from a radical honesty with who you are – and all that you want to be. And so in the end, I put it out there anyway.
I’ve gone on all this past 20 months about being vulnerable; about sitting in the discomfort of the unknown; of holding space for difficult, complex feelings.
But truth is, it is incredibly hard to do, and it’s hard work to do it well.
But also, it is something much easier to do when there is no one looking, and in your own shell of your own world – as well as to write about as I have been doing, as if writing about it means you’re (consistently or any) good at it at all!
Because really, what you are wrestling with is – what happens when you are seen.
Which requires us to be in the presence of another. Which requires us to put ourselves forward. Which requires us to feel things we haven’t felt since more than nine years ago.
Which requires us to be witnessed – and quite truthfully, we – no, I – inherently need to be seen, and to be witnessed; we exist in community!
But really, what we are asking is –
Can they meet me right where I am?
– and sometimes that comes with a lobster for dinner.
We exist in community. And these are strange and uncertain times.
As we diligently practise social distancing and stay home, may we remember to connect with each other. May we make visible to each other our full selves. May we never take for granted our desire to be touched and held. May we learn to grapple with all our longing for a different world.
with firm feet
may we take our time
to settle in to these shifting grounds
can you meet me where I am?