Yesterday, my dear friend Suz, over at Cat Fidelity, wrote elegantly of the doings of the head and heart during times when many things seem to be ending. She writes:
It's complex, and since I haven't yet worked it through in language, I can feel it all pulsing through body parts. For example, I just washed my hands, and rather than press the soap pump with only enough power necessary to get some soap out, I jammed it down so hard the liquid Method spurted pretty far, like, all over my hair and dress. While bent over the sink rinsing soap from clumps of hair, I recognized what was going on. But I still don't really know what to make of it.
Man, do I feel her right now.
Hawaii Women's Journal is inching closer toward its final issue, although of course it's been such a long mourning period for me that I feel, in some ways, that it is already over. But the final issue is coming out this month, and I am sure I only think I have celebrated and mourned and when I see the final issue online, I will feel it all over again.
Then I just got news yesterday that another gig on which I collaborate, the Hawaii Youth Opera Chorus newsletter, is having some staff-shifting, which seems to mean the end of the newsletter, at least in its current incarnation.
Add to all of this the fact that I am still home in Hawai'i, living this strange existence of being home but also being not-home at all. This is my home, I love it here, I breathe and write easier here. But my husband is not here, and my dog, and my books, and my things. Also, you know what else is not here? My solitude. It sounds spoiled and stuck-up to say I am overwhelmed by people, but there it is. There are just so many people. And I want to see them, and they want to see me, but I'm definitely rusty at it and have to sort of ramp up my courage, to try really hard not to let pauses sit awkwardly between us, and to not occasionally throw hissy-fits about not having the silence of real solitude, where no one is about to come home, you have no plans for days, and you can actually hear yourself think. Maybe the bad thing is not that I lack the solitude but that I've allowed myself to grow so rusty at being-with-people. I don't know. Everything is so confusing.
Because of course the other place my mind is going is that, yes, there are so many people and it's exhausting but also THERE ARE SO MANY PEOPLE and this is a lucky thing. I don't feel this yet about California. Everyone is exasperated when I say this, because it's only been eight months! I can't expect everything to align right when I say so. I can't expect to land and be surrounded by a community of like souls. I know, I know. It's OK to be exasperated with me, but then again you do know me and voluntarily come to this blog, so you must have known what you were in for. :)
But still, it's something to note that I allowed myself to forget: there are so many beloveds here. And the chance to meet or reconnect with so many more. For example: diaper-days reunion led to me seeing one friend I hadn't seen for years! We used to look like this:
But now we look like this:
And on another day, I met a brand-new friend--a friend of a friend--who wanted to pick my brain about editing. And it was one of those lucky instances where you are sitting with a stranger and they already feel like a friend. And it was such an honor to be asked to contribute my mana'o--albeit a little nerve-wracking to hope that I had something to offer. But boy, once she asked a few questions, she couldn't get me to shut up. I was filled with more tips about the editorial life than I even knew I knew. And it felt so right, it felt back to the best moments of HWJ, where I really felt the groove of right-place-right-time-right-everything.
Of course, I am always happy when something wonderful happens to me, like that unexpected gift of Hunger Mountain publishing "Death by Pufferfish," but I have to tell you what feels even better to me: feeling like I am contributing toward something else. As an astute hanai-sister of mine wrote recently about herself, as a child growing up in HYOC, I too was no soloist; I was happiest when being an integral member of the many necessary working parts of the chorus. And that's still the life I am trying to make for myself today. The dreams I had in my twenties of living in exciting cities of exotic countries far away have faded into the desire for connection, for roots, for real relationships with people with whom you can always share the truthiest truth about yourself ... and they don't run away. :) The dreams I had of fame and glamorous publication-cum-being-listed-at-Oprah's-Book-Club and making some top something under some age list has been replaced with the same desire for connection, for community. Not to be known for myself and my own accomplishments as much as to be known as a working part of projects toward which I contributed.
What all of this brings me to is windows and doors (or in Suz's parlance, boxes) and openings and closings. Although I do see the wisdom in getting paid for work, I also cannot help myself. For many reasons--the sanity of my head, the need of my heart, to avoid overfocusing/stressing about fertility bullshit--I need a different focus, reframing, projects, creativity, collaboration in my life--whether I am paid in dollars or just love.
So, close the HWJ door. And shut that HYOC newsletter window. I can promise you that despite all of that closing, my imagination will stay open, will find a way through.