So, here I am in the U.S. for the 4th of July for the first time in years, 8 to be precise. We will be going to a picnic with my cousin's friends, a tradition for over 15 years, then to fireworks...we were even going to do baseball, but it was just too damn hot and the idea of frying while watching the game appealed to none of us. Instead, Darcy and I got to have a heart to heart lunch, which was a much more enjoyable way to spend the early afternoon.
There are many children and people outside this room, and I am so full of emotion, I am hiding out here and writing. It is so healing to be able to talk with someone who can both hold vulnerability and show vulnerability. I feel blessed to have a cousin like Darcy and we both wish we had been sisters, but at least we have found our connection in adult life, and that is no small thing (as I turn a British phrase...)
The irony of this being a day of US independence from Britain has not gone unnoticed by me (though clearly my language is embedded in England according to that last double negativized phrase). I continue to feel through the options of 'should I stay or should I go' - answer still hazy at this time, etc. I really need to see how London feels when I get back there. Glad I at least know that much.
I was surprised talking with Darcy about how much I enjoy spending time with her children how much sadness I still have about not having children of my own. Her understanding of what a hole that is for me allowed me to feel this and cry about it, which was healing. I feel I haven't had that in a long time, for whatever reason. Somehow she and I can allow each other space for our feelings and that is so precious to me.
I think it's time to go be sociable again. Will write more after official July 4th celebrations.
Here's my brain while watching fireworks in St. Paul:
wow, this is nice - look at all these people - fireworks are pretty, it's time to come home - home - is this home? why are the black people and white people standing in different groups? why is it so brutal here? what about the pharmaceutical companies and health insurance companies making profits and the states arresting women having stillborn babies? but I feel at home here and I love my cousin and her family and look the kids are so excited....but can you live here? what if you get sick? you won't have health insurance...there's no social safety net...you'll die...but if I stay somewhere I never feel at home, then what? will I die in a different way? do I need to go with my internal promptings or is that too rash? wow, that firework was nice, look at all these families...I don't have a family, not like this...but I do have love and friends and some bits of family... independence day, independence day....how much more freedom can we endure? but I love this place and I should fight for it, I have ancestors who signed the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution...isn't it worth fighting for? Chinese people invented fireworks, they will rule everything soon, will those kids I saw with extreme haircuts in Xiamen finally overthrow the dictatorship? Hope so. Why are so many Americans so stupid about so many things? Why do Americans seem to believe in God so much more than British people? It's a good thing and a bad thing....
I am very tired now, and seeing that little thought process, which sums up probably about 30 seconds of time should give you some idea why at the end of any given day I would be tired.
I am beginning to seriously dread my return to London now and having to make real life decisions. Having to leave the cocoon of being on the road and in limbo. I want to feel through my decisions, yes, but I will also have to start making them. I am scared of that and deeply sad...so sad I can't allow myself to feel all of it right now. I know that and that's OK. I just hope I don't take it out on others.
Oh, should say before fireworks went to a party of Darcy's friends and had a lovely time, though felt a bit odd as one of the very few people without a family there, and the bittersweet experience of seeing longtime groups of friends. They were open and welcoming but also share history, and so I'm looking in from the outside. Not tuning up the violins here, just talking about the point of view. However, the sadness again about not having children did come up.
Tomorrow is my last day here, and I hope to savor it. And now to much needed sleep....
Welcome to my blog..
"We struggle with dream figures and our blows fall on living faces." Maurice Merleau-Ponty
When I started this blog in 2011, I was in a time of transition in my life between many identities - that of Artistic Director of a company (Apocryphal Theatre) to independent writer/director/artist/teacher and also between family identity, as I discover a new family that my grandfather's name change at the request of his boss in WWII hid from view - a huge Hungarian-Slovak contingent I met in 2011. Please note in light of this the irony of the name of my recently-disbanded theatre company. This particular transition probably began in the one month period (Dec. 9, 2009-Jan. 7, 2010) in which I received a PhD, my 20 year old cat died on my father's birthday and then my father, who I barely knew, died too. I was with him when he died and nothing has been the same since. This blog is tracing the more conscious elements of this journey and attempt to fill in the blanks. I'm also writing a book about my grandmothers that features too. I'd be delighted if you joined me. (Please note if you are joining mid-route, that I assume knowledge of earlier posts in later posts, so it may be better to start at the beginning for the all singing, all dancing fun-fair ride.) In October 2011, I moved back NYC after living in London for 8 years and separated from my now ex-husband, which means unless you want your life upended entirely don't start a blog called Somewhere in Transition. In November 2011, I adopted a rescue cat named Ugo. He is lovely. As of January 2012, I began teaching an acting class at Hunter College, which is where one of my grandmothers received a scholarship to study acting, but her parents would not let her go. All things come round…I began to think it may be time to stop thinking of my life in transition when in June 2012 my stepfather Tom suddenly died. Now back in the U.S. for a bit, I notice, too, my writing is more overtly political, no longer concerned about being an expat opining about a country not my own. I moved to my own apartment in August 2012 and am a very happy resident of Inwood on the top tip of Manhattan where the skunks and the egrets roam in the last old growth forest on the island.
I am now transitioning into being married again with a new surname (Barclay-Morton). John is transitioning from Canada to NYC and as of June 2014 has a green card. So transition continues, but now from sad to happy, from loss to love...from a sense of alienation to a sense of being at home in the world.
As of September 2013 I started teaching writing (composition and rhetoric) as an adjunct professor at Fordham University, which I have discovered I love with an almost irrational passion. So blessed for the opportunity and hope to find a more permanent job doing same.
I worked full time on the book thanks to a successful crowd-funding campaign in May 2014 and completed it at two residencies at Vermont Studio Center and Wisdom House in summer 2015. I have done some revisions and am shopping it around to agents and publishers now, along with having written a rough draft of a new book and some other projects.
Not sure when transition ends, if it ever does. As the saying goes, the only difference between a sad ending and a happy ending is where you stop rolling the film.
For professional information, publications, etc., go to my linked in profile and website for Barclay Morton Editorial & Design. My Twitter account is @wilhelminapitfa. You can find me on Facebook under my full name Julia Lee Barclay-Morton. More about my grandmothers' book: The Amazing True Imaginary Autobiography of Dick & Jani
Recently, I started a website Our Grandmothers, Our Selves, which has stories about many people's grandmothers. Please check it out. I will be blogging there, too, now.