Do you ever have those days that just seem to get lost? I had one of those today. I think what I did was look for a place to live mostly on the internet, felt discouraged and didn't really move forward there. But didn't do anything else I needed to do except get my hair done and went to meet with friends for sanity's sake. I got incredibly wet in a downpour. I came back home and wondered: what happened to this day?
Those days, these days, seem to get eaten alive by the internet mostly. But I end up feeling anxious rather than relaxed when I realize a day has been spent doing Something but I am not entirely sure what, because nothing is there to show for it.
I could not focus on writing because became overwhelmed with anxiety about where to live, but can't seem to find a way to make that work right now either. I know I need to do fun things like taxes and feel a physical repulsion thereto...I think we have a word for this and that would be: procrastination...laziness with more syllables.
But I do remember now what started my confusion - I walked out into our/my lovely garden and it made me cry, realizing I would lose it soon...and that sent me off into a whirl of sadness. I then meditated and thought I should just leave the house and try to find a new place, but instead decided otherwise because I flipped a coin - seriously - and that gave me a different direction. Sometimes when confused about actions or motives, I make amazing amounts of decisions by flipping coins. Not sure if this is a good or bad thing, but it is true and kind of embarrassing to admit. It at least gives me a barometer of my confusion.
So, obviously the clarity I was feeling yesterday has evaporated. I guess this is normal considering everything going on and the levels of grieving I'm experiencing....but I hate it. I really, really hate it.
Here's hoping tomorrow brings me a little more sense of direction or at least a way to relax into the lack of clarity if that's necessary. Right now I feel like a little girl being turned around blindfolded before trying to pin the tail on the donkey at someone else's birthday party.
Wish I had something more brilliant than that to say, but the fact is I don't. My hair looks good though...
Oh, that reminds me that when waiting for my hair to bake into the proper color, I was reading those horrendous 'women's' magazines and realized there is a consistent theme to the self-help and dime-store psychology of the articles: look at yourself, but not Too deeply. There is a kind of implicit panic at the idea of anything which may require work or lead to any extended period of sadness. And I think when reading this no wonder everyone and their brother takes anti-depressants or drinks too much or whatever - there's this unremitting pressure to be 'ok' and 'happy' and I find that deeply annoying. As if there is some narrow field in which we are all meant to operate that is as interesting in shape as a cut-out paper doll. Which, if you are a fashion magazine, is kind of perfect come to think of it.
May I just take a moment to advocate therefore for: intensive therapy when it's necessary, allowing yourself time to grieve any loss, and feel the intense joy of being alive when that process has happened, allowing yourself to feel every tiny inch of yourself, the light and dark and everything in between and accepting it no matter how seemingly icky or big or small or weird....and knowing that no matter how cutesy a little paper doll version of yourself may be, it's going to be boring and ultimately replaceable...unlike what really makes up you who are precious and irreplaceable.
This reminds me of a story recounted at a good friend's memorial service, and apologies if I've already mentioned it earlier, that Martin Buber tells about a Rabbi Zusya who when he is near death realizes that when he meets God, he will not be asked "Why were you not more like Moses?" but instead "Why were you not more like Zusya?"
Which is of course another version of the African prayer: It is. Thank you.
So I suppose I need to accept myself in the confused state I exist in now and this day as a vague one and trust that it is all OK. I feel the sadness underneath everything right now. I want clarity to take it away I think. On the other hand, I don't want to just live in a film of fuzz either....
We shall see what tomorrow brings....in the meantime, thanks for reading and listening.
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. While felt blessed for the opportunity, after four years of this, the lack of pay combined with heavy work load stopped working, so have transferred this teaching passion to private workshops in my own apartment and working with writers one on one, which I adore. I will die a happy person if I never have to grade an assignment ever again.
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 a new book recently completed.
I am now working full-time as a freelance writer, writing workshop leader, coach, and editor. Contact me if you are interested in any of these services.
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. You can also contact me through that site.