First things first - hilarious segment on The Daily Show about Evacuation Day, which is either the day of or after Thanksgiving...apparently this was the holiday before Lincoln declared Thanksgiving Day a national holiday. You can see it here on Daily Show. Evacuation Day celebrated the day the last British troops left Manhattan in 1783 and marks the end, or close thereto of the Revolutionary War. If you want a good laugh, I suggest this.
This day has been a weird one. Lovely meal, meeting some friends of my parents and all like that, but also this melancholy in anticipation of the holidays, especially as the last Christmas had been particularly emotional and as my mother said tonight we all - she and my step-father and me and my husband all acted as a team because there were some physical difficulties and such to contend with. This is true and it was a time not only Bill and I but we and my parents were close. And to have gone from that to separation in July seems precipitous and hard to somehow reconcile.
And as we all know 'holidays' = 'family' = You Should Have One (a family) and if you are my age, you sure as shit should at least be married or have a Significant Other or whatever and not be wandering around not knowing who to put on the forms where it asks for who to contact 'in case of emergency' - and even now when you have parents still, there will come a time when you won't perhaps and then what...etc.
So that's always fun.
I then went to a meeting of people like me and talked about this, which relieved the feeling somewhat, and made me grateful for such basics as: I'm alive and I'm not actively killing myself through addictive behaviour.
I should add that before this day began I slept for something like 11 hours, and am about to go off and do the same again. Sleeping is great and the older I get the more holidays are about this - sleep, rest and feel all the pent up shit I haven't had time to feel.
Finally, I want to say that even though I am sad and angry and frustrated and all kinds of other things, I don't feel I need to sit around in camp grief anymore. This is probably the biggest change. Even though, hilariously enough, I feel guilty about that like I'm somehow disappointing my therapist in London who I don't even see anymore or I may become - gasp - shallow - if I'm not crying all the time or taking any opportunity that I feel sad to cry all night. I called bullshit on that last night before going to bed. I was crying and crying and then I wanted to go to sleep. And it occurred to me, with the force of revelation: I'm allowed to stop crying. And I did and I went to sleep.
I'm not sure I entirely believe this even as I'm saying it, but some part of me said it anyway. This seems like a kind of freedom I didn't even know I had. I have valorized this sadness for so long, it feels somehow irresponsible to let it go. But, as sad as I still am and as many tears as I may still yet need to cry, it does not have to take over my life.
For me anyhow...because it took so long to allow the tears in the first place I think I'm afraid if I don't cry a lot I'll forget how or something.
This reminds me of what happened when I was having a massage a couple weeks ago and realized: it's not the sadness I'm repressing, it's the happiness.
I know I still have a lot of tears, I can feel them welling up as I write this, but there's more to the story. I really feel that, too. I've felt doomed for so many years because this woman looked at me once, startled, when I was 18 and said 'you will know a lot of suffering in your life' and I laughed nervously when she said that and added 'yes, but a lot of joy, too.' I don't know why I said that, but I meant it.
I would officially like to say - as of today- goodbye to the sense of dread I have had ever since that woman said that to me over 30 years ago and begin embracing my own prediction of a lot of joy, too.
Let it be. I pray that this can come next. Or even, like, now.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone. Gratitude is always a good place to start. Thank you for reading this, whoever is doing so, thanks to the universe for food, clothing, friends, heat, basic good health, some amazing places to go to heal for free, books, art, a gorgeous autumn and my lovely cat, Ugo, and the cats I had who have died and knowing Vickie who died last week (God/desses bless her and may she be how where she deserves, which is somewhere beautiful and kick-ass where people have amazing red hair and a damn good sense of humor) and my parents now in the form in which they manifest and even for all the other stuff because it's what makes me who I am...(and also, for some reason, I feel compelled to add to this list David Foster Wallace for being such a great writer, teacher and person who really should be alive and isn't and that sucks but in whose honor and Vickie's I want to promise to find a way to find something beautiful in every day I live from here on out...it's a gift this life...a real unearned gift)
Peace out and all like that.
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.