I don't know about you, but my body has a way of just shutting the fuck down when I am running myself ragged. After a weirdly productive yet endless day of getting stuff from Maine for my apartment delivered by my step-niece (thanks Alison!), going to a meeting and then back to get yet more stuff needed for my apartment at Home Goods (pillows, rugs, etc.), I wondered why I was so frantic and then realized I had done the unthinkable: I had forgotten to meditate in the morning (aka crack of noon). Finally got to sleep, then woke up at 8am (very unusual for me) with a pounding headache, which quickly was followed by a panic attack about the headache then getting sick in all directions (too much information, I'm sorry...but if you've been reading this blog, you should be used to that by now)...then flopping down to sleep again. My neighbor left me gingerale and crackers outside my door, which was a life saver and another friend came by and brought me chicken soup and applesauce and such...
Then I spent 2 days inside my apartment, much needed time to get better but also just sit and do nothing. On Sunday I sat and meditated for over 2 hours. My only goal was to stop running around like a lunatic or even spastically check my various email accounts, etc. I succeeded for the most part.
Yesterday going to the grocery store and the dollar store almost did me in. But was up late last night looking through old photos - in part for the grandmother project - in part because I'm in touch now with an old friend from high-school days and some folks from college, too...so it's a journey through the past.
Was depressed last night going through the photos because I see so much that I have lost - two husbands, my youth, my ability to have children, two theater companies and many homes. This pattern was set early in life when I had had three fathers by the age of 7 and countless homes. But there were moments in my adult life where the pause button was set. An apartment in NYC I lived in for 10 years, being the record stability achievement. Followed by a house in London for 5 years. However in both cases, these places were tied to relationships that would ultimately break down.
So, my thoughts were running in this direction...but then I started putting photos up on another bulletin board of my grandmother, Jani, and my mother when she was a child and another photo of Jani and me, which made me cry. I don't know where this project is going. But it's going. And it's mine and I think that's kind of where I am now.
I woke up today feeling weirdly OK, no sense of panic or dread or immediate depression. A strange inability to print out a tax form I need to send in, but that's normal. I have some strange repulsion against paperwork of certain types, completely irrational because there's no big deal involved but somehow printing out a form seems like an insurmountable task...
But in the larger sense, OK.
I guess it's when I accept that my life is this strange mix of accomplishments and letting go - sometimes productively, sometimes probably just bailing, I don't know, then I'm OK. Also acknowledging in moments of sanity how much rest I actually need right now. I keep forgetting that.
The good news from the past couple of days is that I enjoy my new place so much that 2 days stuck inside did not seem like a sentence in prison, though there was one day of pretty loud music that almost drove me mad. However, I discovered I was not alone and there was a group effort to shut this person down. Somehow, that alone kept me from losing it. I was afraid I was going to be The Problem White Chick in the building who didn't like blasting merengue from 4pm to 3am but it turns out that is a post-racial issue. No one likes it. Thank the gods and goddesses.
So, here I am...with my photos and my writing. Wondering who in the world I might be (to quote Joni Mitchell sort of...) at the odd age of 49. On the cusp of the Boomers and the Xers - neither nor both and somewhere in between, haven't built a Family or a Career in any linear way but have also done a lot of stuff, most of it involving theater and writing, some photography and art, a lot of conversations with people like me who have to talk a lot to keep from self-destructing and some teaching. Is that a life? Does that count? It doesn't Look like it's supposed to Look at this age.
But then again, dear Gods when has it ever looked the way it's supposed to look in my life, like ever? I am fairly certain that the key here is acceptance, as it usually is. Not acquiescence but acceptance of the facts on the ground. I have tried so many times to build Something in order to Build Something, whether it's with a person or artistically and in some cases that was a good idea and in some cases it wasn't, but somehow I fear/feel something of me was missing. Not always but somewhere along the way I got lost. There is some ground work I am doing now that I've managed to avoid for this long. Playing dodge ball with myself as it were. Why? Who the fuck knows. There are many pat answers to that but not sure it's really that important.
What matters is this now. This time. To not jump into Something in order to do that - whether it's a project, a relationship, a job or whathaveyou. This seems precipitously strange to say at 49 and like it's something someone does at 21 but there you have it. I missed that bit. And it's coming back to bite me in the ass.
In honor of John Lennon's birthday: you've got to feel your own pain. Speaking of which, do you realize he would only be 72 now if that asshole hadn't shot him? Damn.
This is a long and rambling post and I have to get prepared to teach now so will wrap it up. As they say it's only a happy or sad ending depending on where you stop the film.
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.