I spent the better part of last night sitting in my studio staring at a spread I’d started that I couldn’t finish. I wanted to paint something uplifting and inspirational, something to lift me out of the funk I was in. I just didn’t have it in me, and I realized that I was trying to bypass what I was feeling (as one does) by taking some kind of action.
Once I accepted that there was no way I was going to put another mark on the page, I turned to YouTube interviews with Leonard Cohen for the latter half of the night, and let myself wallow in my grief over his passing.
I say ‘let myself’ because sometimes, I have to forcibly sit myself down and *make* myself be with what I’m feeling. Otherwise, I will sweep it all under a rug labeled ‘too busy for that’, only to be bitten by it at some later date when I’m least expecting it. This is a very human thing to do, and sometimes its a necessary thing to do – like, when things are terribly urgent and you really can’t take a moment – but I’ve learned that I’m far better served by taking the moments when I am able. My privilege provides me with plenty of those quiet, safe moments in which I can just be with myself. I own that.
It was good. I laughed some. I cried some. I’ve loved Leonard longer than I’ve loved anyone. I came to his poems first, and then his novels, and then his songs. We were born and raised in the same city, walked the same streets, ate the same smoked meat sandwiches, saw the same city lights from the same lookout point on the same mountain. My dad knew him from his days in radio, and used to run into him in Parc du Portugal on the regular, years after I’d moved away. Once, for my 35th birthday, Leonard scribbled a letter for me on a piece of lined notebook paper at my father’s request. My dad, being who he was, forgot the note in his pocked & washed it into shredded oblivion, so when he saw Leonard again, he explained himself, and Leonard, being who he was, scribbled another letter. He signed it
“Thanks for listening,
It’s one of my most treasured possessions.
I used to keep a diary entitled “Dear Leonard” in which I wrote about my life as though I was writing to him. I was pretty sure he’d get me, and it was very comforting to me to think so. I still think so, and maybe he’s listening when I say “Oh, Leonard…”.
A girl can dream.
So, it’s Monday. I’m sitting here in my pajamas (tank top, yoga shorts) drinking from my favourite mug, wondering (with a little trepidation) what this week will bring. I have things to open for registration for 2017 (so I can serve my communities & pay my rent). I have lessons to film this week, plans with family and friends and lovers, dishes to do, laundry to do, a body to feed and care for, a furbabe to love on and talk baby talk to (as one does). I live in Canada, so that’s a thing I have going for me, a thing to be grateful for.
Everything feels a little bit unreal at the moment, though, and I feel pretty numbed out. I’m tempted to withdraw from the world, now that it feels so unkind, and Leonard isn’t in it, but instead of going dark like I tend to do, instead of hiding out in my little apartment with the coffee, and the dog, and the studio full of art supplies, I’m here, waving. I’m reaching for your hand. I’m numbed out. This is my present reality. Leonard died, and the election has me terrified, and I have no idea what the fuck is going on, but I’m here.
Coffee is on. We’re in this together. I love you.
Thanks for listening,