I feel like I owe you an explanation about why I’m wearing my hair in a ponytail for the 384th day in a row. But you know why. Maybe your own hair has been in a braid or under a cap, awaiting the day when hair matters again.
I feel like I owe you a neat little roundup of how I’ve been managing this global pandemic. Or the murder of George Floyd. Or the wreck our former president has left behind for us. I continue to wake up and think, “What the fuck just happened?”
I feel like we need better words. Like we don’t yet have a name for the things we’re going through or the stage of grief that hasn’t appeared yet.
I feel like I owe you a dozen hugs and a nice long handholding on some porch swing while we soothe each other with sighs and nods and we’re-gonna-make-its. Mystery is beautiful, but also lonely sometimes. We’ve all had to learn how to welcome it, haven’t we?
Maybe this is why I’ve fallen into artmaking recently. I want to practice allowing whatever’s next to appear. Yes, even that – the ridiculous, the tragic, the awful, unrefined truth. I want to practice not having everything figured out, not having a contingency plan for every little thing. I want to get comfortable with the messiness, the absolute chaos of it all and finding myself in a place where skill won’t help me one bit – only courage. I want to be ok with wasting paint on a thousand pages. I want to practice surviving those thousand moments of mystery so perhaps, one day, I won’t cling so tightly to my expectations.
Artwork: gouache abstract by Cynthia Berg, 2021