And yet: some things to be grateful for.
- We went to the AGO and saw the Jean-Michel Basquiat retrospective and the Art Spiegelman exhibit. It was an interesting study in comparisons: two artists, working in a larger framework of cultural damage (being black in America; the Holocaust) and from artistic traditions (street art and comic strips, respectively) that aren't often seen in a gallery setting. Two men, powerfully influential and also still outside the art-world box. And then the discussion afterwards, over a mountain of Chinese food, with my husband and our friends—smarty-pants all—who know about art and who could also let me be an expert about hip-hop culture and Maus, both of which I studied Talmudically in my early twenties. It was super fun. (Also, the chance to think about my dad. Maus is heavily dad-driven, and after I read it for the first time in university, I gave a copy to my own father. I don't know if he read it or not, but the act of giving that book to him feels powerful to me. I love my dad.)
- The changing shape of my work. That's all I'll saw about it for now, but things suddenly feel looser, and more buoyant. I can't even put into words how much of a relief that is.
- Writing! Oh man, writing more—and, more importantly, getting to know the community of writers who work at Torontoist, where I do some freelance work—has been so effin' nice. I often feel like a fraud when I introduce myself as a writer, but I didn't. I don't. It's possible to make that happen.
- My husband. We are strange and lovely humans, and we are strange and lovely together. I dance, he sings, and we are our silly, grumpy, loving, cuddling, devoted selves. Years ago, in the early stages of being a couple, M and I went to a bar with friends, and before he went up to order, he offered to get me a glass of water. My friend turned to me and said, slightly disbelieving, "He offers to get you water? Man, that guy is a keeper." And he is.
- Even though I don't currently fit into my last-summer, biking-every-day clothes (quelle surprise), and I haven't done cardio in, oh, weeks, I've been rock climbing twice in the last month. It's challenging, and not in the way I expected. The first time I went, I struggled a lot with needing to be good—despite never having climbed before, I thought I would somehow be a natural. As it turns out, I was quite bad at it. Like, not good at all. And having to get up in front of all these muscled dudes and chalked-up ladies, who were Spidermaning around the gym, was so intimidating. I hated feeling like a beginning. I hated that I so obviously was a beginner.
But the next time we went, I felt differently. I hit a goal—reaching a particular handhold that even a few weeks before was utterly impossible. My legs didn't ache as I worked my way across the wall. I chatted with some of the people in the crowd—people, as it turned out, who were just as new to the whole thing as I was. And I felt proud of myself. I was accepting my experience as it was, not as I wanted it to be. That felt powerful, and good. And, unlike bouldering, like a transferable skill.
- Last weekend, my dad asked me if my husband had replaced him and my mom as the most important person in my life. I have to admit, I hesitated; the love-hierarchy implied in that question made me feel edgy. My answer was that I am the prime minister of my own life, and I have all these cabinet members who support me and give me guidance in different areas of my life: my partner, my parents, my siblings, my friends, the authors I read, the role models I choose. I'm so incredibly lucky to have a full and knowledgeable cabinet surrounding me.