because I've been in schools as a student or educator for the vast majority of my life, to me the year begins in september and ends in june. (i realize this means that the summer doesn't exist, but when you are in school it is a special weird space that is magical...getting older has meant that this magical time either is just a hot, continuation of normal time or an anxiety-filled stew of oh god i need a job)
yesterday was my last day of school for the year. my first year of my playwriting MFA is over.
yesterday, as i struggled to find the mental energy to focus on finishing a paper, i was thinking about how september feels so far away both in time and in life. i know that is a weird distinction...but what i mean by that is that the charly who existed in september feels different than the charly i am today.
in september i wasn't sure i'd get here. to today. may 26th. honestly, i was sure i'd succumb to the feelings that took precedence over everything else.
honestly i am a little surprised that they didn't.
i spent a lot of this school year angry that it was overshadowed by my breakup and the ensuing struggle to find my footing again. i spent a lot of time hoping i'd write the world's best new play as a response and then was angry at myself when i didn't.
this was not how i wanted my MFA to go. this was not how i wanted to present myself to playwrights i respect. this is not how i wanted my first year to really focus on writing to be.
but life is funny like that...it rarely ever allows you to do the thing the way you want to do it.
probably for the best.
there was so much discomfort this year, but there was also so much laughter and pleasure. i am indebted to my classmates for their compassion and friendship. i am grateful to have gained them when i lost my best friend. i laugh sometimes because i didn't want to get my MFA. i didn't want to apply. it was my ex who pushed me to do it. sometimes i wonder if he knew he'd be leaving me eventually...and was giving me something in his place. i know that's ridiculous, but the way we rationalize things rarely makes logical sense. on the days i hate going to school, i silently curse him for getting me into this mess. but last night, as i drunkenly looked at my classmates as we sat in benihana for HOURS, i was grateful he got me into this mess.
i didn't do my best work this year. i just didn't. i know i didn't. but i did the best i could considering i was dealing with life work that just felt more important.
i still am.
a high school friend of mine has shifted careers and has started offering tarot card readings and more. i asked her to do a check in for me the other day and as i sat on my couch listening to her recording of the reading on tuesday night, i quietly cried. she doesn't know me that well and so doesn't know the details of my last year. and the first thing she noted was that i have come out of a time when i felt i couldn't speak my truth--and probably really needed to--and i kept it in until i couldn't anymore. she noted that whatever it was, whatever happened, was a hugely transformative experience.
she noted that i am in a time of transition. and that it seems like i want to rush it.
i started laughing. oh man. how right on she is. i want to rush through it all. i want to find the love, i want to get the production, i want to get the new dog, i want to get to happiness.
she also noted that it seems like i am really struggling to deal with the unknown. like really struggling.
my therapist and i talk about this every week.
lastly she said that all i can sort of do is relax and surrender. "you're not done baking yet," she said.
this friend did not tell me anything that i hadn't already felt and known deep down. i can feel that i can still figuring myself out post everything that happened this last year. i can feel that i am not ready for some things despite my yearning for them. i can feel the fear that eats away at me, the lies that tell me i don't deserve things. i can feel it all.
this year i felt it all.
in september, when i could manage to imagine what may would look like, i imagined victory. i imagined looseness. i imagined love and dancing and freedom. i imagined no traces of depression and anxiety and loss of self and pain and...
i didn't imagine the sadness i felt on sunday as i washed dishes and felt so fucking lonely and useless that i wanted to hide in the closet. but, to be fair, i also didn't imagine the lovely note i got from a high school acquaintance about how she loves my work just moments after i finished those dishes.
i didn't imagine the stress i felt all semester, but i also didn't imagine running three half marathons in three months and having them be the three fastest halfs i've ever run.
i didn't imagine crying as i listened to a familiar voice touch on so many of the feelings that i have right now, but i also didn't imagine i'd be crying not because of heartbreak, but because i felt seen by someone, understood.
this is not the year i would have chosen. it certainly was not the year i imagined at different points along the way. and honestly, i am at a point that i struggle to imagine--not because it is painful, but because i truly have no idea what is coming next. the unknown feels so palpable. it feels like it is surrounding me. and its scary, but also a bit exciting.
because in the unknown are friends and growth and change and energy.
because in the unknown are crazy experiences and "oh my god, i actually did that" experiences.
because in the unknown are moments like saturday...when i was expecting to run the brooklyn half slower than my previous two half marathons because i just wasn't feeling all that great...and instead i run my fastest half ever and beyoncé's freedom started playing for the last 400 meters and i literally crossed the finish line as she was singing "IMMA KEEP RUNNING CAUSE A WINNA DOESN'T QUIT ON THEMSELVES" and i believed that the universe actually has a plan and knows what she is doing and i should just go with it.
so. i'm going to try this surrendering thing because if i learned anything this school year, it is that i really have no fucking clue what's going to happen and that i am still baking--as a person, as a playwright--and so back in the oven i go.
(still if someone could tell me what is going to happen, that'd be great. thanks)