In September my wife asked for a divorce. In October I moved out of my home in Carrboro, to Durham, NC. November, my book arrived.
All these events were rather stunning. But I am a student of chaos and a lover of change, so in this regard I was well-prepared.
My father and I were talking about design this morning, how he’s jazzed about designing emergency and temporary shelter. Mind you, he’s in his eighties, but you can’t stop an engineer. Just this same morning I admonished him: “Stop lurking!” as I was making coffee. An engineer always has a way of doing it better.
I, similarly, had been thinking about a Tiny House plan. “There’s plans on the web you can buy,” he says. Well that’s no fun! And besides, it’s not like I have any money. But living in a room for some months has allowed me this insight: I like living in small spaces. I’d love to have a house I can travel around in.
“I don’t know that that would be good for you,” says Pop. “You need community.”
He’s right. I do. I think the photos readers have sent to me is a testament to this–the kind of knottings of community I’m tied to. These times are atroublin’ and while a fantasy of driving around in my tiny home, meeting and greeting new folk, writing and documenting, is alluring (and could maybe happen), I need my people.
I rely heavily on census; my 12 step training has me texting and calling and messaging for insight, answers, connection. I maintain regular coffee/dinner dates with my closest pals. As a person who savors his alone time (and is possibly lazy), I relish the technologies that enable me to be in my bed with a cat, and a sandwich, some of which will no doubt be on my cheek and chin because I am apparently a disgusting eater, talking to several people at once. The idea that technology somehow distances us may be true for some folks but for me it is a lifeline.
I say all this because it’s the holidays. Ordinarily I am beset with grief during this time, my failure as a daughter/son/sister/brother acute, my lack of travel/gift funds grinding, the memories of Christmas horrors dancing in my head. You can’t have spent many a holiday hiding in a bathroom nearly overdosing from drugs you bought with Christmas cash, and not feel a little shame. My family, exhausted by both this behavior, and my egregious entitlement to their largesse and hospitality, isn’t always thrilled to share their holiday with me.
So that’s painful.
But now, in 2016, on the cusp of a New Order, these interior moments of self-serving suffering seem positively charming. What a luxury, to feel so sad! Now we are facing a real catastrophe, true suffering.
Let us hold one another. Let us hold one another accountable. Let us eschew formality and fear of rejection and intimacy and let’s just go for it. We need Love infusions. I know, I know, some of you don’t want hugs and kisses–well I will hug and kiss you with words. You can’t stop me. I don’t need your consent to love you.
And to the haters? You may have my love abstractly. I recognize in you the spark of the divine, and the suffering that ego and fear brings. Boy am I familiar with ego and fear! But I’m not chasing you. I’m going to tie all the knots of community I can together. In 2017 I will be the master spider weaver, arachnid in my efforts, cunning in my ability to identify a threat and envelope it in silk. And my web will be sticky with honey, compelling by love, a place for you to rest and restore. And we will wrap one another in this silken thread, all of us, until we are enormous, and one.
We will be a force to be reckoned with.