Friday, July 14, 2006
I spent the morning looking and listening to some really wonderful photo, audio, and video work done by three of the four Hine Fellows, young women who will travel to regional and international fellowships that combine social action with documentary work. The fellowships focus on organizations that work with children.
There is a part of me that is elated by the work and by the journey these young women are about to take. I'm excited and proud that two of the fellows are a part of the program I direct -- in the past the fellowship has been given primarily to undergraduates, not participants in the Continuing Studies program.
But then, the ugly thoughts gargle in my throat -- jealousy and grief that materialize as a childish resentment -- I want to travel, I want to make art, why don't I get to go? I spent so much of my twenties mired in depression, and I am just now coming to a place where I can properly grieve that time. I used to say, quoting Dorothy Parker, "I spit on the grave of my twenties," and while the biting humor of Ms. Parker is always a comfort, it doesn't quite capture the complexity of my feelings. Though I will say, my thirties have been so much better, I can't even tell you. And for the most part, I anticipate that life will continue to improve.
Now I know, I'm only thirty-five, and my life is far from over. It's not like my twenties were the only time available to me for travel and adventure. But now, I have a beloved I treasure, a job I like, and an artistic community I value. I have good, dear friends, and a top-notch spiritual community. My parents and two grandmothers are close by. I own a house, and I'm about to buy a couch, for goodness sake. This groundedness is so important to me and I don't want to walk or fly away from my many blessings. And I know I don't have to go somewhere else to make art, or to address social concerns.
I don't live my life wishing the past was different. I have moments, and sometimes sadness overwhelms me. The years I lost to depression are worth grieving, but getting lost in grief and regret obviously doesn't let me move forward.
So there are my ugly, self involved, thoughts. Well, so what. I'm moving on.