Shit. I know shit is bad right now. But I got a solution...
In all seriousness, this has been a horrible, terrible, awful year. Tuesday night was one more example for a lot of us, and unfortunately served as a trigger to remind me of some of the more complex and negative feelings I came to know this past July. I had hoped to never feel that amount of bewilderment, confusion, and aloneness again in my life. Tuesday does not compare to July, in terms of complexity or magnitude, but it did stir some of it back up again. There is a lot that can be said about the election, and I am not the one to do it. Partly because I am not up for it, and partly because others have said it better than I ever will be able to.
I am choosing instead to give everyone some advice based on my experiences this year. Turn off the TV. Put down your phone. Get off of Facebook. Go out to the garage, or the garden, or to the studio. Make something. Move yourself. Move others. It will make you feel better, I promise. Take those hard feelings and channel them into something beautiful. You will surprise yourself, your work will mean more to you and others than your Facebook "likes" ever will.
It is ok to be selfish when you do this. The act of being selfish, or working in your own best interests will have the reverse effect, it will help other people more than you will ever know. It may change someone else's life, it will most definitely change yours.
I have spent the past two days away from the internet. I have instead spent my non-work hours in the garage building stuff. I'm throwing myself into making a banquet table for some friends. They are paying me to do it, but the dirty little secret is that I should be paying them. Running a table saw is cheaper therapy that going to see my grief counselor. It feels so wrong to 'make a profit' on this, because the true profit I am getting is to my soul.
Creating things in my mind and realizing them with my hands puts distance between me and President-elect. It narrows the distance between me and my beloved. It brings her closer. She is with me in the garage. I feel our sorrow in Springsteen's voice on the stereo; her acceptance in the wabi sabi of the reclaimed wood grain; her knowledge and light in the reflection of the brushed steel.
We have a neighbor, Vikki, who creates deep and meaningful paintings. I talk with her once or twice a week in the course of getting the mail or taking the recycling out. These impromptu meetings always lead me down a new path of thinking about the world. I walk away from our conversations thankful and at peace. I mention Vikki because she has indirectly taught me the power of channeling your heart into a creation. In the days after we lost Melly, Vikki, in her own way, found a way to capture Melly's spirit and ease her path to the next world. She channeled the grief, the hurt, into an amazing temporary altar of thanks and remembrance for my Melissa.
Vikki was able to do it again this morning. Going against my own advice, I went on Facebook and came across a breathtaking piece that she posted today. In the post she said it captures her mood for the moment. I can say that it definitely captures mine and I think maybe yours; which is what I mean when I say be selfish. For the act of being selfish with your creation, putting yourself into it for release, is an act of selflessness. You are fixing yourself by listening to your soul, but you never know when what moves you will inspire someone else.
So get out there. Get off the couch. Forget about that scary clown for a little while. Go out there and make something.
ps/ Leonard Cohen, man. Let's turn the page on 2016. Before it is too late.
This one goes out to him.