With this week being Thanksgiving week, I did a lot of reflecting on who and what I was grateful for…because if I would have had the opportunity to my previous self LAST Thanksgiving where I would be in a year…I would have scoffed it off as science fiction.
Last year I was in a serious committed relationship to a man who was getting his doctorate in pedagogy — I thought I couldn’t have found anyone more perfect. I was also making more money per hour as a freelance contractor than I have in my whole career — I thought I couldn’t be more successful. And I had a wonderfully full schedule full of friends and events — I thought I couldn’t be having more fun in life. Not that any of the above was not true…but at the same time, I was having an existential crisis. I wasn’t happy.
Friends told me I was just afraid of being happy or not used to it “having it all,” based on my tumultuous upbringing. But I specifically remember posing for a picture at the Thanksgiving table with my paramour that my best friend was taking, and remember looking at my expression on the screen image and seeing the posed emotion and the fake facade. Little did I know, by that next summer, I would pulling out all the weeds…and then all of the flora and fauna…in the flower bed that was my Arizona life.
Love affair blown to smithereens.
Lucrative job and demanding clients bid “adieu.”
Friends and family were all scheduled for one last drink or meal.
Most earthly belongings sold for pennies on the dollar.
Not having ANY IDEA that I would be moving to a place that I never been to find so many things I have been searching for.
I am thankful to have found community arts, it feels like all my searching and collecting of experiences and ruminating and listlessness were ALL for something. I feel like all of my life experiences — professional, personal, societal, educational — all came together in synchronicity for this. I don’t know how some of my cohort counterparts are handling this highly intense and personal program at their stages in life…because I don’t know how I would have handled all of this at a younger age than now.
- I am thankful for Miss Paula for her ability to get underneath people’s armor so quickly and casually — I aspire to be so poignant and sensitive.
- I am thankful for Mr. Ken for his honesty and his fortitude, he also jerked the wheel out of a conventional artist life to become a pioneer in an ever evolving field — I hope to walk in his footsteps and make good progress with the good works he has laid before me.
- I am thankful for Miss Shiela who pushes to make us all uncomfortable in a way that we are happy about — I wish to bring the same bravery she has to my classroom.
- I am thankful for Miss K who has the most unwavering optimism and undying love for children — I hope to keep, at least, 10% of that energy for myself.
- I am thankful for Mr. Dominic and to have the exposure to such a revolutionary — I aspire to learn even more from his experience and bring what he brings to the Baltimore community
- I am thankful to have a “client” and elder as Mr. Glenn Ross, he has truly created a cat’s cradle with his 40+ years of community work and education — I have a strong drive to do everything I — marketing-ly — can to get him elected so he can do some awesome change for Baltimore legislation.
- I am thankful to have a wonderful mentor and boss as Miss Laura Cohen, she has a wonderfully honed direction and theology of community arts and art education that keeps me both grounded and inspired — I am motivated to afix myself to she and OpenWorks.
I am the most chaotic in schedule and living arrangements, but I am more organized than I ever was before. I have the fewest amount of friends in Baltimore than I have had in my life, but I have never been closer to the ones I have. I am making less money than I think I did in college, but I so far less worried about money and feel more secure than I have been in years. I am so very thankful I have this lovely Baltimore opportunity.