That's why I'll always stay around.
Hey friends! We don't know about you, but we're both pretty darn ready for February break, which is next week here in Massachusetts. And even though it will be a staycation (lolsob), it's a very necessary break, both for us and our respective families.
Speaking of never leaving or going almost anywhere, this week we have another throwback blog, originally posted by Mary in April of 2018. At a time when we have to be all the things at all times because there are no delineations between work and school and home and whatever else, it felt relevant.
Have you ever walked into a Container Store? There are, apparently, a lot of different kinds of containers made to contain things. The range of sizes, shapes, colors, and materials is endless. You walk in, filled with a sense of purpose about how, this time, armed with boxes and shelving units of all sizes and shapes, you’ll organize your books and clothes and, ultimately, your entire life. This is where you will learn to adult.
God, I hate it there.
Perhaps it’s the simple fact that I hate organizing. I am not averse to being organized, but please, oh please, don’t ask me to create the system. I can’t even read a menu in a linear fashion. More than three categories of things, and I panic, filling a box labeled “miscellaneous” with so much stuff, I might as well not have started organizing in the first place. Boxes of this nature, leftover from ambitious trips to the Container Store or Bed Bath and Beyond, are piled all around my house.
But perhaps it is a tangible reflection of a much deeper aversion: the need to compartmentalize oneself. I’ve grown progressively more frustrated with the idea that I ought to be a different person when I’m teaching than when I’m performing than when I’m with my husband than when I’m with my friends than when I’m with my kids…. It’s exhausting! And as coworkers become family become friends become audiences, I find that, once again, I have a number of poorly sorted boxes scattered about my heart, full to bursting. How is a person supposed to find the appropriate outfit to wear — the appropriate self to wear — in all this mess?
Pain always seems to get the back corner of the closet, doesn’t it? It’s that box you move from one apartment to the next and never open if you can help it. But when you do, you find some powerful things you forgot about, pieces of yourself that are always with you, whether you look at them or not.
The truth is, we are all of our compartmentalized selves at all times. We are active, and we are exhausted. We are well-dressed, and we are in need of a shower. We are smiling, and we are hurting. We are strong, and we are hoping someone will just hug us and hand us some tea and a blanket. None of these things change just because we don’t show them. This is the stuff of being human.
I’m not going to go to any more Container Stores for a while. Compartmentalizing my life is not serving me. Maybe it’s not serving any of us as well as we think. If you’d like to join me, I’ll be over there, resting on a massive pile of all the outfits I own and trying to figure out how to wear them all at the same time.
Last but CERTAINLY not least, here is a list of some things we're doing to learn, grow and fight systemic injustice. We invite you to join us.
Find and support some independent Black musicians. Need some suggestions of Black artists to check out? Check out Mary's Bandcamp fan page for ideas!
We love you. We miss you. You're worth it.