Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Going Home

I have moved...back in with my parents...

That is how much I wanted to get out of Richmond. That, and I'm planning on moving to San Francisco to finish school, and because it's awesome. Have you ever met someone from San Francisco  who you didn't like? I haven't. No one ever says, "Ugh, San Francisco, I never want to go back there."It's not Mississippi. 

It's certainly been a transition, one that I've been avoiding by not being home as much as possible. I moved Halloween weekend, in the sleet, with a migraine, so it more terrible than moving usually is -- never mind all the little things, the miscommunications, the lack of communication. It got done, and we all sat down for beef stew my mother made for everyone else because I don't eat beef, she had prepared the freezer and packed it with vegetarian lasagna.

The next 48 hours were spent mostly moping and reconsidering all of my life choices. 

Fortunately I had made plans to be in San Francisco the first week of November, my birthday is the 3rd and I really needed to be relax. Though my idea of relaxing usually just means avoiding people I don't want to talk to and keeping myself busy elsewhere, which is exactly what I did.

I'd arranged to meet with the admissions advisor at the school I will hopefully be attending, and let the few people I know there know I would be in town, but mostly I just wanted to explore. I had visited in the Spring of last year as well and I wanted to do the things I didn't get to do last time on this trip.

Anton, Karin, Me and Timon after lunch in Golden Gate Park.

After a very long and unnerving taxi ride into the city with a dead cell phone and a cabbie who didn't know how to use his GPS or speak English, I finally got to my hostel, cried, and fell asleep. The morning was much happier and after meeting a couple of my roommates and a couple of dudes at breakfast, four of us decided to rent bikes and make our way across the Golden Gate Bridge. I had not packed anything for this type of activity, and biking 22 miles in skinny black cotton pants was not my favorite thing, but it was well worth while. Now, the city is famously seven miles by seven miles, we had figured we had gone maybe 15 miles, and then we pulled up Google Maps and marked the multiple circles we had made on accident.

I had set up an appointment with the Admissions Advisor (AA) for the next morning and managed to find it without getting lost and made decent time walking. AA and I talked for almost two hours. TWO HOURS. I like to think that this is a good thing, though perhaps I totally blew it. She invited me to sit in on a class the next day, so I'm guessing I didn't blow it. The class was small maybe ten students, and everyone was actively engaged and supportive in offering constructive criticism of each others' work. I fell in love, as I knew I would, with everything -- the students, the teachers, the smallness of it all within such a large city -- it was perfect. The community created there was shat I should have looked for when applying to schools four years ago. If only I had been somewhere, or been exposed to anything. My parents wanted me close, and I have found close to be a miserable place. 

It was my birthday and I had spent most of it wandering around Chinatown after the class. I don't particularly like Chinatown, most of the things there creep me out, but some of the things are also entertaining. My favorite was definitely the "erotic art" that had been etched into various surfaces and shapes and molded into what I can only guess were bookmarks and paperweights. Though, I am no scholar of erotic artwork, so I'm probably wrong. However, shop keepers do not enjoy loiterers snapping photos of their wares to tweet. Erotic art is serious business. 

That evening I had dinner by myself at a tiny, dirty burger place that offered veggie options (I may not eat meat, but I eat veggie burgers all the time) before heading to The Mission to meet my one friend that was in town. He was out with two of his coworkers, and between the three of them my glass didn't get empty. We ended up hopping around until we went to a particularly terrible bar that was having some sort of electronic dance night, I think, I'm not completely sure, BUT there was dancing and I got to dance and my friend is an excellent dancer, and I could not have asked for a better birthday. (Thanks, guys!)

My last day was spent between bed and getting lost on the Embarcadero followed by wandering around downtown in a haze in an effort to make myself do anything aside from sleep.

The idea that I will be living there is one that I still haven't quite wrapped my head around. It's beautiful, and the urgency and support shared by everyone there is unlike anywhere I've been. I keep waking up and missing my studio in Richmond, and then I remind myself that I gave it up because I want so much more, and I'm going to have it, soon(ish).

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Letting Go

"I haven't posted anything in two months."
"I know."

I write, and then I delete it, and then I start over and then I end up crying and falling asleep. I'd like to post more, I would, but I really hate crying, and writing anything worthwhile, usually results in tears and me making really terrible faces.

"I'm not ready to not be part of my family yet, and I can't do that to them."
"But that's what art is."
"You don't understand, I can't stand my family, but they're not bad people and there are things that all of them don't know and I don't want to say anything yet."

Sam is an only child, but has a lot of cousins on both sides of his family. I am the youngest of five and have two cousins on each side, I don't really know any of them. But as my siblings have all spawned the feelings at family gatherings have certainly shifted. It's more hectic, but generally we, the adults are better behaved than we were a few years ago. Perhaps though this is just a phase my family is going through. 

But they really don't like me writing about them. That's really hard for me. Because it's my nature to share, and overshare. Last Christmas things got crazy and my sister *August requested that I change her name. I get that, I do, and she and I didn't talk for a few months after that, but part of me really wants to not care. That part of me wants to say, "if you really loved me, you'd recognize that this is something I have to do" - and eventually I will, but I haven't yet. 

I went to New York this week and when I got back I noticed that my dad had made some changes to the computer (he's anti-wifi, long story) and I went downstairs to get him. 

"You changed the password? I can't update anything. I'm so pissed."
"That's it! I don't have to help you. Not if you're going to use that kind of language."

Pissed. That was the word that he was upset over, this, the man who routinely went on angry tirades while I was growing up. The man who used many a name, including a variety of fun four letter words in my direction growing up. 

 I pulled him back and he told me to not use that kind of language, again, and I told him to come back upstairs.

"I didn't hear you say 'Please.'"

He put in the password and then told me the password.

"I didn't do anything bad to you."
"When you were growing up. You act like I did all these things to you."
"What are you going on about, you did do lots of awful things to all of us."
"I don't remember them."
"You called me a 'fucking ungrateful twit' when I was sixteen because I had forgotten where the remote was."
"I don't remember that."
"You threw a tea set at me because I forgot to put it away and it broke as it his the wall behind me. I was five."
"I guess I've blocked all that out, I try to remember the good things."
"I do, too. It's just hard sometimes. And you're not like that now."
"I hope you've written this down."
"Not all of it. And I haven't published it because you're not the asshole you were then. I haven't wanted to hurt anyone."
"You need to write it all down."

And I will, but I'll include the good parts, too. Those existed, but it's hard growing up and going to the park and having a great time and not knowing what will set anyone off. Or going to the zoo, or bowling or piano lessons. There were so many rules, some I didn't even know about until I had broken them.

"You should probably be in therapy."
"I was for years, and things are a lot better when I'm not around you and mom."
"Maybe you should go back."

He's probably right, but more than anything I feel like I don't have to hold on to things anymore. Part of that is really scary, but everything feels so much better when it's shared.