11 July 2016

Shut Up Kiss Me [Angel Olsen]

I have some big life changes coming around the corner. A move to a new place. A new job. A new life in a new city. All official announcements will be made once the ink has dried and my boxes have been packed. In addition to the location and career moves, my heart has also flown the coop. I spent the first half of 2016 in the company of a person that supported me, held me when I needed holding, watched my eyes light up while talking through curatorial projects, took me to museums and exhibitions, debated with me about all sorts of things that interested us, and insisted I wear a Bernie Sanders shirt to sleep in because he loved that I loved Bernie's idealism and energy.

My heart is swollen and broken at my companion's swift and unexpected departure from my life. Particularly during a week that has been wrought with violence, protests, more violence, and outrage. I can't bring myself to watch any of the videos. There are moments when all I want to do is pick up the phone, just to tell him that this past week was a living nightmare both inside and outside of my home. But in times of crisis, all we can do is move forward. All we can do is pick ourselves up. Though I didn't feel up to attending the Black Lives Matter solidarity protests happening around Chicago this week, I'm planning on showing up for the Sandra Bland remembrance gathering in Daley Plaza on Wednesday. 

This is an historic and trying time for us in this country. As I pick up to leave my beloved Chicago, I think about how much she has served me these past 28 years. The public schooling I received through CPS, which is now rapidly closing schools across the city, laying off masses of teachers, due to dire financial strain. I think about the education I received from UIC, a public institution, under financial duress due to our state not having a budget (it's been two years without said budget). I think about the parks I played in, the lake I swam in, the access to arts and culture that I had that others might not have been as fortunate to attain. I think about the false sense of safety I have wandering the streets of my neighborhood knowing that there's been an increase in gun violence not only on the south and west sides, but in my part of town too. I think about what a mess we have gotten ourselves into, and how at times it feels completely inevitable. But then I think about what I can do. I can write and call politicians. I can write about this on my blog. I can engage in dialogue with my friends and family. I can show up to protests and participate. I can be present.

It's been a week of heartache, but my heart will mend. I keep looking forward. I planted a gum drop for myself in the future. A single ticket to Angel Olsen in the city I'm moving to. My first concert in my new town. I fully intend on singing along to every song, basking in her glow, entirely on my own. A sweet independence I was both dealt and chose. This is my time, this is our time. We are never truly alone. We are part of a human community, let's be there for one another, yeah?