Let the Giggles In
Written from my farmhouse in Iowa May 6 and 7, 2020 on Days 52 and 53 of The Great Hunkerdown
I’m cuddled up in bed with the morning sun shining down on me. The dog is sleeping on my legs. I am in heaven. I can’t believe it has been nearly two months since we did our big shop, said our goodbyes to friends, and hunkered down. What a ride this has been! Scott and I have both found expansive places for artmaking. I have been through and around my grief journey, allowing myself plenty of space. I have gotten to clarity on my potion show and begun mapping strategy, financials, and brand strategy. I began a yearlong artist residency this week with Southwest Minnesota Housing Partnership. The world is starting to shift into a new phase.
It may be time for a new strategy with my publications. I started this blog last fall to figure out my voice - what it is, where it fits, and how to share it best. Having a commitment to weekly publication has been helpful. I did pretty well! I missed a few weeks during the holidays and one week during my father’s passing. I am proud of myself. I have discovered the power in radical vulnerability. I got to say many of the things that have made me embarrassed and kept me silent. It didn’t break me. It strengthened me.
I am going to take a break from this blog and start diversifying what I share with the world. I want to spend more time with pieces, drawing on others’ writings and perspectives. I want to share my journey through shorter posts. I want to break apart my “business of creating” from my “art of living” writing. I want to clarify my audience and add in more audio and video. Most importantly, I want to find a lightness to my journey.
As I have exposed in the last eight months of this blog, I take myself, my journey, and the world REALLY seriously - with a weight that is counterbalanced by the silliness of my artmaking. Growing up as a minister’s kid in an evangelical tradition, everything had eternal consequences. The fact that I also had to hide my sexuality and abuse as eternally damning secrets only elevated this weight. The world needed saving. I needed saving. Nothing else trumped that.
Occasionally, my church would screen “A Thief in the Night” on a Sunday night. This movie from 1972, which my friend Lori-who also grew up watching it-said is actually quite terribly made, is all about the end times. It’s told from the perspective of a girl whose family and friends were taken up in the rapture as she was left behind. She wasn’t really saved. Each time they showed it on a Sunday night, I would break down in tears. The eternal weight of every person I knew who didn’t know Christ was weighing upon my shoulders. How could I spend time frolicking and playing with them when eternal damnation and salvation were on the table?! Don’t forget the dark secrets I held, which also kept me from that kind of silly, wonderful connection and friendship.
Well, that never left me. I shifted my focus to this world and all the inequities and oppressions and traumas that we and our institutions heap on us. It’s no longer a fear of what people may face after they die, but the realities of what people face each day in this life. I am not interested in letting those concerns go. I just need to recognize the counterbalance, find the fulcrum, and choose my stance. Then I can surf the waves with all the joy, resilience, and gravity that makes for a rich life.
As I shift into the next phase of this great social reset, I am going to let the giggles in. I finally got my bikes fixed up and began to get back into the saddle. Last week, I went to my friend’s place for a garden party - just the two of us practicing social distancing in front of her place as we danced our hearts out. When I got back on the bike, I started giggling. I haven’t giggled like that for quite some time. It felt great! Since then, I keep singing The Fifth Dimension’s Let the Sunshine In, which is part of one of my favorite songs: Age of Aquarius. (I can’t wait until I can have a huge choir performing that number with body-painted dancers moving in and out of the crowd.) I have been changing the words to “Let the giggles in.”
I am letting the giggles into all the nooks and crannies of my being. I am taking my journey with much less gravity. I am opening myself up to create space. I am connecting with the silly and active and light. I am letting the giggle in after I cry my heart out. I am tapping the generosity of kindie (combine “kid” with “indie” and you get “kindie - kinda makes my teeth hurt, it’s so cute and cool - thanks Mr. Nick - performers like Mr. John’s TV show and Adventure Sandwich’s weekly live stream to find the giggle. I am taking classes with PomSquad - I giggle so hard when I get to be a cheerleader for an hour. I am going back to my delicious giggle friends in Parks & Recreation and Schitt’s Creek who make me pee my pants.
As I step away from this blog and expand toward other forms, I hope that your journey finds balance between the gravity and the silliness of your current situation. I pray you find a lightness to your journey even as you face the trials and tribulations that surely come. I send you connections to resources and serenity to rest.