Inspiration; Everything

I see that I last posted on July 17th, well over a month ago.

How did that happen? All my grand plans to start a new internet presence, to branch out, connect, figure out what an RSS feed does, make it into the future and stop being a luddite and be brilliant and build an army of internet followers to change the face of sex education in America… where’d that go?

Well, it was all potential energy, wasn’t it? And it got burned off, as it does, by life. Life has hit me where it hurts, this past month and a half or so. I have moved from the apartment I once shared with my once partner, to a small and slant-ceilinged place of my own. It was an overwhelming effort, despite the new one being only a few blocks from the old. I had to take a life apart. I came home from traveling to find gaps where my ex had removed his stuff, I stared at the space where the table had been like it was a hole in the safety and comfort of the things I’d build my life out of. I cried. I have cried so much in the past few months I’m beginning to think I’m no longer 70% water. I must have lost at least half of that by now. I am the world’s first reduced-water human being, only 33%. The rest of me is the space left by changing everything you are into something new. It’s potential energy, again.

And in the past month and half, having fallen into and out of and into love, a loved one of mine left for across the continent, where he is building up from scratch and running on fumes. I am loving a person who wakes slowly every morning to fight to face another day because it has been too long since he has felt safety, regularity, inspiration, comfort, and despite the fact that I have been fighting for the same things for almost equally long, I can hold no blame for him for not being able to provide for me. We fight. We cry. We disconnect and we reconnect and we grow stronger, and sooner or later the sadness will be gone and we will dance in sunlight ever after.

And speaking of disconnecting and reconnecting, I started a new job. And when I say I started a new job, I must take the time to make a nod, or perhaps a deep and courteous bow, and to tip my hat and do a dance for the overwhelming inspiration of our President, Barack Obama.

I graduated in May 2008 from Wesleyan University, and I expected to hear, at my graduation, the wise and dearly missed Senator Ted Kennedy say something inspirational, and frankly I expected not to listen.

But Senator Kennedy, even then, was not well. So in the middle of the week between the end of finals and commencement day, when I was busy chasing after people I shouldn’t and forming new and sometimes painful relationships with people I very much should, we discovered we’d have to get a pinch-hitter for our commencement speaker. A little known man who once did community organization on the South Side of Chicago, Barack Obama.

With secret service men on the roof of the library, he smiled his more-than-a-movie-star smile at us and he spoke of his work in the community, he spoke of giving back what had been given to us, of taking our new education and our promise and making the world a better place, and I sort of said… whatever.

But then, months past, time past, and what did I do but I started working with kids, I started working with kids and I started thinking about kids and I started looking around me and I started to doubt all the things I had told myself about why I didn’t need to devote my life to changing the world. Because it turns out I do, actually. Because the world is bright and brilliant and beautiful and needs to be better.

So when I say I started a new job what I mean, in fact, is that I joined up with AmeriCorps. I’ll be working in a library and I’ll be helping the poorest of the poor in a very poor city in a very poor state learn to recognize letters of the alphabet even before they get to school, because literacy starts early and the truth is many kids are behind before the school system even had a chance to neglect them. So I’m learning about how the mind works when it is just forming, and about how children connect, and disconnect, and reconnect, and I’m making connections.

I haven’t been doing so much of that, recently. I’ve been feeling like I can’t put any more energy into any more things, until some of it comes back to me. I’ve been feeling wrung out and pained and abandoned and abused, because we all feel like that, sometimes, even when it isn’t true, because life just is not fair. I’ve been watching TV to keep my mind from thinking, and comforting myself with substances, and I’ve not been creating.

But then today when I got home instead of watching MythBusters blowing things up, I went to and I watched Jay Smooth talk brilliance about race, hip-hop, and politics. And then I went to and watched Rives spin words, and I showed it to some friends who I thought would like it and they said, “Yeah, we know.”

So, ok. I’m slow. I don’t know, until I find out, but I remember that the way to be smart and do things is to focus your attention on smart people who are doing things. The way to get other people to be smart and do things is to be smart and do things yourself, and not ever to look at them and ask them with a voice full of disappointment why it is they aren’t doing the same.

To those of you who know me, or who care about such things, it’s worth noting: I am hurting, but healing. I am rubbed raw. I am rebuilding, and other than Helping The Children and Talking About Sex I have no idea where I will be a year from now, and a year ago I kind of thought I did. I miss those things that are gone. I value those things that are here. Each day contains pain, and it’s hard to keep happiness pure, but I am glad to be here again. I hope to become once more a custodian of myself, as well as a caretaker of the world, and I hope to bring things to this spot that I find valuable and insightful and interesting, and I hope you will find those things similarly worthy. Because the truth is, the way to feel energy coming back to myself, is to put it into creative, stimulating stuff. It can be just like a magic penny.

And by the by, thanks, Mr. Obama! I didn’t know you could inspire me without my knowing I had been inspired. That, sir, is inspirational.