It’s 6:20 on a Saturday morning. I’ve been up since five. Not because I have to, I just couldn’t sleep. Too much going on.
A lot has happened in the last couple months. I opened a new store – the best Shop ever. Hand-built with my colleagues (that’s how I’m now referring to my co-owners, Jane, Val and Michele – my colleagues. I’m pretending we’re doctors), it is a visual feast. Housed in an old post office circa 1859, the building buffed within an inch of its life and filled with everything we make and find. It’s been a huge success, in every way. I may be able to pay my rent after all.
Speaking of which, the house I’ve been renting went up for sale. After I tried to buy it. I didn’t have the $800,000 for my 800 square foot cottage so shit out of luck. I was looking for another rental (so insanely expensive, so demoralizing) when I lucked into escrow on a house on the hill. Skin of my teeth, seat of my pants, hair of my chinny chin chin, we close June 2nd. Every star aligned and an extremely good friend stepped in to co-sign (turns out the bank doesn’t trust a stay-at-home-mom freshly turned full-time artist). Somehow I’m managing to stay in Marin, a market I thought I might be priced out of.
And I’m officially divorced. Which I think is good news?
Sprinkled in there have been some dates, some mini love affairs. It seems the more intense the rest of my life the more release I seek romantically. Which makes for not a lot of sleep and some emotional turmoil.
I spent last week weeping (okay, and this one). Last Thursday I got news that a good friend, a person that has always awed me with her energy and beauty and heart, is seriously ill. My dear friend Megan’s mom died last Saturday. I had thought about her (Megan’s mom but Megan, too) every hour of that week that was her last. On Sunday I went to a memorial for my high school drama teacher, a man that had a huge influence on my life. Weep, weep, weep, weep. And then, cherry on top, on Monday I watched the series finale of Mad Men. In the last pivotal scene, a group therapy session at a hippie retreat, I watched my friend from college, Evan Arnold, give a heartbreaking performance. I would have cried anyway but the fact that I knew this guy sent me over the edge.
I’m sitting in change. I have been for two years. I’ve been grappling with big questions. What is romantic love? What is self-love? How do I squeeze every last drop of this life, find adventure (of all sorts) and live with the steadiness it takes to raise children? What is the balance of art and commerce? Can I love what I do and make a decent enough living to make it in one of the most expensive places in the world? How deeply can I live? How deeply can I feel? How much can I grow?
I can’t believe I’m still talking about a TV show but the last scenes of Mad Men are a montage of the main characters – where they’ve landed, intimations of where they’re going. Joan – gorgeous, voluptuous Joan – is, for once, romantically unencumbered. We see here in her living room, post-its on the wall above the dining table, managing her nascent production company. She has let a man walk out of her life, probably her great love, but she is smiling. She’s making her own way, she is loving her work, she is fully alive. I’ve carried that image with me all week, in the midst of my own personal changes, in the midst of death and illness, in the midst of romantic entanglements, in the midst of my own deeply satisfying work. Maybe, romantic though I am, I’ll nurture myself most by listening to my own creativity, by building this business that so excites me. Maybe I’m Joan. Sexy, lovable, but choosing myself first. Living in my own house on the hill, happily constructing beautiful objects out of other people’s throw-aways, raising these children I love so passionately. Maybe that’s where I’ve landed, where I’m going. Alone, yes, but so so alive.