A few months ago at St. Florian I was sitting at a table with three of my writing buddies when we got on the subject of the president. After Aniyah expressed frustration about our current leadership, I agreed and expressed my own. She looked at me, surprised, and said something along the lines of, “You don’t like him either?” I accidentally let out an enthusiastic, “HELL no!” which I promptly followed up with an apology for my language, unsure if the ten-year-old audience in front of me would be offended by the H-E-double-hockey-sticks word. I was surprised that she seemed surprised. I’m sad that she seemed surprised. I didn’t ask, but maybe to her young African American self, a white person like me might be more forgiving of our current commander in grief–oh excuse me, chief.
Then as she was procrastinating, another writer at the table, Bayleigh, started talking about everything she would do if she were president. Very practical things too—extra time for lunch at school and an hour put aside for reading. I told her she should run for class president, since most of her solutions were school-related.
I wish I would’ve just left it at president.
Lately, this line in Chance’s song “Same Drugs” has jumped out at me:
“When did you start to forget how to fly?”
I spent the beginning of the summer reading job posting after job posting, scrolling past requirements and qualifications way beyond my scope. I’d come across cool opportunities and send my resume and cover letter into the cyber abyss with an amused chuckle.
Thankfully, my internship with the Indiana Writers Center and St. Florian started and reignited my sleepy soul. This internship—writing with youth in Indianapolis—has made a profound impact on my life. (A window into the program that I wrote last year here and one from this year here.) Earlier that week, our session was cancelled and I pouted. Have you ever pouted when your workday was cancelled? See what I mean?
A few weeks ago–as the Building a Rainbow program with St. Florian was winding down, making me grow sad and antsy and directionless–I was working at my other job at Nicey on a rainy Friday night and a two familiar customers stopped by. They work for a local business that makes the most divine almond butter that has ever graced my taste buds, which is why we got talking in the first place. As we continued chatting, I told the girls, who are about my age, about St. Florian and my desire to do that kind of work full time—but also the need to provide for myself. Rossi, who was preparing to move to Paris, simply said, “You can.”
Weeks later, one of them invited me to go bowling with her crew. A few strikes and gutter balls later, I marveled at these encouraging customers-turned-friends and the universe’s uncanny knack for sending people when you least expect them but most need them. That night, as Rossi and I were about to leave after bowling, we noticed a praying mantis on her car windshield. I couldn’t recall the last time I saw a praying mantis–a symbol of stillness and patience and moving at one’s own pace, according to a quick Google search.
Later that week, I was walking downtown with Rossi and another friend during the evening. Along the Cultural Trail, Rossi and I spotted another praying mantis.
I could liken decoding a Bon Iver song to a lot of things:
- Trying to braid sand
- Reading IKEA instructions in Russian
- Understanding college statistics class (only me?)
However, I feel pretty good about drawing parallels between Justin’s first verse in 00000 Million to how I feel post-grad:
Must’ve been forces
That took me on them wild courses
Who knows how many poses
That I’ve been in
But them the main closest
Hark! it gives meaning mine
I cannot really post this
Ah feel the signs
I worried bout rain
And I worried bout lightning
But I watched them off
To the light of the morning
Post-grad and post-St. Florian, worrying about rain and lightning, I’ve been asking incessantly for clarity lately–to the point where God is probably like, “DAUGHTER, CHILL.”
Thinking about the wild courses that we’ve all been on to bring us to different places and people in our lives is enough to make any head spinny–and can only be explained by forces. Looking back on this summer, all the poses I’ve been in (popsicle seller! child writing editor/encourager! caretaker! interviewee!) are beginning to make sense. Nicey has led me to these new friendships. Writing with my buddies at St. Florian is life-giving in and of itself, but also led me to helping out with my awesome supervisor’s sweet son Will, who has Autism and cerebral palsy.
With friends old and new as well as little signs here and there–like reminders to have patience from some serendipitous praying mantises–I’m regaining my sense of remembering how to fly.