Life In Summary: Hard Stuff & Hope

I’ve been writing mostly book reviews on this blog for awhile now. That’s for several reasons. The first is that I am part of a great review team and reviews are fun. The second is because life has felt like a lot and putting it all down on paper has been hard and weird. But, I process through words and writing and we are sitting in a season of change so there are a lot of things to process.

Endings

In January, I stepped away from the Board of the Friends of the Library after six years. I loved every moment and I miss it a ton, but term limits are a thing, and they matter to keep the board fresh and ideas flowing. But, I miss the work AND the people immeasurably. I found myself in books and libraries, and the older I get, the more important I realize libraries are to communities and people. (Insert LONG DIATRIBE about necessary free third spaces here).

Come July 1, my employment with the Bloomington Academy of Film & Theatre will end as they merge with two other Bloomington Arts organizations to form a new entity, Constellation Stage and Screen. I am SO excited for the work the new org is going to do and for what it means for arts in our little town, but I am also so sad to lose a job I’ve done for years that I love. I think I am one of three remaining staff from when we first started, and it’s been one of the absolute joys of my life. While I won’t be on staff anymore, I’m looking forward to hopefully teaching again soon through their education program.

In addition to those changes, I just haven’t found creative outlets post-Covid! I haven’t been cast in any of the last few shows for which I’ve audtioned (from community theater to professional) and the role I was hoping to audition for this summer actually requires skills I don’t have.

Sickness and Death

The last two years have seen no shortage of sickness, Covid or otherwise, and deaths in the families of those I love. Sorry feels heavier these days – worry has so easily replaced peace and weariness has so easily replaced energy. We’ve said goodbye to lovely, strong, beautiful people. Both Tim and I have had Covid, we know people fighting cancer and other diseases.

Even our little dog, Madi, has not been spared. She is fighting cancer, congestive heart failure, a stage 6 heart murmur, and constantly in flux bowels. She looks like she just doesn’t feel good most days. I know we’re counting down the days and just waiting until she gets worse, and it’s hard. A friend lost her dog this week and it was a stark reminder that their time is fleeting.

Life is just Hard.

That’s it. That’s the entire sentence. 2.5 years into pandemic that doesn’t feel like it’s going to end, life full of weird changes and stressors, a job that is hard on the good days and really hard on the bad days, and not a lot of places or spaces for peace. But, I’m fighting hard for my mental health (even if my therapist is moving and I have to start COMPLETELY OVER with somone new), fighting to find joy, and fighting to be the good in this world that I so desperately want to find in others.

But Hope Remains.

No matter how hard the days have been, I have held on to hope with a tenacity I didn’t know I had. There have been days when that hope has been no bigger than a poppyseed, and there have been days when it’s been big and taking up most space in my head and heart.

I’ve lost opportunities I’ve loved, sure. But new ones will come around. I will be designing playbills for Constellation’s new season, and I am still serving on a committee with the Library. I will keep auditioning and believe a new opportunity will come my way soon. I am meeting with a couple people from our local writer’s guild next week to explore some opportunities. I published my first book on Kindle Vella and one of my absolute favorite authors is helping me dig in and clean it up and make it even better than it was before. Maybe I’ll even submit it for publication one of these days!

I’ve learned we can’t avoid sickness. But we can survive it. Tim getting Covid threw me for a loop, because he’s the most germ-conscious person I’ve ever met. We’re vaxxed and boosted and I feel like doing the right things, but it didn’t matter. But, we’re on the other side of it, hopefully no more worse for the course of the disease. And hey, my house is CLEAN right now.

Madi is a very sick puppers. But she’s ours. We still have her and she’s still here and I’m trying to soak up all the good days I can with her.

Work is hard. But it’s hard because I’m trusted and hard because change is hard. It will get better. And being part of the team matters so much to me.

Mental health is a journey. I’ve learned so much in my two rounds of therapy, and I’m sure I’ll find another therapist soon to help me even more.

Joy is worth the fight. Kindness is worth the risk. Hope is worth holding on to.

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