During a high school Spring, I went to Racine, Wisconsin with my paternal grandmother to fill up jugs of fresh spring water from a well. I recall telling her that I would like to die in springtime. She gasped at that. “Why in the world would you want to die in Spring? Everything is blooming and fresh. It is my favorite time of year!” As it turned out, she did die in Spring. She was holding my hand.
It seems fitting, then, that I begin this blog at the start of this season. One that is full of rebirth, renewal, and forgiveness. Last night, my husband snapped at me, “You just need to undo yourself.” His words brought angry tears to my eyes and I could not do anything but leave the restaurant we were sitting in and walk away.
The truth is, though, that I do need to undo myself. I need to begin unraveling the knots of yarn that are stuck in my stomach, tangled over winter branches, just waiting for my fingers to gently tug at them, releasing forgiveness and uncertainty.
Unlike past stories that I have written, nothing traumatic or unusual has triggered me to begin writing again. A pigeon hasn’t died in the backyard. William hasn’t brought flowers to the roadkill chipmunk in our driveway. I haven’t just birthed a one pound micro preemie (again). It is just Spring. Time to start new and time to undo many of the lies I have been telling myself.
As you are possibly new readers of mine, I can only begin by telling you the truths about myself that I hold to be self evident and to introduce you to the people that are likely to show up in this blog more often than not. I am married to Sean. I met him when I was eighteen. He is intense and brilliant and complicated, as is our relationship.
I have other favorite people, my parents, my brother, Susie. Other friends come and go and show up now and again. There are four people that I would throw myself in front of a bus for: Luke, on the verge of 17, Lizzie 12, William 11, and Quinn, 2, and I might throw myself in front of a bus for Haley because she brings more joy and hope to my son Luke than I will ever possibly be able to.
I teach art in a medium sized public high school. I have a dog, Greta, who is kind of like my pulse. I have lots of music on my iPhone, but have only purchased full albums from three bands: The Beastie Boys’ Licensed to Ill, David Byrne and Brian Eno’s Everything That Happens Will Happen Today, and absolutely every single thing the Avett Brothers have ever written or uttered. My favorite color is grey. My favorite season is Fall. I like homemade soup and bread. My favorite pie is anything made by my mother. I am a writer and I am an artist and for many years now, I have been separating the two, a separation which I am learning has created a deep sadness within me, a loneliness that is difficult to explain. I do know that writing is my way to share my story and that painting is my way to cover it up.
It is my hope that each time I post new words, I also post new art, even if that means sharing doodles from the inside of my checkbook or photos of my empty glass. It is my hope that in sharing these pieces of me that you will find yourself in them.
My spring break ends tomorrow. At the beginning of the week, I redecorated Luke’s bedroom. Redecorated is a serious understatement, as he has been sleeping on a twin mattress on a floor full of splinters for months now. I painted it a chocolate grey and we hired someone to carpet it on Wednesday. The man who came to give us the estimate walked in, sweaty, and smelling of a combination of cheap cologne and a car air freshener. As he wrote up our bill, he told us that he was raised Catholic, but then got cancer. He feared that he may not get into heaven, that he may have missed something, so he began to research all religions and then, he said, he found a really simply answer. He proceeded to tell us that if we just accept that fact that Jesus Christ is our savior and that we are sinners, we will get into heaven. He went on to say that he could not believe the answer was so simple.
A younger me would have challenged him. A younger me would have rolled my eyes. And as much as I wanted to say, “It’s simpler than that, dear man. If you want to go to heaven, simply believe in heaven,” I just smiled and offered him water. I have learned, over many years (when I was in Catholic high school, I drove my teachers nuts, negating everything they said, so much so that by the time my brother got to their classes three years later, it took them all of one class period to say, “Ah, you must be Kelly’s brother.”) . . . anyway, I have learned that everyone has their own truth and that is okay with me. I am hopeful that as I begin this blog on a cloudy, cold day in April, that you will allow me to share mine.
The day after the carpet man left, Sean sent me a heartfelt email, with an attached youtube video of the band Red, singing Start Again. That is what I am doing here. Springing forward.
“What if I let you in?
What if I make it right it?
What if I give it up?
What if I want to try?
What if you take a chance?
What if I learn to love?
What if, what if we start again?”