You have to allow yourself to be an artist … you have to allow yourself to open to experience reality. We spend so much time resisting reality that, if we’re going to create art, we have to gently open the door to ourselves,
in the spirit of appreciation and acceptance.
It’s astonishing what can come from just loving, listening, and allowing.
This is an in-between time. A marriage of culture (i.e., the capricious time we choose to end the calendar year) and cosmos (the darkness has had its say; now time for the light to grow). Perhaps the year’s end is not random or impetuous. Maybe, in the closing of accounts, collecting of tax documents, and glancing over our shoulder at the year that was, we’re trying to tell ourselves that darkness holds no sway.
Would We Also Say Light Holds No Sway?
When I was younger, I brooded about the darkness, starving for spring to shed a beam of light, a scent of warmth. I feared and shunned darkness like I reacted to my brother Blayne’s adoration of the Doors. All that doom and gloom of the Lizard King … but the music and lyrics were SO. FUCKING. GOOD!
Now that I’m older, I crave the darker, colder, wrapped-in-secrets tilt of the planet away from the sun. Just like I can’t help but love everything and anything the Doors did. When I was a child, it felt like a humiliation, a giving-into what I thought were my brother’s perverse musical proclivities. Now, it feels like “Look what I was missing! I’m damn glad I gave in at seven years of age, baby!”
I Haven’t “Given Into” Darkness
Rather, I’ve adjusted my eyes and heart. Unlike the light, needing—nay, demanding—to show everything, darkness helps me unwrap little parcels randomly dropped in nooks of my heart.
When the light shines, it’s time to make hay, people! And I once did my own share of that in spades. I still do lots of hay-making. But in my own time. And I find that the tiniest parcels in my dark, cozy heart-rooms blossom into acres of grain waving in the night breeze under the moon.
In bleak mid-winter’s frost-bitten stubble lie seeds.
Spring will come in its own time, and offer emergence from burrows of dark and seep, light and aroma, moths and snowflakes.
This Year’s Darkness
This year, in the Solstice time of encroaching darkness, I furiously feared in my heart for our world. I seriously looked into ex-patting it to some other place that wasn’t wooing fascism. I adore England and Wales. Yet, they have the same problems/different names. Where to run but deeper into who I am? I’m trans. That’s one part of who I am. I’m a writer. Another part. A baker, a patient access representative, a wife, a parent, a grandparent. Oh, and a hatchet thrower.
I let those fears gallop over my December, without tamping them down or numbing them. Fear opens doors in my heart and parcels I never guessed were there. Every night can be Yule.
The fear has galloped away. I am who I am right here in Colorado. I don’t need mountains to climb on another shore. Dang, the ones here are beyond majestic. Beyond fear. Beyond delight. Everyday, they stand there and woo me. Thus, my ex-pat aspirations found purchase in planning for the trip to Wales my son will take me on this spring. (Good son, that man!) There, in May, I’ll have the chance to bring a few parcels into the light, to see what the Welsh sun does to ‘em.
At the close of this work week, I took Persephone-path first steps away from fear. (Mind you, all first steps are in darkness.) I’d asked my supervisor if I could observe one of our providers in surgery. I talk everyday with patients. I’m not qualified to give clinical answers to their questions. But their fears and uncertainties? I can bring a human voice to share with them. Uncertainties are lived in flesh and bone. It was time I took a literal journey into the darkness of blood vessels, fascia, and muscle, to see what parcels O.R. lighting might reveal, that I could take back with me.
And it revealed a delightfully unexpected parcel of peace.
It’s All About the Art
I stood four hours, by our surgeon, watching the dance of surgical lights, forceps, gloved fingers, and vocal exchange between nurses, NPs, doctors, and beeping, trilling machines. It was mesmerizing and fascinating, eliciting “Wow!” after “WOW!”
I said to the surgeon, a person for whom I schedule clinic appointments by the hundreds, “Doctor, you’re an artist!”
The surgical NP quipped, while grasping a retractor in one hand and adjusting a shunt with the other, “Now, now, we don’t need to inflate his ego.”
My surgeon said, “Ah, it’s all art on the inside, that never gets seen,” as if apologizing for what he does.
I smiled under my surgical-grade facemask, “All art is on the inside, doctor. Words, paint, dance-steps, and more are the telepathy for communicating it.”
“Hmm,” my doctor said (probably wondering how this stupid bitch got into his operating room!) and continued with his artistry.
The next time I see him though, I’ll tell him this:
“You have a telepathy, too, doctor. It’s called ‘health,’ and, though it’s hidden in the dark places where your expertise and instruments take you on a daily basis,
you reveal it in the doing.
We all reveal it in the doing.”
Happy Solstice and New Year, one and all.