Vespers

Near the end of my junior year of high school, I auditioned for and was somehow miraculously accepted into the A Capella Choir. Just in time to participate not only in the regular yearly performances but also, greatest of all, in that year’s concert tour in England. The experience of being part of A Capella was the most rewarding in all my high school career. When I say I was raised in New York, I sometimes want to add that when it comes down to it, I grew up in London. What I mean by that is that during the years I lived here, I had a week long adventure there during which my entire life changed.

It’s sort of stock advice, but I’m serious:

Travel. Study. See the world.

Your experiences will develop for you new and more glorious senses. Experiencing other cultures, seeing new horizons, you can’t help but learn about yourself and grow as a person.

The life altering effects of that choir trip didn’t end upon landing back in America, nor even upon graduation from high school two and a half months later. Because of the friendships forged during our choir year and solidified in London, I eventually met, fell in love with, and got married to my husband.

So, back to present day:

Every year at Xmas time, A Capella does a Vespers Concert.  I have sung as part of Vespers three times.

1. My senior year.

2. The following year for the 75th Vespers Concert & Alumni Reunion

3. Five years ago for the 85th Vespers Concert & Alumni Reunion.

Today would have been my fourth year. This year marks the 90th.

And I had been planning to go, and sing, and celebrate my favourite experience from the 90s.

However, due to what I can only snark about being a huge lack of communication skills, very little information about the organization of the event was passed around, and just a few weeks ago I finally got the info about signing up (or rather, the email address to which to send my new contact info so that sign up info could then be sent to me). Well, that didn’t happen. Whoever was responsible for getting info out to us failed miserably. I never did manage to get signed up. I’m upset about this. And I’m upset they wanted us to pay to participate. At the busiest, brokest-assed time of year, when I’m struggling to pay bills, and celebrate the holidays in some vague way, and not lose my mind over the worst anniversary in my personal history. They suddenly wanted us to pay admission to a concert we were In.

Just, No.

Am I regretting missing the concert? O yes. In that ‘it hasn’t happened yet I can still change my mind’ panic that happens whenever I force myself to miss something that I’ve been planning on for months. I’m way not into the Holiday this year. I can’t muster the excitement I always tried to find in The Magic of Christmas. This is, in my opinion, the absolute worst time of year. To force myself to sit through the concert, hopefully without sobbing (out of personal grief or hilarity over how that one teacher’s solo sounds like he’s saying, “Come for Tea, My Peeeeooople!”), would be cruel to myself and those around me, as well as a waste of an afternoon.

So this evening while my fellow singers are belting out The Messiah or whichever traditionals they picked this year I will be enjoying the harvest of those friendships, built all those years ago, in my own house, with my husband, sister in law (a fellow A Capellian), and some friends, playing D&D, and chilling with our dog.

Blessed Solstice, bitches.

Oath

They say that the family of the 21st century is made up of friends rather than relatives.”

-Tim, Spaced

I believe this is very true, but I believe it’s a combination of both.

For all the friends, and a few special relations, who have come together, who have supported and loved me, regardless of blood, who have been there in person or from across the world, when I needed a shoulder to cry on, an ear to hear my troubles, worries, and joys, whose hearts have joined me in celebration.

Our friendships have shaped who I am as much as, if not more than, my heritage has done.

You are my family.

We have built my reality, my personality, my history, and my life. Together.

Thank you, from the center of my being.

Thank you friends and siblings. Thank you caring relatives and in-laws. Thank you, sweet husband. Thank you, dog. Thank you teachers and classmates. Thank you professors and directors. Thank you, internet friends, those who have reached out and helped me understand and face the hard times, and for sharing amusements that have made my days brighter.

Thank you to those who have traveled for me, and who have put me up when I needed a place to stay. Thanks for having my back, even if our views sometimes differ. Thanks for holding my hand when I am whiny, or distraught. Thank you for taking me shopping when I was broke, and holding together my pieces when I was broken.  Thanks for everything.

Thank you for being my family.

Because most of my blood relatives are pretentious assholes.

My oath to you:

(This was, for the most part, in fact meant to be my tribute to the female guests at our wedding, but through the works of our dj, who gave an inaccurate introduction to my speech introducing Oath, only one other guest understood it was for more than just my bridesmaids. So here, I dedicate this song to all of you. My girlfriends. My guy friends. My family.)

Bonus:

*I know the punctuation in this blog sucks today. I don’t really fucking care. Sorry.

Throwback Heartbreak

17 July 2009

I got the message after leaving the bank.
‘Call me back, even if you think I’m in class.’
‘Is everything OK?’
‘. . . I’ve got some bad news.’
I knew it was her. I just knew.
‘Courtney’ or maybe he said ‘Arielle,’ ‘died this morning.’
Silence. I couldn’t speak. I couldn’t. We knew it was coming. Didn’t mean it wasn’t shocking, nor did it mean it was an easy thing either to hear, or to know that it is true. The fair and beautiful Duchess Arielle the Golden had passed away.
He might have said ‘passed away.’
At that point the tunnel of oceanic sound fills ones ears and all other thoughts, sounds, feelings drop away and are banished beyond comprehension until we start breathing again.
But then, if you hold your breath, that is a little longer until you have to face the reality of life without her in it.
Going back to work was like walking in a fog. Waking up periodically, realizing what I had left out, what I had forgotten to do.
Trying to breathe.
Trying not to make any sound.
Trying not to cry while I was working on each person. On each stranger.
Go back to work.
Don’t give in to the pain. Don’t give up. Others need you. Don’t let despair take over. Don’t be Selfish.
Arielle wouldn’t have been selfish if someone needed her and she was capable of helping them. She’d find a way.
You need to go back to work. You could save a life today. You could prevent another death. You could help someone else to live a fully and happy healthy life.
Do it for Arielle. Do it for all of them. They need you.
Don’t give up.

 

 

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The Ebony & Ivory Ladies’ Breakfast. Morning of the Woods Battle, Pennsic XXXIV, Camp Ebonwoulfe. My favourite photograph of her.

Hands in Pockets

O how I wish I had pockets to hide my fidgeting hands.

This town whose quaint and cloying air constricts and stares, breathing down my neck their unspoken questions of Why I am So Different.

Why don’t you feel at home in Our Perfect Town where only our kind are welcome? 

Our One True God.

Our One True Sexuality.

Our Choices Alone.

Our Judgments.

I wish I had pockets in which to store my fears and feeble hopes that I will wake one day to find you changed.

Your adulterated acceptance.  Forgotten tolerance. Laid bare.

Your dreams are not my dreams.

If I could just have a pocket in which to hide my hands.

There is a cleansing moment as the sun crests the rooftops of the neatly antiquated rows on your main street and the few welcoming arms give over in friendship and caramel delight.

A moment where my hands clasped around this cup of mirth are busy and have something friendlier to do.

Less fearful and more awakened to your call.

I can almost forget your hatred, as it rained down in my heart, replaced momentarily with warmth.

I’ll hold my armour off a little while.

And let my hands relax.

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