Getting this out there first: I've accepted and have begun a new job at The Children's Place! I have just finished my first week, and have felt very much at home and comfortable even though I've gotten lost in the building approximately 2000 times a day and it is a good fit for me! It was also a promotion for me as well, so hello career stairs ladder, it's time for some cardio, let me just climb up you a little bit, heyoooo!!
I had several pals come out to help me close out my 2+ years time at the Gap with beers and fried foods, and I might have applied 50 Hello Kitty temporary tattoos to my arm all at the same time. With any job, good or bad, the very best part for me has always been the people that you work with that go from people you have to see everyday to your very good friends, and I have been fortunate enough to have suckered quite a few of them into being my buddies!!
Between leaving my old job and starting my new gig, I had a week and some change to myself. I scored a cheap trip to Chicago and embarked on a mostly solo trip that was, in hindsight, quietly transformative.
This might have been inspired by a John Green + David Levithan novel but I was stoked about seeing the Cloud Gate sculpture in Millenium Park in person, known lovingly as The Bean.
This is going to sound crazy, and maybe it is, whatever, but I spent a REALLY LONG TIME just hanging out with the Bean, walking around it, walking under it, touching it, watching others interact with it, looking at it from every angle. There's a lot about it that just kind of blows my mind, and I don't think you can truly feel the gravity of its insane presence unless you're actually in front of it yourself.
The Bean is a contradiction. It is heavy and massive to behold, but it is also light, appears to be floating. You can reach out and touch it if you like, and it becomes real under your hand. It is cold to the touch, but it soaks up the warmth of the sun and catches its light. It is in its very nature, self-reflective; when you put your hand on it surface, it looks like you are supporting yourself, holding yourself up. Depending on where you stand, your reflection in the Bean is ever-changing and it is amazing to allow your eyes soak up these different versions of yourself. But, it's always just you. There were quite a number of people at the Bean when I was there, and it blows my fucking mind that each individual person is intearacting with the same piece of art, but is having an immediate and powerful and emotional, unique, experience of it.
Through this, I understood that this is how I feel about art-making on its most basic level. I have always known this, but I needed the Bean to help me collect my thoughts about it all and provide a foundation, a jumping off point from here on out to explore my personal point of view.
It's no secret that the past few months have been a bit...challenging here in Katietown. I feel like I've been stuck in a dark tunnel for a very long time, and to be honest, I think a part of me was lost somewhere between August and October. After a good deal of thought, on which I'll save you the details on that, haha, I realized that my confidence as both an artist and a person had been drained down to an almost empty puddle of self-doubt and anxiety. I think it's accurate to say that we don't know if these obstacles that we face are going to set us back a day or several years, but inevitably, when a part of yourself becomes lost somewhere down the line, it makes way for something else, something better. There is still space to occupy within.
Even now, looking through the photos of the Bean and the surrounding park areas, it stirs something in my heart that is so specific and broad, warm and cool, very little and very large. At one point, I sat on a picnic table in front of the Bean, and took a deep breath in, and then let it go. I felt like I had the wind knocked out of me; it was a sincere and definitive end, and a hopeful and equally definitive beginning. Where I will go next will always be a mystery, but the important part is those first steps forward, which I took the minute I said good-bye to the Bean and headed out of the park.
Thank you, friends, for being my source of light in these dark days. I'm learning to carry my own torch, and run with it too!!
Next week, look for more of my Chicago adventures!! Like I said before, my friends I spent time with were at work during the days, so I had a lot of free time to myself where I basically did 2309482039x more things than I do on a normal day. And probably ate that much more as well!! Mmm!! Stay hungry, everybody.
Love love love,
**This post is dedicated to Kevin, Iris, and Annie who have especially helped me learn to tend to heart and listen to it during this time, in different but equally meaningful and powerful ways. Thank you, all.**