I have been walking around the house sighing all morning long. Over brunch Seth asked me if I was feeling anxious. A little. But more so just very unsettled.
I am living in "the in between" space of life right now. The space where you have made a lot of big decisions and choices, but as for right now- nothing is certain.
For years I have talked about doing art festivals, and this year I've made the big jump to actually do it. Little did I know when I made this decision how much goes into just applying for the shows. I've spent the last few weeks, churning out new work, building tent walls, buying a tent, buying lights to professionally shoot my work, and applying for shows. I'm still waiting to hear back from the first one. It makes it hard, to put all this work and money into something that I'm not sure will even happen. At then end of all of this- I might just have more work and 9 panels for a pop up art gallery. I need to finish 8 more of the walls over the next two weekends, and am having a hard time finding the motivation to work on something so uncertain.
It's also hard to find the motivation to build a 100 square foot pop up gallery within a 300 square foot kitchen/living room area. Which leads me to the living situation. We need a house. This condo did well for me, but Seth and I have far too many hobbies for 600 square feet. Seth is currently soldering something on a makeshift table, while kneeling on the floor. So that should be easy to fix, oh, but wait, there is still a hole in the kitchen floor from the flood we had in January. And yes, it's been 60 days, and all they've managed to do is dry everything out and fix the plumbing. I am hopeful that this will be done by the end of March and we can start looking for a new place... a house. A house in the mountains.
Which leads me to my last gripe- work. Whoever decided that teachers need to put in for a leave of absence in January- is out of their minds. Quitting your job, and then continuing to show up for the next five months is nothing short of torture. What makes it even more torturous, is when none of your students know that you are leaving, and you have to keep this big fat secret. I discovered that a bunch of new pencil sharpeners were stolen this week, and I just wanted to scream at the entire class, "THIS! THIS is why I'm leaving! You pay me pennies and then steal shit from me! You all are total assholes, and you aren't even ten years old yet!" Then five minutes later, a kid who hated art for the last three years, and is now begging to come in for every recess to work, walks in, hands me a Starbucks gift card, hugs me, and leaves. And I am not sure how I will tell them that I am leaving, these sweet little angelic students of mine.
One of my more special students, I've had since she was in second grade. She would come to art, and then stare into the bottom of the sink for 45 minutes, while mumbling to herself. Nobody could really tell me what her deal was, so I just let her have her sink conversations until she was ready to make art. It was about a year and a half before she was ready. It was two and a half years before she started acknowledging my presence. Now, she happily sits at the back of the room, and makes collages all through art class without incident. She acknowledges me in the hallway with a cheery, "Hi, Ms. Dunn!" every time I see her. But every time I have a sub, she ends up throwing things at other students, or having an "accident." I had to have a long talk with her this last week, about how she will act when other people are her art teacher, including subs, or middle school teachers. She didn't seem real pleased with the notion that I will not always be there, tipped off by the fact that tears were welling up in my eyes as I was saying this to her. I am shocked at how much you can grow to care for so many little people, who have such a wide array of issues. I am crying because I am worried about a girl who defecates herself every time I am not in her class. Part of me feels like I have "super empathy powers" because I feel this way. Another part of me feels like it's downright crazy to miss students who steal from you, who resist you, who talk back to you, who write cuss words on your belongings.
Leaving a dysfunctional school is an awful lot like leaving a dysfunctional relationship.
So I'm trying to hang in this in between space. I'm trying not to act like the child in the back of the car screaming, "Are we there yet?!?" I'm trying to live in this in between space, and accept that this is not just "in-between," that this is life.