Playing: "Keep The Family Close" - Drake
I went to 826 for the first time in weeks last night. I'd signed up for 8 weeks of volunteering beginning the week after my 29th birthday, but then my life careened out of control and I had to cancel. And cancel. And cancel. Whereas I usually bask in the relief of cancelling social plans, I typically feel guilty about cancelling responsibilities. Not recently, though. Life was just too much to handle and I couldn't give of myself the way I wanted to.
Then Tania texted me on Wednesday to let me know that she was thinking about going to volunteer on Thursday. So we agreed to go together. It was a good choice. After several weeks away, I'd forgotten how much the students, staff, and other volunteers make my life better. It was good to see volunteer friends and talk about television and literature and life. I helped a 7th grader with her math homework and we talked about her plans to travel the world to help build homes for the impoverished. I talked to a 9th grader about why he disagrees with all of the praise given to Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. I laughed a lot for the first time in a long time.
Last night was the first time in weeks that I felt like myself again. During volunteering, Tania and I walked over to Stories, the bookstore/café next door, and I saw a post-it note on the cash register that read, "Sylvia Plath." I think her name was the wifi password that day. I stared at it and realized that I didn't feel "very still and empty, the way the eye of a tornado must feel, moving dully along in the middle of the surrounding hullabaloo." I felt a part of life, active and engaged. And it felt good.
The feeling has since waned, but I know that it can be felt again. That's what keeps propelling me forward. I will feel it again.