Happy 2018, everyone!
2017 was the single hardest year of my life, no diggity no doubt. But from the lessons it brought, I think I am stronger, smarter, and more invested in using the precious few decades I (potentially) have left to do as much good for myself and others as humanly possible.
My mom would be thrilled to know I left my job this past fall. She hated seeing how much I gave to it and what little it gave me in return (aside from eye twitches and hand tremors). It's bittersweet that the inheritance I received from her passing is what helped make the decision to leave so much easier, but I am grateful for that gift every single day.
Speaking of...I applied to grad school last month, for no other reason but than my gut kept telling me to do so. I kept wrestling with myself over the cost and time commitment, deciding whether or not I needed to move, trying to figure out whether I should go for theatre, film, writing, or something more practical. I had lots of conversations with friends who have their degrees and all of them said, completely aside from any sort of career gains they had after graduation, the process itself was worthwhile and something they treasured. There is this Zora Neale Hurston quote from "Their Eyes Were Watching God" that I really love. It says, " There are years that ask questions, and years that answer." Starting with the call I got from my cousin saying I needed to get down to the hospital ASAP to say goodbye to my estranged mother, the past few years have asked many questions. I really think devoting the next few years to answering some of them could be a healthy and productive way to process my own grief and learn to better help others with theirs through my art.
The information for Goddard College sort of fell in my lap, as synchronicity is apt to do. Goddard offers an Interdisciplinary MFA through a low-residency program, and even though they're based in Vermont, they have a west coast campus in Washington. So I finally had the option of applying to a program where I could study all of my artistic disciplines in one fell swoop and stay in Fresno (I just have to visit Port Townsend once a semester). Did I mention their tuition costs are on the lower end of the grad school spectrum? I stopped wrestling with idea of going back to school and decided to at least just apply. The universe would deal with it. Maybe I wouldn't even get in and that would be that.
Flash forward to today. I just got home from a wonderful New Year's excursion to Portland with my college buddies. We even got matching tattoos in honor of our 20 year friendships and in remembrance of our friend Aaron! Sitting at lunch with my friend Barry today, the last meal before he was going to drive back to LA and I was going to get back to my regular life, I had an email come through on my phone. I'll let you read what it said:
So, there you go. One of my answers. Grad school, it is. And with a small scholarship, no less. I'm excited to see where this next adventure takes me. I hope, wherever my mom is, she knows I recognize this as a path I wouldn't be on if not for her.