Chewing joy.

Collecting poetry and art for Black History Month, and life…

This is going to be an odd confession: I dislike the word “joy.” I don’t know why. The cynic in me? The grumpy old lady? The word feels blandly chewy in my mouth. I don’t like the texture of it. It’s the uncooked tofu of words. When I think of Marie Kondo and things ‘sparking joy’ I look around my ‘stuff’ and my happiness is diminished because seeing it through another’s eyes makes me doubtful and harnesses my insecurities.

But this morning I got an uncharacteristically early text from my dear friend, suggesting I do something joyful today, or that would bring me joy. She must recognize I am in a place of deep despair for our government today. We are watching a corrupt takeover of our nation and everyone, and I mean everyone, has something to say from their seat in the auditorium. It is not out of the realm that the current president could declare martial law, cancel elections, and take over the press and other media outlets. This morning I am out of hope. And I am ashamed of my gall and privilege for, while being outraged and sickened, during my life I lived with veiled trust and progress. We, White people, did not do nearly enough to include, raise or center others’ voices. We marginalized Black History Month–the audacity of a “month” where every month, every day, the voices of history and present demand and deserve to be heard.

Back to joy: what will bring me joy today? Maybe joy isn’t going to ‘bring’ me anything: maybe I have to reach out for it, recognize it, and allow it in. I do have small moments of euphoria–where my serotonin levels bust through and I’m in a peaceful ‘everything is cool’ nirvana. Work brings me joy: productive disruptions, productive anger, and opening space and making room. And friends who give me wise woman words to put down my shield for a few hours and rest.