there’s a joy in every possibility
In the last twenty-four hours, the world exploded with sexual politics: North Carolina slammed a door on gay marriage, one of my favorite rock frontman came out as transgender, and our president spoke out in support of gay marriage. Anything can happen at any moment, always, and sometimes it erupts in a chorus of dissenting voices.
There are times in life when it’s easy to think about all of the things you’ve tried for and failed at, and there are times when it’s hard to see past yourself, and then there are moments like this when you look up and remember everything that’s allowed you the fortune to be selfish.
And so: I threw a bad mood off the Manhattan Bridge tonight while listening to Against Me!, and it felt pretty good.
When I’m in good, less solipsistic moods, I tell stories about my childhood because I got to be a lucky one.i was carefully handed the knowledge that the only things that matter are music, words, and nature, and I was given a long leash on which as long as my action reflect my love of those things, my family is proud of me.
What that means is that there’s a long, long list of things I never needed to care about. I had parents who assumed I was gay in high school because I never brought home a guy, who were more readily accepting of potential girlfriends than the idea that I was too shy to land the dudes I liked. They were parents who let me go to school for creative writing and fall into philosophy instead; they let me fall back out to pursue a career in the music business.
My father drove me to the train station after a recent visit and as he said goodbye, he offered the only criticism I’ve heard him give in years: “I haven’t seen much of your writing lately. What’s up?”
I have been gainfully employed and upwardly mobile for my entire adult life, and my father still pushes me to write more because he sees it in my future. My parents do not care who I love, if I get married, if I have kids, if I switch careers, if I drink too much whiskey, if I swear, if I will always be a little rough around the edges. They gave me that roughness and they raised me not to be a wife, a mother, or even a strong woman. They raised me to be a person and they don’t give a shit what I do as long as I am making art in some way.
And so on the days when everything in the world explodes around me, I can be outraged on behalf of a state, supportive on behalf of a nation, and forever in love with the people who make the art that means the most to me regardless of their personal decisions. I get to worry about my own art because the rest of it was never called into question. I get to walk through life just being a person, and I get to throw my moods off the Manhattan Bridge to the soundtrack of a Laura who used to be a Tom singing, “there’s a joy in all I can see, a joy in every possibility.”
And I can hope for the possibility of everyone else getting to walk through life just being a person, too.