The lyrics to one of the songs from Hamilton: An American Musical has been imprinted upon my brain since I first heard it, & as the musical’s cultural domination has come to fruition, it has become a cry of celebration for many. For me, it has become my daily bread.
Look around! Look around at how lucky we are to be alive right now!
On this, the eve of the end (dear God, please let it be the end) of an exceptionally brutal election season, considering ourselves lucky might seem like an odd sentiment. The rhetoric has become so inflamed, each incendiary word opening the door for wider rifts.
I’m not here to harp on divisiveness, however. I’ve always preferred diversity. The most beautiful tapestries are those that weave together threads of varied color & texture, the finished work ending up a conglomerate of hues that captivate as a whole what the parts could not do alone.
This season of life has been one for the unexpected. The catalyst that precipitated (ha ha) this blog & its ensuing calamity brought more than just water & books into my life. It altered the way that I see people, becoming a pertinent reminder of the good of humanity. What a prescient lesson to learn considering what was to come via news outlets & presidential debates.
It has been said that things aren’t always what they seem. Brendan Wenzel’s They All Saw a Cat is a divinely exquisite reminder of that. Wenzel’s rendering of a cat through various art forms serves as a visual reminder that everything is tinted to our perspective. We can’t control what we see, but we do have a grasp on how we view it. Everything is but a transaction, shaded by what we knew before. We make our own decisions. I choose to be happy — thrilled even — at the prospect of having a day where I get to interact with my family, friends, & books (which, on occasion, are both family & friends).
In all that has broken hearts in 2016, whether it was the flood or the passing of Prince, there was joy to be found.
What a delight it was to discover that Solange had put out one of the best records of the year.
In each box I have unpacked at school (of which there have been many), elation was found among the books & notes, the smiles of the donors effortlessly transposed onto the gifts they gave.
One of the great pleasures of my life was spending the day with Rita Williams-Garcia & her husband, sharing stories & hopes & laughs & sweet potato pie.
For the first time in my life, my beloved Chicago Cubs made it to the World Series which caused me to burst into (happy) tears — in both public & private — no fewer than 15 times. When they, in an astonishing fashion that could only be attributed to the Cubs, actually won the World Series, I wept openly for days, each tear a salty drop of ebullience. When one of your lifelong dreams actually comes true in the rapid fire motion of Kris Bryant’s arm, you have no other option but to be effusive.
Being able to find satisfaction & gratification is a byproduct of caring deeply. I care about the varying threads that we use to weave our tapestry; each one is vital to its vibrancy & soul. I care about true artists using books as a medium to teach empathy, emboldening them to bridge the tolerance gaps. I care about albums that celebrate a culture of which I am not a part because everybody is somebody. I care about a group of dudes playing a game that captivated the world & gave me permission to fly the W on my front porch for three weeks.
I also care about many things with which you might disagree. When I head to the polls in a few hours, I may vote for a different person than the one you chose. I’ve been with her since 2007, & nothing has changed. That doesn’t mean that I don’t also care about you. I do, ever so much, care about you.
It is Election Day in America. In less than 24 hours, we could very well have our first female President. Whatever your leanings, that is remarkable. However, even if the outcome doesn’t swing my way, I will have still spent the day with my family, taking them into the voting booth, sharing meals, & sitting together in a darkened movie theatre, & at each turn of the day, I’ll be thinking to myself & reminding them as well to look around. Look around at how lucky we are to be alive right now.