Green, orange and purple paint cover the soles of my Chucks, and the soul of my being.
Thirteen weeks of design, direction, community, youth, art, love.
Breathing it in, soaking it up, adoring the pulsating energy of the way it moves across the concrete and fills in space that is both metaphoric and tangible.
I woke up this morning and drank soy-filled coffee and danced to music in my head.
The sun streamed through the window of my sublet and the butterflies started up again.
Don’t get me wrong, the wings of those critters make me move, get up and embrace the challenges that stop me in my tracks. I want to run and hide, but I am better than that lost child I may have been years ago. But, oh, sometimes it could be rad to sit on a soft window seat in an old house in the woods.
That’s what camping trips are for.
My calling is here, and there and anywhere where I can give and take, a place where reciprocation is real and being a mentee and a mentor create sparks all around me.
I dreamt of this day.
She is sleeping beside me, and as the burrito shell rises and falls, I fall deeper in like.
They pull on their beat-up t-shirts below me as I rise above the world on the scaffolding.
We are all the same – young beings wanting to share our moments with those who make us giggle and build walls of trust that stick harder than mud and honey.
A handful of queer youth represent themselves with smiles and shy eyes on the site as we carry canvas and near empty paint cans around the lot littered with slushee cups and beehives. They see us modeling the behavior of love and kindness, helping one another with a squeeze here, a drink of water there.
“Let me clean your brushes,” I say, as our eyes linger longer than 1, 2, 3, 4…small shoulders waiting to be brushed by a hard-working hand that only hours before filled in an abstract design created from the depths of her inner heart chamber.
They know. All of them. We didn’t say a word – or at least not with our vocal cords.
“If you have the shorter hair does that mean you are the boy?”
With a slight headshake, discussions ensue about gender and the societal ways pearl earrings and baseball hats have pre- disposed body types to cover.
We smash that.
No jabs or sneers, all people have respect on the site, and I don’t think I have ever been so proud of the young hearts in my community.
Like parents of a large family, we move through the days with advice and questions and care. They fight, they drink, they smoke, they cuddle with their mom or their partners, and we talk about it.
Double their age and they look up with appreciative eyes – we are doing what they may have never seen before: being self-aware and self-loved, while also playing a committed role of oohs and ahhs to the person who sits across from each other as we eat peas with parmesan.
Like fireworks. It works.
No roles assigned – you be in front of me, and then I will be in front of you. You wear my shirt, and I will do the laundry this week. You teach me how to do that trick and I will hold your hand as we sip wine from plastic cups.
They see us. All of them.
What a gift for us, for them, for the movement towards Yes; Acceptance!
I have been moved before, but this is not the same. It shoots through my veins like a rocket. “What comes is better than what came before.”
The most natural light to penetrate my skin in my lifetime. So good. So right. Thank you.