Since late last night I’ve been in the mood to write. But what am I trying to say? This morning my older son is enjoying his morning pastimes of reading to himself and watching bugs and birds out the window, and “catching sunshine” in a little jar, sitting in the patch of sun that lands on the corner chair at this time every day. My younger son is sleeping peacefully next to me, sleeping as only an infant can, on the dining table next to the roses and gerber daisies.
What I’m trying to say, I think, has something to do with the barrage of headlines I read last night in bed. But recently I’ve had a hard time parsing my own personal (hormonal/postpartum?) anxiety from the circumstances of the world. I have to remind myself every day and night to stop recalling and fretting over embarrassing or immature events from my past, things I hadn’t thought about in years. Gigs where I didn’t perform well, social interactions when I said the wrong thing. I have to reassure myself that I am loved. I have to check my anger and dismay over the lack of leadership in our world, the corruption and mismanagement, and remind myself that at this point I couldn’t influence it much even if I sacrificed my life for the cause.
I am endlessly thankful at this time to live in the ‘burbs, yes, the place I’d thought was rather sterile and boring and a privileged bubble, somewhat unconscious and too homogenous. How this virus has changed my perspective! I couldn’t be luckier–a safe and clean neighborhood, a home with so many windows, a yard with roses and an inspiring oak, fresh air, birdsong, sunshine, and even a pool. I read in the news about the exodus from cities; I talk with my siblings in their apartments in New York and Chicago and imagine what it would be like right now to have to take an elevator to go outdoors. I feel so lucky that we moved out of the city when we did.
As we spiral into what feels like a monumentally dystopian future, I am, I guess, also in mourning. I already miss making music. I miss the live collaboration that for me is the most rewarding experience of my career, and I even miss all the craziness (even the inconvenience) of it. I miss going places and seeing people I don’t know, and being part of a crowd. I find myself missing people from choir or the town coffee shop, and I am especially surprised to miss the ones I never liked much. The only people I talk to now are the ones who make me a priority and whom I make a priority; how else could we manage a zoom call? I love them all but I strangely miss all the people I don’t love, or even like. That entire component of my community is gone.
I think everything stopping is teaching us a lot about ourselves. These selves were here all along. For me, I am noticing how much more I could have embraced resting before. We need the rest. Musicians are not the only ones wondering this, but I wonder daily: will our professional field even still exist in two years? As depressing as it is to consider that it could be years of not teaching live, not collaborating in person with any colleagues, and not participating in or attending any live performances, I am doing it now and I can continue if we must. If there were ever a good time to be a stay-at-home mom, this would be it for me, the time with two small children. These are the two years to do it.
Submitted by Katina Mitchell, San Mateo County – San Carlos.