Yesterday Jeremy and I were sitting on our couch and facing the door to our apartment, and it occurred to me just how much of our life was currently represented by the debris in our entryway. Since yesterday, even more life has happened, making our entry way admittedly messy, but authentically so. Did I want to clean before photographing? Desperately! But that would have negated the time spent (or lack of time spent) flinging our coats off and casting off our boots because our radiator is hyperactive. It would have fed into the social media perfection machine. To clean would be to edit, to cover up the life that hides in the small moments. And my title promises that this is unfiltered, and it’s not clean either.
This post has been sitting at the bottom of my brain basin for a long time, waiting to surface at the right moment. I actually wrote the majority of this post before the Mormon Facebook Apocalypse of 2015. Still, I’ve held onto this post. I think the time is finally right, as I confront the painful, vulnerable fact that I’ve been spiritually wounded. This is a loaded admission, one that opens up your soul to further misunderstanding, judgment, and (perhaps most terrifyingly and only in a few extreme cases) ire.
Last Thursday, I walked home from classes and saw traffic backup piling into an intersection. It wasn’t Times Square Status by any means, but there was a bit of kerfluffle, since it’s not an intersection that is usually very busy. It was easy to peer ahead and see the source of the commotion was a row of ambulances (ambuli?) huddled around a storefront, pulling someone out on a stretcher and loading him or her into the vehicle.
I think I am still a little too doe-eyed to be an official New Yorker, or so the pleasant, yet barbed Uber driver seemed to imply. “Your husband will do fine, but you? You’re too nice.”
It was my official New York Welcome. Taylor Swift was dead wrong; New York does not wait for anyone.
For me, High School was not this gaseous pit of endless misery. I liked it. By-and-large, I don’t think I would tolerate teaching in a high school if I didn’t appreciate most of my four years of deep teenagerism.
But there was that time. It was the first time that I ever really could ask myself, “Am I depressed? Is this what depression feels like?”
I was a sophomore in the height of my silliness. Peter was a senior, super cool, musical. I can picture the way his fingers pluck mildly, deliberately, smoothly at his upright bass that was taller than me. Even his fingers had soul.
I don’t know what Peter Spear saw in me as a person. I wasn’t funny or clever. I was my worst self.
Peter took me in anyway.
One day, Peter told me he wanted to show me a song. He led me down to his bedroom and I remember feeling instantly nervous. I’d been warned about upperclassmen boys and I’d been warned about their bedrooms. I’d been warned about basements with boys.
But Peter was genuine. He genuinely wanted to play me a song. He popped in a CD, and lit some incense (this is not a euphemism for marijuana), and he laid down on his nasty couch repurposed as a bed that he’d literally found. He wanted to listen to the song all the way through without talking. He called this a “Chill Session.” And for an hour or two every day, we’d go listen to music and obliterate our cares and annihilate our heartbreaks. It was better than yoga. It was better than a lot of things.
We’d spend a lot of time in his basement bedroom with a nasty couch instead of a bed. This probably would have HORRIFIED my parents if they knew, but nothing happened but healing.
I promise Peter fixed me.
Peter Spear was the only person in the world who had shorter fingernails than me. I keep thinking about them.
I don’t know how else to process what happened to Peter Spear. But I like to think that he’s still here, still the same boy, helping everyone else with their sad feelings.
|Peter played my big brother, George Gibbs, in Our Town. Here we are, looking at the moon.|
I should probably apologize to any of you who felt the world stop spinning somewhere between 7:00 and 8:00 this morning. That’s because Jeremy and I put the world on pause and just allowed ourselves to believe for a moment that we had all the time in the world to just be. We lapsed into a comfortable cuddle–not the kind filled with pointy scapulas, uneven weight distribution, and a little too much muscle tension. This cuddle was perfect and relaxing as we drifted in and out of sleep, and dreamed together about spending an entire day with the world on pause.
- · Our religion asks us to be a nurturer. There are a ton of sub-responsibilities in this category.
- · Our religion’s culture asks us to be a homemaker, and I suggest that you that there is a difference between nurturer and homemaker.
- · Society says we need to be working women, severe, pencil-skirt wearing, ambitious feminists.
- · Society suggests that we need to be friendly, affable, social party-goers, because there is something wrong with introverted women that prefer good books to good booze.
- · We are made fun of by men for being “overly-emotional,” and Heaven forbid, we have tempers.
- · The University asks us to be high-achieving, good-grade obtainers.
- · The Media suggests we need to be sexy, yet also guarders of virtue.
- · The world makes us feel like we should be skinny at all times, in all places, in all bikinis.