So, I used up all my patience on my trip to NC. I'm excited about QUIP's Youth Book Project, relieved that the board works so well together and a little bit cranky about getting dragged back into the wider world of Friends. I'm also feeling a little anxious about the amount of energy this project is going to require. I'm already exhausted.
It's hard work speaking in front of a group, even when it's just a bunch of Quakers who want to pat you on the head and tell you you're awesome. It's hard to have your photo taken over and over and over again when you've gained a lot of weight over the past year or so and are still really uncomfortable with it. It's hard work to act as recording clerk in most situations, but when you factor in theological and cultural differences it's even harder.
Moreover, I had to face a lot of difficult memories while I was there. Memories of a dear friend and mentor who committed suicide two years ago. Memories of past experiences of ecumenical Quakerism gone awry. Memories of campus drama from college and feeling unsupported by all the communities I identified with. I really wasn't expecting to have to talk to anyone about how I came to leave QLSP, or what the joint North Carolina Yearly Meeting sessions or Youth Quake were like for me. And I really wasn't prepared to see a portrait of my mentor hanging in the library.
There was a lot of talk about life transitions over the course of the long weekend and in a lot of ways I was truly blessed as I transitioned from college student to working girl. I never questioned my faith, although I struggled and grew with it. I never questioned my career path, although it hasn't always been easy. I really wish I could talk to my mentor about work right now.
I've grown a lot since college. I've learned to build community with individuals and no longer believe it intrinsically when groups tell me I'm welcome. I've learned to accept my abilities and leadings with a great deal less angst. I've even learned to speak in public without dissociating! I've learned to stand up for myself and to ask for what I need. Most importantly I've learned how to take care of myself.
So tonight I'm taking care of myself. I'm going to go to a tequila tasting and then an opera performance. Later this weekend there will be a tour of local artist studios, most likely a viewing of R. Kelly's entire Trapped in the Closet, and perhaps I'll even perform the 1812 overture as part of a "Last-Minute Orchestra". I'm filling my weekend with the silly, the outrageous, the artsy and the delicious. In the meantime, I'm enjoying work emails that warn of a potential "interruption as a result of the manhole fire."
Perhaps on Monday I'll be ready to transfer my notes about what I've agreed to do into my big to-do list. Maybe by First Day I'll be ready to go to worship. And if not, I'm not going to worry about it. He always gives me enough strength to do the things He's asked me to do, so I know I'll be fine.