Toy Study: performative mission
it is expensive to grieve. it is expensive to be a sober addict. 20 years sober and still it costs me. in this white supremacist, colonial, capitalist patriarchy i'm supposed to keep going. get closure. be healed. move on. be healthy. be strong.
as a self-employed heARTist, there was no bereavement leave when my sons died at birth. but in the corporate greed world, it would have only been three days leave anyway. what kind of joke is that? "you've got three days to get over it and be productive again back here at the work place." that's what we tell bereaved people when we allow them to grieve.
but as a self-employed sober addict, not even that was given.
in the years since, beloved unkies and mimis have died. we've stood grave side as a goddaughter was buried. we were homeless in our car on the infamous 9/11.
but this is now. stay in this moment.
i can manage the present moment. but still. it is expensive to grieve. it is expensive to be a sober addict. it still costs me each and every day as i make present moment choices to ask for help instead of use. to attempt expression instead of use. to breathe instead of use.
i remember the day it changed. i woke up in the redwood forest. dragging. not clear on how i got there. fog receding up the massive thighs of the redwood tree goddesses. and i heard the voice clear as the ping in my last hearing test. it gently said,
"you can keep doing this if you want, but you will be dead by the end of this year. your choice."
it cost me relationships. it cost me my masters degrees (yes, i was working on two of them at the time). it cost me the hurt i caused so many who hadn't realized i was an addict, i told lies, i was not able to function even though it looked like i could.
grief, love, choosing to live, choosing sobriety...it all costs. sometimes i'm willing to pay. sometimes i'm not. sometimes i feel i am on mission. sometimes it feels like a performative mission. AND i know that it costs me a great deal to be this broken (open) while trying to survive in a white supremacist capitalist world that says i don't do it right, i don't deserve healthcare, housing, food security because i don't work hard enough. the hard work i do each day choosing to stay...there is no pay scale for it...that will not show up on any GDP scale or other indicator.
it is expensive to be invisible.
and i pay it every single day.
for 20 years any way.
Bio: Kara LC Jones is the Creative Grief Educator and heARTist behind GriefAndCreativity.com. She co-founded both the Creative Grief Studio and KotaPress. She’s a Carnegie Mellon graduate who interned 3 years at Mister Rogers Neighborhood back in the day.
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