it feels so different. i mean, i'm still the same, we are all the same, we are still here. but there are actual cameras on. there is actual discussion. it's like we used that whole month to get older and more confident and locate better wifi.
i always forget the difference between fall and spring is that they are, if not refreshed, more accustomed to what it is we are doing. they return ready to think. also they get to choose my class, so when they arrive in it, it's actually something about which they care rather than a rando thing in which they were autoenrolled.
it makes me sad because i'm aware this is what last semester could've been like too, were it not for the cyberattack and the chaos. this is where it felt, after the first two weeks of last semester, we were headed and then we just never got there because we were clinging onto the face of the cliff with our stubby little nails.
but here we are now. new year, same us, but better, somewhat, at least for now.
today, true story, a student unmuted to compliment the snazzy owl mug.
the one year anniversary of the date rape has passed. i spent it standing in a park with four friends, freezing our asses off in a blizzard, literally huddled around a tin of fresh-from-the-oven butter cookies for warmth.
i now know what some of the people i know would look like as extras in titanic.
legit, at one point, there was a sheet of ice coating my left cheek.
but it was lovely and it was perfect, as was the chinese and the pot brownie i had later. as was the feeling the next morning that i'd made it through-- the day, the year, the night, who even knows. all of it. i am getting through.
the jackiebook is careening towards something. the publisher sent over hands down the most comically awful title.
truly. you couldn't craft a stupider one. even if you tried really really hard. well. actually. i'm remembering how some biographers in the past put their two heads together and came up with jackie: after and before, which was, let's be real, pretty dreadful.
but this one, they snuck it in there, in a draft of the publication announcement, without ever discussing it with me. and, first, i laughed out loud. and then i called my agent to say HELL NO.
we'll see what happens.
it's nice having an agent though. to do your dirty work and stand firm for you. i'm so tired of doing all of that myself. nice not to be imperiled by my own impulses to immediately bend, nor to have to put forth the emotional energy of not.
i have hopes of seeing my parents in the coming weeks. i have hopes of keeping the cats alive. i have hopes. that's a vast improvement.
N is having a rough week so we facetimed this morning, and i put the camera on marcel playing with his octopus wand, and N and her kid crowded around her phone watching me play with this tigery cat for at least a solid five minutes in total delight. and i was reminded of that video from an ex's family, of one of the grandkids napping in the 1980s. and by the end of the afternoon, it feels like that moment was from a whole other day. but what a lovely moment.
win (the kid) kept calling marcel bingley and N kept correcting him, reminding him that bingley has died. but what i felt in the moment was OUCH, but also such love that bing is remembered. claude, dick that he is, has obviously forgotten and maybe never even cared, so it often feels that i mourn alone.
i left classes on tuesday feeling exhilarated, and reminded of how fun teaching can be. wednesday hit me like a bus. but today, again, it was exciting. it wasn't exciting last semester. last semester felt like my hair was on fire the whole time. last spring, jesus christ LAST SPRING. last spring felt like i was being burned inside out.
harm was done. improvements are occurring.
things are going to happen. things are, in fact, already happening.
i feel blessed to have been able to write throughout all of this. i feel terribly blessed that words are a thing i have.
i hesitate to say i am grateful. for any of this. because, so often, in violence, it feels like there's an imperative to be grateful for the trauma. to slot it into one's life in such a way that it has been productive or contributed productively to who you are today.
if anything, i am here in spite of all of that has happened. if anything, i have, so often, barely even been here. so, no, i am not grateful. blessed, but ungrateful, that is where i am. and that is ok. because it is good to be somewhere.
remember: wherever you go, there you are? a thing the eaton family once found so profound that we ironed it onto multiple sweatshirts.
god, how young i was when i wrote about that all the way back then, in 2009, when the world came crashing down on me in ways i did not understand. i actually am grateful for that, for the freedom of being let go and the resulting course correction of my whole life.
so maybe the gratitude will come with time or maybe the gratitude is unessential. time will tell.
it is exciting to see faces. it is exciting to talk about my book. it is exciting to feel excitement.
that is where i am.
i am there.
i am here.
and that's enough. it sounds like a fucking ridiculous affirmation, but it's true. being here, it is enough.