Up at 7:30 this morning, made eggs, beans, onions and garlic on the propane stove. And then left with Jess to go to the women’s shelter training.
And it was cancelled for easter, of course. But we still showed up, and now know it exists, and how to get there in a round about way.
Was really disappointed, but got a contact number. Apparently you can volunteer 20 hour before you get fingerprinted. So we’ll see if I can do something next weekend with them. Serve food, whatever. Was still pretty bummed, and just wanted things to flow. But then decided that I wanted to try to make this the best possible thing that could happen to me. Jess used their bathroom, and then we left.
Next, Jess and I drove to the MLK community center that we helped with a community garden at one day in December. It was raining, and we also helped this man carry food and donated goods into the building. He had three truckloads, and we assembly lined it into the storage room impromtu.
Well, we remembered this man that we met for 10 minutes three months ago. Actually, Jess remembered him. And we went to see if he had got his dream going, Youth Explosion. He was starting a non profit with local youth, empowering them to support the community. It was a really cool idea.
Well, we walk in, not really knowing if we’d see this man again. But of course, the secretary directs us into the common room, and it is hopping.
There are about 40 high school/college students in there setting up. There is a clothes donation table, a packed food donation table, a hot breakfast being prepared, medical students with heart rate and other standard tests for those without access to health care, and then there were people setting up crafts for kids, and much much more. It was super empowering and cool– he was obviously leading this effort, the man we had met, but the kids our age were taking it on as their own as well.
Then, out the front door, there were a few kids registering people coming in, I think it was all just open to the public. It was great. And they are here the first to third Saturday every weekend, and then on the forth weekend, they are in Del Paso at a community center there. And Del Paso is literally in walking distance from our campsite. And that’s where they need the most help.
So we’ll probably help out the next few weeks and see where it takes us. But definitely try and get our whole team to help out in Del Paso in a few weeks.
We picked up the application forms, and Mark said he could fast track us. They usually do background checks, but since he “knew” us, we would be fine.
*There are posters all over town for “Fyah on the Water” which is happening at our camp in a few weeks. It’s the reggae festival, and it’s on 4/20 weekend. Very much on purpose. Don’t know how that’s going to go down. They will be camping in our living room.
So anyway. We learned more about youth explosion, and then sat down in the lobby of the community center, and passed a pen back and forth as we read our individual books/papers. Jess is still reading Malcolm X, I was reading the local Sac newspaper. Half of which was filled with weed advertisements, but also had a bunch of good information about local events. I wrote so much down, we had to eventually find a second pen.
Like, tomorrow, at the public library, Sister Spit. A feminist spoken word night with traveling spoken word artists, event started in San Francisco and continued in Sacramento.
A woman came up to us and asked her to check on her dog, Butterscotch, on the front of the community center.
Jess warning me, if I read Malcolm X after her “You will be approached by many people.”
The MLK community center is in Oak park. We don’t really know the area of Sac yet, but I’ve definitely heard about Oak Park before. But when I start reading the cover page article in the newspaper, which is about the correlation between rap culture, and scapegoating it to violence in the city (i.e., there was a shooting in February at a hip hop concert in town, and now a bunch of venues and community influence has shut out hip hop groups in general. i.e.. also gentrification at play…) but anyways. They had a part about gangs in Sacramento, and one of the two they mentioned was the bloods from the area the community center we were in. Synchronicity. What are the chances. I’ve been waiting to read that issue for a week or so, and it took me until I was actually in the neighborhood to read. Metaphorical, maybe. I like to jump into the places before I learn about them. Not that I was in a gang environment today– it was a really nice and involved community center. With people from very diverse backgrounds all coming together. In essence, it was exactly the opposite of what you would consider gang culture. So just goes to show.
But I wrote down a bunch of the local rappers, and really want to learn more about that culture. In the article it was saying how Sac is more of a hip hop SCENE, not production. Precisely because of the love/hate relationship the city has to the culture.
I found out about a lot of local spoken word events also, lots of culture out here, man. Lots of real shit happening.
I also read about an anti-vaxer rally on the steps of the state capitol (10 minutes from my campsite) and really wanted to go. Just to see what these people are like. These people who don’t want to protect their kids against rusty nails, because they thing the vaccine is going to hurt them. Can’t believe it’s actually an issue people are screaming at about out here.
I realized today that I don’t have to passionately care about whatever I decide to join for the day. I just get to experience it, and write about it. Which I guess is what I took from today, not being able to help at the women’s shelter yet. It’s time to keep exploring, not just going straight to what I already know I am interested in being involved with. And what I already know what I believe about.
So it’s all up in the air, you know.
Two hours later, Jess and I looked up at one another, and nodded that it was time to go. Drove to a Moroccan restaurant, got food, parked at a Safeway, and then walked downtown together, parting ways as soon as we hit J street.
I walked around, I explored a new direction. Eventually directed back to the main downtown, which is super, super gay. Gay bars, gay restaurants, gay coffeeshops, gay flags on every street corner, gay gay gay great.
And this weekend something special was going on, there were drag queens on every corner, blasting music and talking to people passing by. Me, being myself at 24 years old, crossed the street so I wouldn’t have to interact with anyone. But man, it was a party. And a competition. Apparently there was an election taking place, for queen, empress of the downtown. And everyone was super happy and wearing tights and Easter Bunny ears.
Nice way to end the morning.
Made it to a coffee shop, where there are these gay rights activists hanging out. They are here every weekend I come– probably everyday. Asking people passing by if they will support gay rights.
Slipped by them, and made it into the coffee shop. Where I am writing, and chilling out. Going to read a bit. And here for the day probably. Have the keys, don’t know how Jess and I got away with having the keys all morning, all day, but it’s been great.
I just wanted to let you know that it’s not all drag queen Easter bunnies and perfect flow in my life right now, and that I am just as uninspired as always at times. But it’s just a matter of ignoring it, or letting it run me.
Last night, for some reason, I had the lowest night I’ve had in a long, long time. Probably for the whole time I’ve been in the program. Which was weird. It came out of the blue, nothing really happened. I just wasn’t feeling any of it anymore. I wasn’t feeling alive.
George had said that thing about me being different earlier in the night, and it was half compliment. But it also hit a little too close to home, I think.
And so when I was walking downtown, late at night by myself, seeing all of these people my age with nice midtown apartments, adorable dogs laying on couches, wine and laughter on the porches full of just the right amount of people out in the cool California night air, and I just felt kind of lonely and desperate. Like I was 15 again, and just wanted to belong somewhere, didn’t care where that somewhere was.
I knew at the time that it was just a mood, that it would pass. But also, when I feel like that, it feels as if it will never pass. That anxiety to make the connections I need, make the art I need to, make the life I need to. But feeling no motivation, drive or confidence to do any of it.
And so, I just want to say, that it doesn’t matter how high any of us soar, we all slide down low sometimes.
And that’s what I didn’t realize last night when I was in my funk. When it felt like I was the only one that felt so alone and purposeless. It’s everyone at one point or another. But the way you win in those situations is A. get some sleep B. rise above and don’t take your anxiety seriously C. Just do something to change it. Be what excites you.
I didn’t choose any of these last night. Last night I chose D: Go to a packed dessert diner, which I didn’t even know existed before last night, and spend $11 on carrot cake and chocolate chip cookies.
And you know what? Option D. is acceptable every once in awhile.
Not very often, but I feel alive because I did exactly what I wanted last night.
And now today, and for a long time now, I’m just going to do exactly what I know I have to do to grow.
Self soothing doesn’t need to come at the price of $11. And desperation doesn’t reach you if you continue to follow your dreams daily, and go with the flow.
So today I’ve done both. I followed my dreams with the women’s center, and when that didn’t work out, I just went with the flow.
Which included sitting in a community center that I did not belong to, and did not look like anyone else in the place. No one there was white, and it was incredibly wonderful to be around. I was talking to Jess about it later, and she agreed with me. We are made from the same history.
Was telling her how I always feel more comfortable around people that don’t look like, talk like or think like what I know. I like that variety, I like that new.
It comes from never feeling like I fit in with people around me, and so have always been attracted to being around people different than me. Because then there is no comparing, no judgment, no being anything except exactly what I am.
Why I studied abroad, why she studied abroad. Why we both did this program.
We want to get lost with people we don’t know. And then find more people we don’t know.
Comfort where others find discomfort. I don’t know if that’s because of past rejection, or just because we are made for change.
Either way, bring it on.