I’m trying to describe that emotional mixture where you feel deeply content and deeply unsettled at the exact same time.
It’s like walking all day across icy sidewalks that constantly beckon you to your death, then – arriving at a fabric store where you can buy large quantities of colour – so much colour! – and you buy $76 worth of this stuff, this large colourful pattern to hang on your living room wall, and you’re so happy with it (though a little stressed about spending this much of your tiny paycheque) – and then you return out to the cold, grey ice-covered death trap of a sidewalk in attempts to bring it home. Will you make it home??? You just want to transport like 13 feet of semi-loud bird-patterned fabric safely to your personal abode, and it’s requiring every muscle of your body to steady you, every bit of attention on the ground, every step meticulously placed. Has no one in this town heard of salt??? This bird fabric becomes brighter and more precious with each step.
And I’m like, yeah, this is definitely worth my time, energy and money. Donald Trump is actually president and in the process of doing deeply irreversible damage to humanity as a whole as we speak, and here I am with my fucking pinterest project. Here I am clinging to my bird fabric. I feel so small and powerless, yet also a small amount of transcendence. Fuck the world that through inaction actively seeks my undoing, that could care less about me and my path, my goddamn hopes and dreams. I will find and keep my joy in the middle of this wasteland.
I’m at a Holy Fuck show at a venue called The Good Will. I’ve been looking forward to it for awhile – I haven’t danced in a long time. The venue is absolutely perfect and soon becomes a swimming pool of sound washing over me. It’s absolutely wonderful. It welcomes me home like I’ve been away for too long and it’s glad to see me.
I grin like I’m falling in love. And like love, it takes on a religious tone, and I swear I hear organs echoing in a cathedral, reminiscent of some hymn I knew a long time ago. My hand is over my forehead and I’m crying now, but totally try to keep it under wraps.
And then the sound becomes turbulent, carrying me with it, and for once in my life I understand the appeal of hardcore music – I was sadly way too repressed to let myself enjoy it a teenager. I want to throw down, I want to scream, and the music welcomes my anger and pain with a warm smile and says “Yes, go ahead.” I go ahead.
I wonder if anyone thinks I’m on drugs because I’m like, very into this whole concert, but I don’t even care.
And then the crowd-pleaser, Lovely Allen, with its upward marching arpeggios and screaming jet engine synthesizers, building and building into a celebration of what is and can be – if only you go forward – farther, farther than you think you can go, only if you don’t stop.
The show closes with sounds both human and alien, beckoning towards more, to be more, to feel more – to envision beautiful worlds that have not yet become.
I walk home and barely notice the ice this time. Maybe my body has acclimatized to it. For some reason a strain of an old hymn runs through my head and I find myself singing it out loud:
Be thou my vision, O lord of my heart
Naught be all else to me save that thou art
Thou my best thought, by day or by night
Waking or sleeping, thy presence my light
Riches I heed not, nor man’s empty praise
Thou mine inheritance, now and always
Thou and thou only first in my heart
High king of heaven, my treasure thou art
The words both haunt and comfort me as I sing them. What is this feeling? It’s been with me the entire day. And then it hits me.
It’s the feeling of home.