Jumbo Steps: From ‘good mourning’ to ‘good morning’

Not even Carm’s endless supply of tater tots could’ve convinced me to untangle myself from my cocoon of sheets. I knew it was a bad idea to forgo breakfast for sleep last Wednesday morning. But I also knew that sleeping would better nourish my mind and body. I woke up with 10 minutes to spare before beginning my three-hour portrait painting class. Whoops.

I was absolutely irate — not just because I skipped breakfast and barely had any time to dress, brush my teeth, pack my art supplies and walk to class. My phone’s alarm blaring at me didn’t only wake me physically, it mentally jolted me.

Waking up meant thinking, and thinking hurt. I didn’t want to begin my day thinking about the future of Trump’s America or about my upcoming genetics and physiology midterms or about my sore throat or especially about my grandfather’s passing the night before.

I was relieved that my teacher didn’t scold me for arriving late. I quickly set up my easel and paints but then packed them up just as quickly — our model didn’t show up. We soon began discussing the results of the election (literally the one topic I wished we hadn’t broached, lest I go thinking more again).

We spent the rest of class practicing a brushstroke technique we were supposed to use on our model. The political discourse ceased as soon as we began painting. But I detested the quietness, too.

“Lizi, I have a weird request,” I said to my professor, breaking the silence in the room I had just yearned for. “Can we all go around and say something we’re happy about? Or something that makes us happy?” Our teacher loved the idea. Some people said one thing, others shared more.

The collective shift in mood was palpable. I loved it. We were celebrating, not commiserating. Smiling, not sulking.

I left class, one hand (easily) clutching my art box and one brain (arduously) clutching onto only positive, thankful thoughts. I beelined to Wren to drop off my art supplies before meeting up for lunch with a friend, in front of whom I unabashedly inhaled slice after slice of cheese pizza. (Pizza for breakfast? Don’t tell my mom.)

The food was good, but the company was better. My lunch buddy was among the first few people I’d told about my grandfather’s passing. I think she could tell I wasn’t in the mood to revisit that thought, so we talked politics for a bit.

I didn’t mind hearing about the election this time, because I didn’t really care what she was talking about. All I cared about was not having to eat lunch alone. All I cared about was being with someone — someone who could distract me from thinking about very recent emotionally-taxing events.

We were almost done eating when another friend (who, unlike my lunch buddy, wasn’t privy to my more personal issues) stopped at our table.

“How are you guys holding up today? Like, how are you feeling post-election?”

I responded with a simple, “I’ve decided to be happy and thankful today.” Little did he know, I was referring to more than just my feelings toward the election.


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