Aave post-it notes ever looked more gorgeous than they look on the awning of my thesis today?
The slogan of my thesis is go for it, schragis.
I say it alound only in a slightly deepened tone
the one I crafted with my elbows on the table,
when I observed none of the girls were talking in sophmore seminar.
At that time I considered dropping the SCHR in my name.
Rachel Agis- If it didn't sound so much like Hagis I might have gone for it.
I'm glad it didn't. It sounded like how I thought the artist I wanted to be then sounded.
I didn't want to be that artist, I realized. I didn't know I wanted to be this one until I was it already, some days I still don't know.
Some days I say my name over and over to myself, to imagine what it might be like to know me if I weren't in me.
I was doing that just when Zachary called out schragis! as I whizzed by on my bike.
I didn't like when I started organizing with Jews and I'd get called that, but there were too many Rachels- our parents all liking the strength of the hard-stop E.L. among the white-enough old testament names. We did THINK we were being original my father shakes his head and says.
Something turned, over a few years, and I'm staring at this beautiful pink thing I'm making, with my pretty new pierced ears and Beyonce on saying: Go for it, Schragis. and knowing what's at stake when I choose to love the harsh slavic sound.
There have been a lot of pivots from stances a few years ago, enough to know history isn't over
I'll pivot again.
There is a lot of time to worry about the details but not enough time to wince at the past.
After 6 years of staying close to home, this year I let work let me travel, just a tiny bit, and I am feeling overwhelmedwith how much there is for knowing:
that each place and experience is as complicated as the ones I've settled in to.
This year I'm realizing that valuing humanity means knowing that every life is peppered with as much complexity as mine. And that part of hegemony is the ways in which people are asked to act like my story matters more.
Well- here you are. This does not mean I matter less. (though I start to worry, of course, about what it means to dwell on the verb matter)
I take a deep breath: pick up the complexity to take with you, but go for it, Schragis.
What are the words for the days you put the hand-wringing aside?
I think about this time and I cup my hands like they're holding something glowing.
Jenny said "it's not personal, that this capricious thing chose you, this time, not to crush".
I come here every day to work and I feel the opposite of crushed, and I think this does not make me less angry at the cruelty in the world.
Perhaps you can trust yourself, Schragis, not to forget the big picture while you allow yourself these three beautiful months of being a student of your own art. Perhaps you are old enough to know that the big picture, even your tiny sliver of it, is actually very long.
You will take more months in years ahead, Schragis, you will birth more weird children like this one. You have been given a good life, you are making a good thing. It's just one space.