We all have different ways of cheering ourselves up after a hard day. For me, the April rains had brought with it a slew of rejection letters from art grants and missed residency deadlines like the Studio Museum in Harlem (that I could swear was jinxed). That’s the 2nd bloody year in a row I’ve missed that application! A lack of cash had me sitting still at home facing a drawn out day of what-the-hell-is-wrong-with-me-it-should-have-been-marked-on-my-calendar-and-why-hasn’t-that-job-called-me-back-am-I-some-kind-of-loser?!
Beholden! My ‘Screw the Gloom’ routine kicked in. As an artist, I like to work with my hands, so I jumped out of bed, gulped down some tea and started moving around the kitchen chairs. It was time to sweep. Next thing I know I flinging around the kitchen with an old broom seeking out dust like the Terminator.
Sweeping led to mopping. Mopping led to polishing the wood floors. Wood floors directed me to wood furniture and before I knew it the entire house had been cleaned from top to bottom as if I’d had cheerful animal friends singing a ditty with me the whole time, when really it was more like an African Cinderella swag humming Erykah Badu with a doo-rag holding back the sweat of my brow.
By that evening when my family strolled in bludgeoned and yawning from work, I was magically pulling a roasted chicken with potatoes out the oven, along with fresh cornbread and brown rice. Dishes washed, bathroom scrubbed, drain pipes cleared and windows Windex’d— I was finally able to grab myself a plate, and slip into a spot at the kitchen table. I closed my eyes, took a breath and said to myself, “I’ll be just fine.”