Jessica Latshaw

musician. writer. dancer.

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the birds do it, and so do I.

Posted By on December 7, 2012 in I Lift My Eyes Up, Thoughts and Feelings | 1 comment

I am currently choking down a volcano from The Juice Press.

Don’t worry, it’s not a real volcano. I can only guess whoever called it that did so because it tastes the way you’d imagine a volcano would: hot and explosive as it burns everything it touches to a crisp.

I suppose I have the ginger and cayenne to thank for that.

It says it’s only 2 ounces, but I don’t believe it. I mean, I’ve already been working on it for five whole minutes and there’s still a discouraging amount left to drink, so sure, Volcano juice, I only weigh 2 ounces, too.  It’s a real, REAL skinny day. 

Speaking of skinny, I’ve gotten rid of a lot of stuff over the past few years. Ending an eight year relationship will do that to you. Moving four times in a little over a year and a half will help, also. I’m sorry, five times. I just remembered another one.

I think I’m making up for never moving once my entire childhood.

I think I live in New York City.

I just mean that it’s easy to move a lot here. Which is great incentive to keep the load light.

I mean, I even traded for smaller when it comes to a keyboard. Now my big mama-jamba keyboard is back home in PA and I have my little Nord here with me. It fits on my back perfectly; it’s downright turtle-esque. Only, my red keyboard does not protect me from predators, unfortunately. Step it up, Nord; step it up. Though, to be fair, no turtle shell that I’ve ever seen has such a nice piano sound. Step it up, turtles; step it up.

My point is, I’ve been getting rid of a lot of stuff. So much so that I’m actually low on shirts right now.

Yes, mom and pop, I just wrote that. See, my parents are now looking at each other in utter disbelief. And simultaneously running to the window to catch their very first glimpse of a few pigs flying by, because WHAT?! They never, ever thought there would be a day when their oldest daughter would be low on clothes. Money, sure. Food, probably. But let’s just say that before having to move into a homeless shelter, I could just build one of my own.

Out of clothes.

But I keep shedding and discarding and giving away and now it’s come to this. I meet someone for a coaching I am giving and remove my jacket only to reveal the men’s undershirt I am wearing. One that I had cut off at the bottom, so it wouldn’t be too long. Classy.

Then last night I meet my friend at a wine bar in Brooklyn. I take off the layers I have accumulated to combat the arctic weather NYC is hosting and watch my friend’s eyes widen as she murmurs an “Ohhhhhhh…that’s…fancy.”

I laugh. Tell her that I got the top from a job I did (which is true). But what’s also true is that it’s not me. There is fancy embellishment on it and it catches the light like a disco ball. I pull my scarf back on, trying to will it to cover my entire torso, because in hipster Brooklyn, you don’t want to be wearing a disco ball on your chest, trust me.

Now, this is the part where I admit that wearing a fancy disco ball shirt or even a cut off wife beater is no tragedy. I tell you that I realize there are people who literally have no clothes or shoes. People who are cold, and that IS a tragedy.

I am simply highlighting the fact that I’ve gotten rid of a lot of stuff.

That maybe what I’ve been doing is what nature calls molting.

Birds do it. Every year, I think. They get rid of the old feathers before the new feathers can come in. Maybe there’s an interim for them, too, I’m not sure. And during that time, they find themselves at a bar in Brooklyn with some overly sparkly feathers on their chest before their real ones grow back. Their bird friends cluck in surprise, at which point they’re wishing that animals wore scarves as a regular practice, too, I’m sure.

I think it’s hard to get rid of the old things if we don’t see life as one big connection. If we don’t understand the emphasis that creation places on relationship. It’s everywhere we look. The flowers don’t grow without some interaction with the bees. The tide is related to the moon. Nothing we do is isolated. So, it is with shedding and molting and just plain getting rid of stuff. There’s a counteraction. A reaction.

You make room for something new. 

I once saw this so plainly in front of me at a playground. I was there for the express purpose of making sure a two year old didn’t kill himself. And if he had fun while he was not killing himself–well then, that’s bonus points, I guess. This little guy kept finding stones or bits of plastic and clutching them in his hands. He would not let go of them, because to him, they were treasure. And who am I to tell a two year old otherwise? Who am I to tell anyone otherwise, really?

But like all stories, tension entered. A great decision. And it came in the form of the jungle gym. The boy walked up to the jungle gym and tried to climb, but quickly realized that he couldn’t while keeping his hands full of the stuff he had picked up until then. I watched him stand there undecided, his thoughts playing like a movie across his little face. He weighed the thrill of climbing up up up to somewhere he’d never been before–somewhere that could be better than here!–against what he was holding in his hands.

Finally, he motioned for me to come closer. He reached out and delicately handed each of his treasures to me, till his hands were free to climb.

And boy, did he climb!

From the joy on his face, I’m pretty sure he wasn’t thinking about what he’d left behind at all. Not once he focused on the moment. The thrill of discovery. The new view. The new fun.

And one more thing. Guess what I did? I went through the treasures. I weeded out the ones that were bad for him, got rid of the half ballon pieces that he could try to swallow, etc. But I kept the ones that were good. He got back the beloved little rocks and G.I. Joes.

Just goes to show, friends: that which is truly good for us–well, we can let them go and trust that they’ll come back. And the things that are not so good for us–good riddance, anyway, cause we’ve got some climbing to do.

And somewhere in the middle of writing this all out, I finished my volcano.

All two ounces of it.

Two ounces.

Yeah, right.

1 Comment

  1. Rob (The First) December 7, 2012

    Wow, I had NO idea where this was going. Way to bring it home in the end;) And congrats on finishing that drink. It sounded…challenging.

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