Hello my loves.
As my Grandfather, Alfred Mockett, would say:
“Well, well, well.
Three holes in the ground.”
If you know me, and many of you know me well, you’ll know that I take pride in being very honest.
The honest truth at the moment is that I’m energetically drained more than I ever have been in my life, and I’ve been around 45 years and have waxed and waned through some catastrophic moments. There are times when I wish I could just wave a white flag to the universe…but who is the universe?
At the moment, I’m here, writing to you.
You’re the universe, for the time being.
I’ve spent twenty+ years on the internet and in a global community of mashed-up friends family and fans, with a lot of bleed between those three groups, sharing the beats and stories of my life, giving a more or less true-to-life portrait of my goings-on as I tour, travel, struggle with work and love, bury friends, give birth, navigate the business of show, and get waylaid in a foreign country due to a pandemic. And on and on.
You may have seen, if you follow me on Instagram, that I posted this yesterday:
breathe. i’m really, really gonna miss this place. i am making plans to head to new york, after two years of accidental waylay in aotearoa.
it feels so strange. being in this place has changed everything. in some ways i feel i can’t really go home. i know the place i left behind isn’t the same, either. everyone keeps telling me new york is better, or worse, or unrecognizable. everybody has a different story with their own pandemic-changed places.
me and new york. i hope we both haven’t changed so much that we don’t recognize each other.
new zealand, new zealand. i sang a joke about wishing i could stay here forever in a dumb song and i got my wish. i should be careful what i sing.
So, this is what’s happening.
I’m about to book a flight to take me and little Ash back to New York, around the beginning of June. I wish I were going out on a blissfully energetic high note in a blaze of glory.
But I am not. There’s a weather system around my current personal landscape that is blowing me around harder than any storm I’ve ever experienced.
You may have also seen the little piano song I improvised a few days ago…
….in which I mentioned that several people in my life are suicidally depressed. On the cliff edge.
I hope it doesn’t come across as petty, or silly, or crass. It’s just true. And I know that many, many of you (for I have been reading g your comments and messages for many years) have been through, or closely adjacent to, depression, suicide, loss, and loved ones dealing with disorders, anxieties, illnesses and other troubles. It’s draining in ways that are inexplicable.
Even when it’s not you who’s in the storm, standing in or next to the storm whips you to pieces.
I gave myself bangs.
And I’m currently in pieces, tying myself to my own personal ship-mast in order to be a caring and present mother for my kid. He needs time and attention more than anything or anyone else right now.
I know you all understand this, because I know so many of you have been there yourselves.
Maybe you there, with me, right now.
So I am doing what I know how to do.
I am going to be honest with you, my world-wide, hard-won, beautiful and caring community: I am waving the White Flag…just to tell you that I, myself, am 100% okay and in no danger, but I am dropping off a lot of things at the moment that don’t involve day-to-day survival, the care and feeding and cleaning of my self, my house, and my kid.
I’m barely answering my text messages, I am barely answering my email, I am barely checking social media, I am barely able to tend to the “burning” work items that usually populate an average day in my old life – the asks, the blurbs, the future bookings, the charity projects, the patreon projects that have been waylaid: everything is on hold for the moment. This feels like the right thing to do right now. I have almost no hours in the day to even keep on top of the basics. It’s that weird.
I am praying and hoping that in the coming week or two I can get out the the Althing for the month, and the beautiful (BEAUTIFUL) poem/animation project that Maria Popova and Sophie Blackall and I worked on together, called “Dirge Without Music”. I am hoping to have time to out together a good and heartfelt response to all of your amazing and thoughtful comments to the Town Hall/TikTok post. I am hoping to be able to focus my mental energy on a piece of writing – a really good, long, deep and delicious one – about my time here in New Zealand before I take flight and return back to my home in Woodstock, NY.
I am hoping to gather the community in Auckland for one big goodbye party before I leave, whether it’s on the mainland or here on my new adopted home of Waiheke Island. (If you’re local, I am also going to do a fundraiser, even if it kills me, on May 20&21 for the local Waiheke black box theater. Save date).
I am going to pre-forgive myself if none of the above things get done because I have to stay on my knees and just be a mother.
Here is Ash last night, throwing rocks into the sunset with his friend. If all I can do right now is provide these moments, I am good.
I am going to say all of this to you not because I have to. I never have to. That is what makes me me.
I say it because I can. And because I love you, and because you know me, and because this collection of people – you, my patrons – has been the most loving, caring, supportive and non-judgemental lot I could have ever wished for, and I’m not going to hide and seek and hustle and pretend I am not having one of the hardest moments of my adult life.
I am. I am having one of the hardest moments of my adult life.
And you know what?
I am fucking grateful. I still wake up every morning feeling deeply happy, deeply settled, fundamentally calm and psyched to be alive, and fuck the clichés, absolutely blessed. I am blessed with an amazing kid and family, an amazing band, a talent to make art and music, an amazing community of friends and listeners and readers near and far, and a group of patrons that surpass the bounds of the wildest dreams I could have dreamed when I started this patreon project in 2015.
And I wouldnt be me if I didn’t come here and tell you the truth.
I believe – I sense – that out there, among you all, there are similar stories. That this message may be reaching a few dozen of you, a few hundred of you, maybe even a few thousand of you who are also hitting a kind of gentle and disorienting rock bottom – and perhaps taking on more than you feel you can possibly emotionally handle – given the relentless of recent life, war, and the pandemic.
I am exhausted. I am fucking exhausted.
I am not out of hope. Never.
But I am out of spoons. I am out of energy. I need a rest.
I am going to remind you: waving the white flag – whatever it means to you – is always an option.
Do what you need to do, tell the people you need to tell, and perhaps, if it is called for:
lay down your arms, lay down your to-do list, lay down your frantic and flailing struggle to keep everything well-oiled and running:
Breathe with me.
Bathe with me. Wrap yourself in the White Flag like a soft blanket of liberating “I cannot”.
I am here, with you, in the struggle.
We are not alone.
Waving the white flag can sometimes be the most powerful thing you can do.
I love you all with my entire heart.
I’m reading the comments. I hope everyone is.
P.S. “The Surrender of Lord Cornwallis at Yorktown”, by John Trumbull.