I'm in mourning again. Unlike being forced to leave my job which was a personal, this loss was not personal.
Over the last two years, I developed a routine. I traveled by subway three times a week to a bright sunny studio to work side by side with other artists. Continued participation was contingent upon my prescience at one session a week but I went to all three as often as I could. It felt like I had a job. It gave me purpose. But is was work that I could do. I could make whatever I wanted and leave whenever I wanted. Cleaning up on time was always a struggle but I got through it. Social interactions were minimal and I often wore headphones to drown out noises that grated on my nerves. It was the ideal environment for my specific disability. I don't want to describe (although I know I have throughout this blog) the difficulties I encounter interacting with other people.
I admit that at first I clashed with the director. He threatened to kick me out more than once but I grew to respect and appreciate him. I wasn't friendly with everyone there but little by little I got to know them. I learned people's names and we said hello to each other. There were a few of people there I loved being with and we laughed a lot. I am not good at having friends and I'm okay with that now so our relationship was limited to the time we had there. The consistency of traveling to a place and creating next to other artists fulfilled so many of my needs. I think everyone needs to feel accepted, included, and valued.
Last month HAI closed abruptly. We had one day's notice and a window of a couple of hours to go in and collect our supplies and artwork. There was no time to say goodbye or ask questions about what was going on. It was devastating. New York Times Article
Yesterday we a had a "reunion" of sorts. Our leader said it was a living art piece. We got together at a small gallery studio space in Brooklyn. (A terrifyingly unfamiliar and journey by subway and foot). We sketched and then we talked and then we sketched some more. I cried, really cried for the first time since the closure. I hadn't realized how much it hurt. I expressed what I haven't been able to tell my husband or daughter or even my therapist what it means not to have HAI in my life. We will meet again but it will probably never be the same. I am sad.
(Just an aside, I don't "need" to talk about it nor do I want consoling words to cheer me up. The cure for what ails me since my brain injury is mostly to be left alone. This doesn't include my daughter who is my love and my life.)
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