Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Juxtaposition (Day 20)

I was an architecture major in college. In fact, my being an architect was all everyone every talked about in my high school years. My grandparents, my parents,  my extended family, me, my friends--someday, I'd hang out my shingle and be Patricia Carrington, Architect. 

Everyone was surprised when I changed my major to Journalism, Public Relations and Advertising, except for my Dad.

I remember he said: "You always seemed more into words than pictures, anyway."

For the record, he was not calm when he said this. In fact, he was irate, because I had wasted a full year getting credits that did not count towards my new major. 

Anyway, if it was one thing I learned in architecture school, it was the word juxtaposition, which means the fact of two things being close together with contrasting effect. It is not an action word. It is not an argumentative word, it is a very factual word. Two things can just be close together and clash--and that clash, that spot of disharmony is interesting. 

It why everyone loves a pop of color on their khaki couch--that juxtaposition of a bold color with a neutral. The very fact that a difference exists is, well, interesting. 

When I set my mind on what to write tonight, it was not about architecture and journalism school. 

I thought I'd write about the incredible uplifting moments of today: the first woman vice president, the amazing interview I did this afternoon with an incredible woman physician-scientist who, I firmly believe, will move us on the doorsteps of cures for childhood cancer (if not push right into the house.), the fact that I felt mentally normal today, the joy in Lily's heart at being back at winter crew, the funny, smart observations of Nicholas and the amazing story Chloe wrote about being a sibling of a child with cancer. I had a plan to write about all these joys. 

Then, the shit hit the fan. Nicholas refused to do his homework. Lily had a backlog of work to do between now and Friday. Chloe was not doing her work, like she said and instead was doing her nails. The kids were fighting. I had work to do (and this blog to write). My husband was annoyed by my annoyance. My mother needed directions to her COVID test. The dog would not stop barking. I couldn't find a clean towel. 

My sunny mood was out the door--and truly it felt fraudulent to write about the joys of the day. But those joys of the day all exist in juxtaposition with the non-joys. The first women vice president is amazing--but what about equal pay for women everywhere? The cancer research is hopeful--but what about the very fact that childhood cancer exists and science takes time? Winter crew is awesome but what about the daily drives back and forth?  

The shit also exists in juxtaposition with the joys. Homework was a battle but they each found a way to recover--and I admire someone who falls, takes responsibility and stands back up. The work--well--I love all my work. It is truly a joy to use my love of words to build amazing stories and programs and content. 

So tonight, instead of feeling like a fraud writing about what a great day it was--I want to say, today was awful and joyous and stressful and beautiful and all the things. 

And that is what gives it that pop of color--that pure fact that the good and bad exist--but in their clash is that sweet spot of beauty--the juxtaposition of triumph and failure--that is the most interesting part of life. 


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