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I have been in Minnesota for 5 days. I’ve taken over my grandmother’s basement, sleeping in the blue room, painting and dancing in the yellow room and running up the stairs and into the backyard each time my phone rings. I’m playing a waiting game, waiting on my projects to start, waiting on time to keep moving. I have only my internal clock and drive to prevent me from being frozen.

Living with my grandma has been easy. We move around each other naturally, meeting for some meals and questions when we have them. It’s a quieter life than I’m accustomed to, though it hasn’t done much for my relaxation, my mind has been in hyperdrive and sleep doesn’t come easy.

We’re both lonely and grieving losses, though her’s is 64 (and 3/4 to be exact) years of my Grandpa, who died about 3 months ago. Mine is more abstract, grieving a loss of a lifestyle, material possessions and missing the physical presence of good friends. We’re good for each other, she gives me insight into my family history, answering questions and reminiscing of her good old days, most of which is about my grandfather.

I’m taking advantage of the history and knowledge within my reach, scouring grandpa’s books and discovering his notes, which are lining the margins of almost every book. As my grandma says, he wouldn’t go anywhere without a book and a pencil. It’s the best kind of cliffnotes; I only have to read his notes and skim the rest in order to grasp the ideas and wealth that is hiding between the covers, giving me insight into his life and into our humanity.

I’ve never before had so much time to focus on my thoughts and my mind has taken advantage, thirsty for the next thread, the next realization. I know without a doubt this is the best thing for me and my art, though my social life has been snipped, giving me a longing, an echo of past hugs, laughter and smiles of those I love so dearly. It’s the physical moments I miss, my family isn’t big on contact and though I force my hugs upon them, I feel the stiffness in embraces and the uncomfortable side eyes when I talk about emotions.

As I think about it, this will be my life moving forward, as I continue on my journey in painting the world pink. A side I wasn’t aware of; as I travel solo I will miss all the wonderful people I’ve met just as I continue to meet more. It’s the cycle of death and life, something is always ending just as something is always starting. I am blessed to have people I miss, my grandma is blessed to have loved my grandpa. It is the longing and the heartbreak after the fact that proves the love we have for one another.

This is why StrawberryPropaganda is so important, to keep the path of love open, sharing love with each person whether they have an abundance or if it’s scarce. It’s what ties us together, something we all need to fill us up, to feel supported and to give as much as we take. Everything that has life will also have death, and it’s the death that makes each moment precious.

Who do you love, and would you trust them with your death? We can all take care of our own lives, though after we are gone, what happens to the love that remains? How do we reconcile the longing and the emptiness that was once filled with another? My grandma fills hers with flowers in my grandpa’s garden, I fill mine with drawing faces of beloved people, sending the love and positive thoughts to them as I draw their personalities and stunning reminders of the love we’ve shared.

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