Monday, December 7, 2020

ON GRIEF AND G… GRA… GRATI…

I lost Della Moustachella on October 18th in a car crash that was not her fault. She was one of my best friends and favorite collaborators. You know how it is when someone just gets you and you get them and you click away like chopsticks from the very first time you meet. We made a bunch of art together and sent each other a lot of personal fitness encouragement texts. She was into clown and drag and teaching and all my favorite things and she was one of the most special people I’ve ever known. Everyone who knew her will attest to this; everyone loved her fiercely, and the loss to my local performing community is fucking incalculable. 

I’m not here to talk about Della right now. I’m barely able to accept that she’s dead. I haven’t deleted her from her #4 position on the “favorites” on my phone. I’ve only left one message on her voicemail since—it was last week and the bitch still hasn’t called me back.


What I’m here to talk about is—to be honest, I don’t know. When you have a blogging practice you just think you should probably blog once in a while. Maybe you’ll end up saying something trenchant which will help the children, or maybe it’s just for reps. 


I smoked pot for the first time in my 20’s, and I felt all of a sudden like a foundational element of counterculture now made sense to me. Suddenly, I don’t know, I “got” something. Something about being cool and a little removed from reality, or a little more in touch with it, you know, whatever. The point is, it felt like a gateway toward understanding and connecting with more of my fellow early-21st century experiencers. Grief is kind of like that for me, even though it feels so personal and isolated. Losing someone so close to me, and so suddenly, has made me feel a kind of shiny silver connecting tube between myself and anyone else who’s ever lost anyone. It’s just so bad, and yet, so many people have gone through it and somehow come out on the other side. How the fuck do we do that?


Four days after her death, I taught a clown class. Then another and another. 5 days a week since she died I taught clown classes. There was nothing better I could’ve done. Also I’ve walked in nature a shit-ton, done a lot of cry-dancing, made/eaten ridiculously good food and watched obscene quantities of Rupaul’s Drag Race. 


I’m very lucky that my classes are without exception full of incredible human beings, and I’m not blowing them up, they’re seriously all awesome. How did I get this lucky? How did I get this unlucky losing Della, you know? Luck is luck. 


And it has been an incredible relief to stand in front of my laptop on its music stand, and watch people in their bedrooms and their living rooms just fucking giving it. In these home spaces, these crowded apartments, this square in front of coffee table, that red carpet, that sectional sofa, that window. To sentimental pop songs, to John Williams’s scores, zooming in, panning around, throwing themselves through the air. Free. In those tight spaces, those spaces not designed for wildness. There they are, wild. 


So that’s been therapeutic. And it’s made me keenly aware of the power of giving it. Of giving it all. Of being willing to be your fierce and uncontrolled self for others to witness. You don’t know what their day has been like, their week, their year. Your wildness could change their life. 



1 comment:

  1. Deanna, I'm so sorry to hear about Della. I only met her once, but from what I experienced I can only imagine this loss as so deeply heartbreaking.

    Thank you for writing this. Glad your clowns/students are there to keep you company. Loss is so hard. Much Love.

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