I’m writing this piece of sheer frivolity only because I can’t get it out of my head. It should be entertaining for the few of you who are into both Hamilton and the Enneagram personality typing system. For everyone else, feel free to move along.

I’m a late adopter, and it wasn’t until this summer that I listened to Hamilton all the way through. Obviously I loved it, I’ve mentioned in in two out of three blog posts so far. Also this summer, I’ve gotten back into the Enneagram, thanks in large part to Hannah Pasch’s excellent Millenneagram podcast and twitter goodness. I’ve found a lot of personality typing systems helpful at different times in my life, but the Enneagram has consistently given me the most in terms of insight and steering my personal growth.

Anyway, those two things ended up occupying a lot of mental bandwidth for the span of a couple weeks, and that resulted in the following: a Hamilton song for each Enneagram number. Some of them came easily, some I needed an assist on, and one of them just finally came to me this morning after Lane and I had both given up. They’re not all perfect fits, but I’m pleased with the list anyway.

Note that this is about the song, not the characters. We can discuss which characters seem like which type (no really, we can — hit me up day or night to talk about it), but this is about the feelings, needs, strengths, and weaknesses expressed in each song.

Okay, so we’re doing this.

1 – Non-Stop

There’s a lot of good One stuff in the show, but this one takes it by a landslide.

I practiced the law, I practic’ly perfected it
I’ve seen injustice in the world and I’ve corrected it
Now for a strong central democracy
If not, then I’ll be Socrates

2 – You’ll Be Back

A rare villain spot for the Twos! Come on though, you all need a shirt that says “I will send a fully-armed battalion to remind you of my love.”

3 – My Shot

Another gimme despite there being several possible options. Threes get a bad rap a lot, so it pleases me that they get one of the standout numbers in this exercise.

I’m past patiently waitin’ I’m passionately mashin’ every expectation
Every action’s an act of creation

4 – Burn

I needed Lane’s help on this one, I had actually gone for the adjacent Hurricane but wasn’t happy with it. He’s a Four and he immediately said, “Nope, it’s Burn.”

I’m erasing myself from the narrative
Let future historians wonder how Eliza reacted
When you broke her heart

5 – Satisfied

This was the hardest one to call. At first I said Farmer Refuted, just because it’s so clever, but Lane pointed out that the whole show is dazzlingly clever and that’s not a good enough reason. Satisfied didn’t occur to either of us because it’s about love and we don’t usually go there first when thinking of 5s. But “I fell hard for a rare intellectual peer, immediately thought through all the reasons I shouldn’t pursue him, walked away, never gonna tell a soul about it” is an awfully 5 love story. So here you go.

So this is what it feels like to match wits
With someone at your level! What the hell is the catch?

6 – Right Hand Man

Another easy call.

You need all the help you can get
I have some friends. Laurens, Mulligan
Marquis de Lafayette, okay, what else?

7 – The Schuyler Sisters

I needed Lane’s help for this one too — I half-heartedly nominated The Story of Tonight, but this one’s better.

History is happening in Manhattan and we just happen to be
In the greatest city in the world!

8 – Yorktown (The World Turned Upside Down)

I love me a good triumphal 8 number (see also Henry V and Holst’s Jupiter). No single quote covers it: it’s just everybody fighting at their best, and winning.

We gotta go, gotta get the job done
Gotta start a new nation, gotta meet my son!

9 – Wait For It

Okay, there’s a solid argument to be made here for That Would Be Enough. It’s probably even the right pick. But I’m an angsty 9 and Wait For It speaks to me more than any other number in the show. I’m not saying I throw back my head and belt “I am the one thing in life I can controooooool!” every time it comes on, but — actually yeah, I am saying that, that’s exactly what I do.

I’m not falling behind or running late
I’m not standing still
I am lying in wait
Disagree with any of my picks? Fight me in the comments!

Strong heart

Grief keeps coming for me this year. Over and over I’ve been hit with loss: different kinds, different reasons, all painful.

Also this year, I realized that I needed to learn to be fully present with my feelings or die. So when grief hits me, instead of evading it or crushing it down, I have been trying hard to sit with it, to let it move through me at its own pace. This takes discipline. I have a dozen strategies for diverting grief or stopping its flow, and it’s hard not to activate them when my heart feels like it’s being gripped in a vise and I can only breathe in little gasps that feel like stabs.

One thing I am learning is that my heart is strong. While I sit there gasping, thinking “I am actually not sure I can bear this,” my heart is steadily bearing it. It holds the pain and it endures. As I sit here now, on a peaceful day, that same center of feeling in my chest is at rest, undamaged. It holds pain like a sponge holds water, wringing out sobs and tears when it gets too full, and then absorbing more until there’s no more to soak up. And then it quietly returns to its original state.

I always think that I need to protect my body, to avoid pain. I think that pain is the same thing as damage, and try to shield my body even from feeling emotional pain. But this summer I have begun asking my body what she needs from me, and when I have asked in the grips of grief, the answer is never, “Save me from this.” It is, “Be with me through this.” Don’t run away. Don’t suppress.

When I push the grief away, I just move it to somewhere else in my body, a place that isn’t meant to absorb and release it.

And because there’s no way to evade a valid pain without lying, when I push the grief away I spin lies. I lie about what I really want, or about what the future will hold, or about the reality of the past. It becomes harder and harder to know and feel my actual needs and realities, and harder to connect to other people. Every attempt at closeness, every decision I make for my life, has to navigate around the brittle structure of illusions and evasions I’ve built to protect myself from pain.

I’m realizing slowly that none of this is necessary. I am very new to this, and I don’t know if there are limits or actual breaking conditions, but for now I am trying to trust that my heart is strong. It knows how to do this work of holding pain. Instead of tying myself in knots to protect it, I can sit and feel it, and thank it for its work.

Back and forward

Oh hello.

In the 17 months since I last wrote here, I’ve adjusted to a new job, bought a house, struggled with infertility, fallen in love, broken up, gotten a dog, written a sloppy first draft of a horror novel, become the president of a community chorus, finally listened to Hamilton.

So that about catches us up, yeah?

All right, a few more updates. Lane has fully moved over to his own blog, but in exchange for moving away blogfully, I’ve gotten him to move closer physically, and he’s now living mere blocks away from me. He continues to be much more prolific than I am in both blogging and fiction writing — but I’m trying to close the gap a bit.

This summer has been an adventure in re-learning how to live in my body and experience feelings, which apparently for some people just comes naturally and doesn’t need to be learned at all. I’ve cried SO much and also been ecstatically happy several times, and also started to find a sort of deeply embodied spirituality that I’m excited to keep exploring and also to write about in the future.

After three months of practice feeling things, it seems like time to start doing things. Most of the last three and a half years have been pretty much survival, and creating a little cocoon of healing, and letting my choices and actions be driven by the people that help me sustain that cocoon. Now I’m checking out what happens if I consider what I, all by myself, actually want and what I can do about it. I’m thinking about my job/career situation and how I’d like to steer that. I’ve set myself a challenge to go on one new date a month for the rest of the calendar year. I am writing things down and putting them out where people can see them.

Hi there, people. Nice to be with you again.