Wednesday, May 7, 2014
Been a while, been busy.
I was going through albums the other day at my childhood home. I laughed a lot at the old pictures, my parents young and super skinny in New York in the seventies. Their bad clothing. The yellowed photographs of my baby years, all those pigtails and shots of me stuffing my face with sweets. I love that old album smell, a slightly chemical funk of photo paper and whatever they used to set photos back them. I dig how instant photos are now, our phones always in our hands at the ready, to capture any and every moment, but I miss the mechanics of cameras, rolling the film into a camera in a dark place, making sure the flash was up and that joy of going to get photos developed. It was such a great anticipation, driving to the drugstore or Kmart to pick up photos, open the envelope and peruse the pictures, throwing out the blurs and wasted shots.
I had this jolt of sadness at one point comparing pictures of myself in my childhood. I found a picture of me at about three years old. I'm sitting in my Big Bird chair (I was obsessed with Big Bird) and holding a baby doll, singing to it. I was a singing kid and joyful in general. I was super loved and supported and lived in house full of laughter and yard full of insects and plants to keep me exploring. I found another picture of me on the next page. I'm ten years old. The picture is from the annual speech contest. My mom pushed me to enter every year and every year I won. I look so fucking lost in the picture. Awkward and scared. School was not easy for me. Academically I did great but socially I was hurt, ached, stung. I was so incredibly insecure. I remember hating walking from the car to the my classroom, feeling judged and ugly and jeered at with every step.
Seven years between those photographs. A mini lifetime of emotion and hardening, letting go of that joy. And 24 years after that second shot I'm working to get back to the little girl in the first picture, singer of songs, toes splayed, natural hair and joy. I know, I know. Life. It isn't always easy and the challenges are what sculpt us into who we are. I wouldn't change what I've gone through. I'm happy, loved, creative and have made a life for myself that is good and true to who I am. Now to reclaim that joy, that deep joy. I grasp it at moments, but I'm hungry for it and want more.
I think one of the reasons I was hit hard by the pictures is that I have a niece or nephew arriving soon. One of my sisters is having a baby. I love watching her grow, the shifts in her body; pressing my hands to her belly, feeling the creature inside swim, retreat and come back with elbows and kicks.
So life. Everything is good. The last couple of months have been busy, almost frantic with work. I was exhausted but then had a great moment with an acquaintance who suggested I take a four day work week. I was kind of stunned when she mentioned it. Four days? I thought, What about all my work? Then I remembered I'm self-employed so that I have time for my passions and pursuits. Duh. I got caught up in the frenzy of others, the whirlpool. And here I am, in my second for day work week. It feels wonderful