A LITTLE WHILE BACK, RIGHT BEFORE MOTHERS DAY, SOMEONE ASKED ME TO WRITE ABOUT MY EXPERINCE AS AN ARTIST AND A MOTHER. I CONDUCTED AN INTERVIEW WITH MYSELF, AND TRANSCRIBED WHAT I SAID.....
AND HERE IT IS...............
I entered motherhood through the back door, by falling in love with a man who had children. I thought I would be more of an auntie, or have a part time role in their lives, but as life happens I have ended up being the day to day mothering presence. I still hesitate to use the word mother, to call myself a mother, there is judgements on it and I don't want to be disrespectful to their “actual” mother who is also still in their lives. But I have embraced Parent and I do a lot of parenting- particularly to my step daughter Aidan, who is now 15, and was 9 when she moved in with us.
I had no real idea what I was in for, and the way parenting scatters your energy and shifts your priorities. So, obviously that is challenging to artists/dancers who tend to already be a little scattered between trying to make art, and scratch out a living, and so then you just add one more thing to the mix and its a bit of a perfect storm- particularly if you don't have a traditional framework of a single money maker who can keep all the bills going. So you are just trying to figure it out, and that is how my family has worked, is just a lot of trial and error. Figuring it out moment to moment.
I did have the experience of being in a rehearsal process with Aidan. I had already known she was very creative, an incredible artist, and loved to dance- like popular dance. We had a lot of dancing to that “dance central” game for a couple of years, and she was always one to get up and dance at school functions, in fact even on her most recent birthday party we had a huge teenage dance party in our living room. She goes to Jefferson, so she is around a lot of people who love to dance and do it on a regular basis. There is a certain energy you can pick up off of that, through being with young people who are just really into it- course I could be picking up on hormones too! But we were able to go through the process of Tahni Holt’s “Sensation/Disorientation” together, and that is incredibly special to me. It was an amazing experience to share with a young person, and to share with this young person in particular who has such a big role in my life. It was challenging too, the process started and she wasn’t part of it and rehearsals were like my artist time, and then I had to open that up to share with her when she got invited by Tahni into the process. Watching her work was incredible and at time hard- because she is still a teenage, and she still struggles, she pulls back and forth- plus the material was very sophisticated. I had to watch myself in it, because I told Tahni from the beginning that I didn’t want to be parenting and performing at the same time, and while it is impossible to turn that off 100 percent, Tahni, really took that role of pushing her, keeping her on task, and taking her where she wanted to go, which as a director was her job anyway. But the experience really brought us closer- it was such a unique and incredible thing to share together, and I loved watching her step up to it, bloom, and really own it and be with it. It just makes your heart swell.
We did another little piece together at one of the Spectacle Gardens at the Headwaters. It was a simple piece, I just stood really still in this grounded place (outside by the tracks) and she got to throw paint on me. That piece was cool, in a lot of ways it was about my experience of parenting. You are just sort of standing there and POW shit starts to come at you- you don’t know what is coming or what is going to happen because they're just doing their thing- you know it is not vindictive it is just what they are going through- but you have to stay there and do your best to maintain, to stay grounded. That is a lot of what that piece was about for me- and in a way, asking myself- could I take it?
The thing about parenting- how it has affected my art? In some ways I feel more strength around it, because it would be easy to release so you have to declare for it in your own way. Also parenting for me, has made me a more generous person in general, which the best art, I believe, has a lot of generosity. But there is this unpredictability. Day to day, where you don’t really know what may happen, you can go along and be in your flow and focusing on what you need to focus on, but then boom, there is a shift- it could be as simple as someone gets sick and stays home from school, or some kind of appointment, or a ride is needed- or something more dramatic- but you have to develop this constant fluidity of juggling what you are focusing on, what your schedule looks like. You could have a total picture of how your day may be, or how you may run a rehearsal- and boom, something comes up and it shifts. So it has really forced me to be a lot more fluid in how I approach life, and there is a strength in that kind of adaptability, and there can also be a weakness in that because it can disperse your focus too much. So it is a lot of finding what is that balance of holding the line, but with enough flexibility that it allows for this bigger movement of a young person growing.