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From The Archives: IN THE CRACKS

 

 

 

Photo Credit: Annabelle Agnew

I am curating essays that I have written over the last few years.

Here is one that dates back from January 2016

IN THE CRACKS

 

Well, I've skipped tabs enough times that I know I'm purposefully avoiding a good subject.

It's hard to start talking about because it's a subject that I haven't fully accepted yet, and I'm working some stuff out, so know that I'm embarking on this conversation with mild trepidation. Oh and I'm also avoiding ordering an Ikea kitchen. And by writing this, I'm assured to be late for my next meeting.

But that is my choice.

I remember being outcasted from a group of girls, in junior high. It was a pretty traumatic event, that I've written about in my journals, but haven't yet approached here on the blog. I'm not all that ready yet.

But what happened after the ex-communion of that group (the entire and only grade 8 class in my school) is important.  I was forced to rely on nobody. My friends became Jim Morrison poetry books and Pearl Jam tapes, Kurt Cobain posters and my beloved horse, Allegro.  Half blind, this horse was part-boarded and my mother drove me out 4 days a week to my safe place.

Driving up the gates of the barn, my anxieties melted away and by the time I was on Allegro's back, I had forgotten my name.

All that mattered was walk, trot, canter, cavelleti, three strides to that fence and sit up straight. I had no friends at the stable, but it didn't matter. All I needed was the feeling of the air as I rode on.

That feeling of forgetting your relationship to the world outside is something that I believe we deeply crave and need. It offers us an opportunity to tap into another part of our brain and it helps shut off from the chaos. I'm calling that The Gap.

When Annabelle and I were pitching our business for investment, we talked a lot about this need to re-connect to craft, to engage in an activity that lets you slip into The Gap. And as we received people in the shop, we saw that we were right. People need to make, they need to connect their hands to their brains. Music, writing, crocheting,  painting, cooking, sculpting, gardening, woodworking... whatever the medium is, The Gap is the place that you slowly slip into when you practice.

The more you practice, guess what? The easier it is to fall deeper in that gap. Eventually, it becomes a meditative practice (albeit a difficult one at times!) and you need to engage in it to be ok in this world. I see this come up again and again. This need to create, or something withers away inside.

But it's sad that I've taken up 425 words and haven't even gotten to the point. Need to refine my editing skills. Noted.

The point is this: I know of my own need to create (write here, paint, engage in projects with other people, read, sew... whatever). I also suffer from terrible guilt when I need to account for the time I invest in creating. And I chose that word carefully, because at the core, I know it's an investment in me.

This is something else I see coming up again and again, the guilt we experience as women, and more specifically as women creatives, when we use our time for activities other than monetization or fulfillement of motherly+domestic roles.

It seems like we should have time for some things:(making money,  picking up the kids, doing the laundry, cleaning the house, exercising and looking amazing ALWAYS, taking care of our parents) and we really shouldn't have time for anything else, and if we do, it's because it comes easily and you have someone else doing all the work for you, because how else can you get it all done AND ... meditate, take a classe, make art, read, pursue an interest or a faith. DUH.

Every time I hear  I don't have time for {.....}, my heart seizes up and I feel like someone is launching a judgement grenade at me. Like a crazy person, I immediately start internally listing all the things I DO. I justify (or at least try) the time I spend painting or drawing, or really just making sure I'm ok and not crying on the sidewalk, in the arms of a stranger. I even lie about it sometimes, so that nobody thinks I have too much time on my hands.

Cause really.. I should be hustling, I should be making more money, I should be able to get the kids, keep the house and double our income all in the time the kids are at school... in the cracks of the days.. I should.

Maybe I just don't try hard enough.

And with that guilt, and pressure, we relinquish the things that truly feed us to the cusps of the day. I don't have a lot of time to paint, draw, meditate, journal... I really don't have it. I make it in the cracks. As not to disturb anyone.

Someone told me recently that she had realized that the last 10 years had been spent making her spouse's life easier. That line echoed in my head until today, where I am trying to sort out my feelings about it all.

We try so hard to make it easy for the people around us, that we feel guilt when we finally demand the time.

Without apology.

Without the fear of inconveniencing anyone

Without the dread of being outcasted

During those cracks of time, I am back on Allegro, feeling the air against my face and not remembering what the world means to me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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