Lately

August 18, 2015


This week I got an email from a friend that started with something along the lines of "Congratulations! From what I see on social media, it appears that life with a kid is going swimmingly." It was a quick reminder to me that I want to tell an honest story when I put things out into the world- not something that is manicured and neat and happy, happy, happy. Because there are lots of different ways that I could craft the story of this time in my life. Yes, I have a kid that is making my heart burst, and there's a whole lot of intense love flying around my house right now. But equally true is the fact that I feel a bit insane from all of this change. And that's what, exactly, makes this time so tricky: all of these contradictory things living in the same room together. I feel the most vulnerable I've ever felt in my life- heart on sleeve, and that's exhausting actually. I feel the happiest and most ambitious I have in a very long time, but the highs are so high and the lows are so low. I also feel anxious and tired and my nervous system is absolutely fried. I have about 30 tasks and projects that are half-finished at any given time, and it seems like a cruel trick to be a person who thrives on getting things done but can't seem to finish any one thing. And now, at 12 weeks postpartum, I'm supposed to figure out how to fit work into the equation...I want to figure out how to fit work into the equation...and that seems particularly insane. 

So I was thinking about all of these things today, while I ate a second breakfast in my breastmilk-stained t-shirt and Fox finally napped (!!!!!). I started listening to this episode of Being Boss Podcast, which happened to be with maternal health expert Rebecca Egbert and had a good cry because it seemed like she was speaking right to me. The episode is a gold mine of smart information for women reconfiguring their lives and healing their bodies after having a baby, but the part that stuck with me the most were these words from Rebecca:

"Get out of your head and into your body, because our heads are exhausting."

Boy, are they. My lists are exhausting. Trying to figure things out is exhausting. Googling that strange thing that my baby just started doing is exhausting. Oh, and worrying... 

But bodies? I know something about those. Yeah, I have one, but I also study the body as a dance maker. It's pretty smart- way smarter than my mind. I haven't been fully in my body lately. But the body is really the key to making everything work. When I feel calm and nourished and embodied, my life makes so much more sense. But somehow taking care of my body always seems to come last.

I've written a lot about foundations. We all have two or three things that we need set in place in order for our lives to work. One thing I'm loving about this change in my life is that it absolutely requires that I make sure my foundation is in place- no excuses. I have a lot of shit I want to make happen and time is limited. I'm more efficient when I feel healthy. I'm more efficient when I feel happy. I can be a better parent when I don't feel certifiably insane. It feels counterintuitive to take care of myself before I take care of my to-do list, but I'm pretty sure that's all backwards. 

So that's the story right now: figuring out how to prioritize self-care and get rid of any guilt I have surrounding that, or any ideas I have in my head about what I should be able to accomplish at twelve weeks postpartum. Because I strongly believe that, regardless of how confusing and challenging something appears, we aren't ever stuck. Things are always changing- it's literally impossible for things to not change. It's good news!

An Experiment

August 5, 2015


"I think of artists like scientists. Just like scientists, we begin with a question, something we don’t know. We go into our studio and research that question. Like scientists, at the end of our research,
we share the results with the public and with our peers... Just as in science, a negative result is as
important as a positive result... Failure in science and art is a sign that the process is working."

I still identify as an artist, even though I sometimes go months without getting into a dance studio. Like I've written, these days I'm making small art. There is lots of talk and argument about the difference between being an artist and a hobbyist. I think Andrew Simonet sums it up quite nicely in the quote above: artists are researchers. Regardless of medium, artists research questions. 

I've been thinking about this a lot as I'm moving daily things around to make space for our new family member- and soon, work. Approaching all of this as an experiment lowers the stakes and makes it more fun. For instance, I'm still figuring out Fox's preferred schedule. He's a baby, so every day he's changing and what he needs shifts a little. Some nights we wonder: will he sleep longer if we put him to bed later? Will he sleep better swaddled or does he prefer to have his hands free? I wonder about myself: will I function better if I get some exercise in the morning or is it a better to get my most challenging work done first thing? Etc, etc, etc... 

Framing life as an experiment makes me feel less stuck if things aren't working out. I remember that I can always shift them- a little here, a little there. I remember that nothing is absolute and there's a certain freedom in that. I remember that I can take something that feels hard and make it work from me.
 

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