i feel ready to let another layer go.
it never happens all at once,
this shedding of skin.
at least not for me.
it’s a gradual untangling.
a piece by piece.
a one step at a time
and everything clicks
enough is enough.
then there is no going back.
then it is game on
or game over.
immerse or abort.
pick up your heels girl
you’ve been shuffling for too long,
for just long
that this is not what you were made for.
this has been, at best, a catch-your-breath-place,
but it was never meant to be a sit-down-and-stop-trying space.
lighten your load.
loosen your grip.
your hands have bigger things to reach for,
your feet are itching to run.
i feel ready to let another layer go.
because it’s raining.
because rainy mornings make me want to read poems.
because his poems are some of my favorite poems.
because this poem is worthy of being heard
” Dance, dance, otherwise we are lost.”
i think i was born a dancer. maybe we all are.
we just get taught to sit still instead of to soar. we get stuck, we get distracted, we get afraid. we forget what our bodies are capable of; we stop learning what they can teach us, what pleasures they love.
for as long as i can remember, dancing has been something i have longed to do. for too few years, it’s been something i’ve actually done. it used to weigh on me, a big regret. a missed opportunity. a yearning and delight that was for too long overshadowed by awkwardness and self-doubt; heavy feet and self-conscious limbs. there were spurts of bravery – at a concert, a wedding, the odd attempt at a class of some sort – where i would let loose and flail around and lose myself in the pleasure of rhythm and bones. but more often than not, i made excuses. talked myself out of it. sat out rather than jump in.
until a few years ago, when i stood in the bathroom with my then-still-living grandmother. i was helping her get ready for bed, her limbs too weak and tired to do the ordinary tasks of buttoning and un-buttoning, bending over to pull off socks. i asked her, as she washed her face, if she had any regrets in her life. she paused and said yes.
“i regret that i never danced, and now that i’m willing by body’s too old.”
i promised myself then and there that i would dance my still young limbs as often as i could. fuck the excuses, the self-consciousness, the fear. this life is too short. just dance, girl.
“be honest. in every movement, in every gesture.”
i sat tonight in a large theatre and watched an extraordinarily breathtaking film. i really knew nothing about it going in, other than it was about dance, and i had a pretty good feeling that i would leave inspired. inspired is an understatement.
i was moved. touched. pulled. delighted. awed. broken. challenged. reminded. speechless.
as the film maker, Wim Wenders, said:
What treasure lies within our bodies, to be able to express itself without words,
and how many stories can be told without saying a single sentence.
what treasure lies within our bodies.
the ability to say so much without using a single word.
the way one woman’s life and creative vision can challenge and compel so many other lives to stretch and move and search and exist with vigorous honesty and passion.
your fragility is your strength, she said.
and from my seat, i felt my bones leap.
“just keep searching. even if you don’t know what you’re looking for, or if you’re on the right track…”
every tuesday night i get in my car and i drive to a loft in a big old house and i take off my socks and my shoes and i dance. i dance for my body, because i know it enjoys it. i dance to feel limber; to remember what it feels like to stretch, to jump, to bend, to really move. i dance even when i don’t feel like it, especially then. i dance when my head hurts and my back aches. i dance when i feel stuck; when i get sad. i dance to catch my breath again; to laugh; to tap in to pure delight. i dance so i can grind my hips and shake my limbs. i dance for my grandmother and her one regret. i dance for all the times i sat out and felt ungraceful and afraid. i dance for the little girl who is still very much alive in me. i dance to stop thinking, stop worrying, stop trying to figure it out. i dance because when i dance i have no questions and therefore need no answers. i dance to take flight. i dance because it takes me somewhere new, every time; because it gives me what i’m looking for without me ever having to ask.
i dance because i believe it’s what i was born to do.
i dance because otherwise, i am lost.
i’ve been busy this last little while, lost in a flurry of art-making, trying to push myself a little more, stretch out of my comfort zone a little farther, commit to more goals and opportunities to show and share the things that i make.
this past weekend i was invited to be an artist in the Artisan Village at Shelter Valley Folk Festival. it was a good learning experience for me…a chance to meet and connect with a new community of people…another step in clarifying for myself why i do what i do and where i fit in this funny world…it was humbling and affirming and, well, pretty tiring too.
i decided this year to try to put myself and my art out there in the world a little bit more. if i am honest with myself, then i would admit that i have never really pushed myself artistically to see what i am truly made of. i have coasted on “good enough”. i have a lot of ideas i have never acted on. i have spent more creative energy supporting other peoples art-making than i have exploring my own. and i don’t want to keep living that way. i know that my best living, my best art, will happen when i am perched on that growing edge…when i am taking risks and stepping out…my richest creative work AND my bravest people work, will come when i am most alive in myself.
i know this.
so i am trying.
part of this process for me is going after opportunities to show what i do. there is a lot for me to learn about myself and my art that i believe i can only learn by letting it out into the world, facing the vulnerability that comes with that, learning to sit with those fears and insecurities, trusting affirmation and encouragement when it comes my way…
it scares the shit out of me sometimes.
but i’m trying to do it anyway.
so…all that said…
this Friday, September 7, is the launch of Gallery In The Truck ,a very cool week-long initiative as part of Artsweek here in Peterborough. Gallery In The Truck is a mobile gallery running out of the back of a U-Haul, that will be parked in different locations around the city over the course of next week. I am one of 10 artists who will have their work in the truck. Check out the website, or Facebook, to find more info on when and where the truck will be located.
then, on September 18th, there is the opening of the Inaugural Little Red Hen Exhibition at the brand new Gallery In The Attic, located in downtown Peterborough. this new gallery space promises to be home to many inspiring new ventures, and i’m excited to be a part of it (again, you can find out more info by checking out their website or looking it up on Facebook).
this is just a start, i know.
but a beginning is a beginning.
stay tuned for more shows and opportunities to come out and share in the art that i’ve been making. thanks for the cheerleaders that help me believe that my ideas are worth pursuing.
life is fleeting.
let’s live it well.
“Go be that starving Artist you’re afraid to be. Open up that journal and get poetic finally. Volunteer. Suck it up and travel. You were not born here to work and pay taxes. You were put here to be part of a vast organism to explore and create. Stop putting it off. The world has much more to offer than what’s on 15 televisions at TGI Fridays. Take pictures. Scare people. Shake up the scene. Be the change you want to see in the world. You’ll thank yourself for it.”
- jason mraz
windows down, fans in full force. finding respite in shady places and icey teas. the constant salty skin, the way the mind loses all sense of time, heat of moments just melt one into another.
fresh peaches and plums, wild blueberries and cherries. baking at midnight, napping afternoons away. max and his wolf suit, piano on the record player, scent of fresh laundry being blown around on the breeze.
chocolate cake under the oak tree, smores around the fire. the way a sister sings, unashamed, giving courage, permission, to join in the chorus. indian food and cherry pits, strangers around a breakfast table. a bird who bathes himself with lemon rind.
waking up to poems that resonate in deep places. the strong legs of a small gymnast, the creak of a bicycle seat. letterpress and guitar strings, birthdays and remembrances. noodles in the park by the big lake. fresh baked olive bread on the shores of the river. comfort and gratitude. these hands that are always ready to hold you.
the days are unstoppable. i welcome myself to another year of living. the road is ever-winding. i’m going to keep walking. my pockets are heavy with lessons learned, treasures found, bits of stories that still hang around. i’m not as afraid as i used to be. it’s okay if you don’t understand. i’m unfolding anyways. it’s not heartless, it’s honest, though even the truth can feel muddled sometimes.
my feet feel lighter. something inside me feels freer. maybe what’s necessary doesn’t always come easy. there’s a path, and i think i’m on it, though i don’t know anymore where i want it to lead. happy wanderer. forgive the bumps along the way. there are too many gifts to worry over the weight of the bruises.
protect your skin. keep it tender, keep it tough. drink plenty of water.
the moon is rising, and somewhere else, the sun too.
you’re not alone here, dear girl.
every moment is something new.
listen to the song he sings,
heart to fly, hopes to rise, simple every day
just keep going…
i spent the morning sitting in a garden, painting prayer flags, with a group of art-makers who have helped me to learn what it really means to bless, what it really means to be brave. i ate the most beautiful and thoughtful cake…i felt loved to my very bones…i was humbled by the kindness they wrapped me in.
i have made many mistakes. i walk around with so many unknowns. but this morning in the garden i was reminded that the world is full of broken hearts who are not afraid to lavish grace.
we can only ever be exactly what we are. perfectly wounded. perfectly beautiful.
thank you, my dear gwc art friends, for helping me to understand that that is enough.
1. bagels for breakfast. the good-french-dense-chewy kind.
2. the heat of the summer, the way it slows me down like molasses.
3. remembering how much i love Justin Rutledge’s No Never Alone album. 7 years old and never sounded so good.
4. en masse felting with a brave, if somewhat reluctant, group of women.
5. warm wind and beach glass and waves crashing against shoreline.
6. clothesline weather.
7. heart shaped pebbles and driftwood logs that makes my heart ache.
8. brave on the rocks.
9. summer skirts.
10. devilled eggs on the back deck. decaf coffee in the grass. gratitude.