How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives. (Annie Dillard)
My children cause me the most exquisite suffering of which I have any experience. It is the suffering of ambivalence. The murderous alternation between bitter resentment and raw-edged nerves. and blissful gratification and tenderness.... (Adrienne Rich)
Exploring notions of resistance and acceptance as experienced through recent life changes, this work investigates my fragile relationship with motherhood. Using images and ephemera, I capture the dichotomies within parenthood, including taboo emotions tempered by hope.
Motherhood is brutal and bewitching. And full of other dichotomies. The joy of watching your child. The utter boredom of watching your child. Never being alone, yet feeling lonely. The tedium of motherhood’s repetition and work makes for busy days and an ever-moving body. I lift, bend, extend, twist, curl, and release minute-by-minute, hour-by-hour, marathoning my way through each day. I have become a living jungle gym, pillow, food machine, and toy. Exhaustion from the unyielding effort. Exhaustion through surrender. A desire to escape. A yearning to take more pleasure in more of mothering. The softening of and within myself. Making myself malleable to the needs of a creature. Of a dance of connecting. Or trying to connect. My splintering has been an uncomfortable process. Unsettling my solid foundation, filling it with toys and noise and other tiny things. I try untangling myself from expectations. One moment, I feel I am in danger of being swallowed whole by motherhood; another moment, I feel as though I am emerging from a limbo of my own making.
This project is supported by funds from the Oregon Arts Commission, the Ford Family Foundation, and the Douglas County Cultural Coalition. Image credits: Mario Gallucci