I'm awake at 4:29am eating raspberries from the carton, listening to the wind howl outside my window. We live in a tiny apartment in a big complex and the wind likes to whistle, loud, in the space between buildings. As it was waking me up tonight, in my dream it was a small boy wearing rolled up overalls, running with a pinwheel to the sky, somewhere far away like maybe France.
I woke up and realized all of our patio chairs were knocked into a tangled heap in one corner.
Sometimes I can go right back to sleep when I wake up, but usually my brain is too busy. Tonight I instantly began worrying about Lily and feeling horrible for not being enough like Martha Stewart or Joan Cleaver. They don't wear giant pilly sweatshirts with pajama pants when running to Target on Christmas Eve at 10:24pm. They don't say fuck or take naps.
So, I began really beating myself up about this, and wondering how, in 2016, I could try and be 'better'. I could shower each morning and blow dry my hair. I could get jewelry to dress up my uniform white t-shirt over yoga pants. I could wear blush and mascara. I could bake more and whistle while I work.
This isn't the first time I've tried to fit into this mold. After having Braedon almost 14 years ago, I bought pearl earrings and a pearl necklace and hung an apron beside the pantry. I've gotten a lot better since then with the whole self acceptance thing, but the Holidays always bring it all boiling right back up to the surface.
Those moms don't read gossip blogs. Those moms can eat so much gluten.
In these moments, where I'm alone and it's all whipping through me, there is only one thing that brings me back to center.
In a society that would love to have me stand up straight and gloss my lips, instead, I am an artist.
This means it makes sense that I am always hunched over the wheel covered in clay or my clothes smell like river mud or both. It makes sense that I feel all of the things all of the time and have ten (hundred) times more wrinkles framing my face than anyone else my age. It makes sense that my hair is always in a total shit show bun on top of my head and I can't be bothered with things like manicures or marzipan.
I don't think there is only one way to be an artist, but I think I only make sense when I grant myself permission to be the artist that I am. I bet if we were living in the super olden days, in a tiny village where everyone has a role like in the movies, I'd be the one with a dusty face selling pottery at the market, writing invisible poems on my palm with my pointer finger between customers. I'd be the one bathing in the river with my family while the others are all at church wearing pantyhose, telling their children to hush.
And that is OK.
There isn't only one way to be a (successful) woman in this world.
I have a daughter and I think because of that, I have a responsibility to love myself. And that's kind of the hardest thing ever, sometimes. But I'm finding my way.
I've shared so many honest details of my journey on this blog since I began in 2008, and now, with only three days until 2016, it feels important to get this out, as clumsy and knobby-kneed though it might be.
This is going to be the year, not that I finally get my act together and start applying expensive skin creams (because that's not me), but, the year when I dedicate my heart to self love each day.
As I am.
Just as I am.
Ghost words scribbled across my skin, and all.
I think it's gong to be a lot like cleaning my home. I get it all tidy and vacuumed and looking great, knowing full well that it will all be messy again. But that's OK. I'll keep washing the dishes and picking up the socks. There's beauty in the work of things, too, I think.
I don't know how to end this, except to say that this far into it I know for certain that words are medicine and it doesn't matter how good they taste or how lovely the packaging, so long as you just get them down.
And the same is true for photographs and porcelain bowls; poems and pearl stitches. I've learned that it doesn't matter if it's all horrible, as long as you just keep showing up and making the art, even if it's at 4 o'clock on a Monday morning, it all will make sense. Little by little, bird by bird, the wind always carries us home.