I remembered a few things.

I used to be the cool older sister who took cool younger sister to small, hip music shows where I knew everyone and everyone knew me.  This past Friday night I was nervous as I drove to a familiar gathering spot of yesteryear for a show with a band I've been listening to for nearly a decade.  Bayley, my younger, and incredibly cool sister, was with me.  I was terrified I would show up and not only would it be totally apparent that I was mommed out, but I was worried I wouldn't know anyone, that all coolness had been packed away a few years ago, and Bayley would witness it all.  As soon as I walked up to the house and saw endeared, comfortable faces gathered in circles on the grass and on the front porch steps, I was at home.  I knew most of the people there and it was surprising to me to realize that a lot of us had the look of "I can't stay out too late, my baby is at home with a sitter."  We were all five years older and it was okay.

All through high school and college I hated when people called me "woman" or "lady".  I always corrected them.  "Girl", I would say.  "I'm just a girl."  I also avoided anything that would connote "woman": purses, lipstick, high heels, matching clothes.  The idea of growing up has perpetually scared me.  I can't quite put my finger on it. The thing about it that scares me.  Maybe it's the imagined inevitable.  The perceived notion that I will fall further from adventure and the glory of activist college days and just become another in the rank of mom, or mormon, or lady.  When I sit down and explain this, and then look at the evidence of good people around me, I realize my case is pretty weak.  Nonetheless, it is an internal swoshing that unsteadies me at times.

The show started and I sat against a wall and felt everything with ease.  The dim lights, the wood floor, so many pairs of skinny jeans, shoulder bags and self haircuts.  For a half hour I felt a return to what motivates me to create, to be a part of something.  For some time I haven't felt this at church, or at home on my own when I sit with my art supplies, or with my new friends in California.  It's not that I'm unhappy, I'm not.  I just haven't been able to stir myself to vigor, to staying up late to work on projects.  This little show, with an old friend singing new songs, and another old friend playing the bass, and two dozen old friends listening with me reminded me that we need spaces in which we create and appreciate each other.  In the same house, I had had two different art shows in years past.  I had taken my group of high school writing group girls to this place to talk about words and poetry when it was a letterpress studio.  I had worked, planned, sold my art at farmer's markets and even failed at projects with people in that room.  I felt a spirit there that night.  One that reminded me of things I already knew, but had forgotten:  that experiences with God and his goodness are not limited to religious contexts; that creating is worth the difficulties it proposes and that our creations don't have to be our magnum opus to be shared; that sharing the things we create (including our children) is meant to be done together, with old and new friends.


emilia. said...

i love this ash. thank you.

just a little bit mo said...

What a lovely experience. Nothing like feeling home.

Kathy w. said...

Thank you for remembering. And thank you for sharing.

Lizzy Lambson said...

Such a wonderful post! You captured a feeling I just had last week when a friend from school came to visit and eat and talk and play classical music for us on our never-played piano and it was like home came home again to what is still a foreign place to me. It is refreshing to feel all the parts of who you are beyond the obvious mom and woman and Mormon hats as you described. And I love the detail about self-cut hair. So definitive!