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52 weeks | One by one | no. 0046
For a short while I contemplated concluding Wednesday’s Bloom when the munchkin reached his first birthday. I thought, at the time, that “new mommy” meant you were mothering an infant. But as this writing journey has evolved, so too has my understanding of new mommy, now defined as “any mother who finds she is learning something new in this moment.” Every mother I’ve talked to about this agrees that each day, each child, brings them face to face with an unexperienced part of themselves. I wanted to find more ways to make the phenomenon of a mother’s perpetual discovery extremely visible in my work. Continuing with Wednesday’s Bloom is a simple, but critical part of nurturing this intention. Sharing these weekly stories in this series is akin to tending the soil of my be(come)ing. What am I growing here? I am daily uncovering the fruits of my labor. This much is clear to me: I have to keep writing.
When I trace through all the developments since the inception of Wednesday’s Bloom I can actually map the strengthening of my creative process. Writing gives us the opening to bring more things into being. Those seemingly endless strands of doodles, those clipped paragraphs on the edges of loose pages, those lines slipping quickly away when we awake from a dream and hurry to scribble the remnants of a fading thing down. These are the signs that we are on to something vital. And if nothing else, when we give those incomplete nuggets of genius a little water by just acknowledging their worth, whatever we are creating grows that much more.
I’ve come to appreciate that the act of transferring a single idea in my mind to a tangible space in the world can be exponentially life-changing. This is the heart of the matter: I am writing to make more room for mothers, for women, for artists. I am writing to render ourselves whole, despite living in a world well-versed in the art of separation.
Wednesdays have pretty much become magical for me now. I used to reserve the day only for writing. But as the munchkin matured and needed more stimulation, the ritual became more fluid. I started to schedule appointments for things that were connected to my path as mother-artist-woman on Wednesdays. I decided since this is the day of the week the munchkin made his entrance, it will forever hold an extra frequency of possibility. Recently, Wednesdays have gotten so busy, I have had to wait until he’s sleep for the night before I can really dig into the story. Today is such a day, as I spent several hours in a fabulous meeting with the New Mommy Writers’ Workshop‘s first community partner. (Excited to reveal more on this soon!) We talked motherhood, artmaking, community, writing, dancing, marketing–everything. The munchkin toddled around in his new walking feet and added his two cents to the conversation. I nursed him, changed him, and did all the mothering work I usually do without missing a beat in our spirited discussion about expanding the New Mommy Writers’ Workshop. It felt good to pause every now and then, breathe in the beauty of the space, and think to myself, This is my life!
It is on Wednesdays that I’ve come to track my progress as a mother. I count the weeks because numbering small increments of time helps me organize the memories. These posts are like bookmarks in what I pray will be a long, long, long existence. I am responsible for documenting my own stories; no one else can do this for me. It is through this writing that I am also unraveling the knots of past traumas. My latest spiritual epiphany is that so much of the dancing I did up to becoming pregnant with the munchkin was born out of grief. Grieving miscarriages, grieving broken hearts, grieving the burden of all my silence. It was actually suffocating holding onto all those stories. As an artist, waking up, only to then keep quiet about the truth, was not acceptable. Moving the body became my way around speaking. But mothering has taught me there is no way around speaking. Writing is me practicing how to have a voice in this world that is often very good at not listening.
I am so excited, though. I feel like there’s a crowd cheering us on as we reach this awesome milestone. It is a major deal, especially in this country where the infant mortality for black children is painfully twice as high as the national average, that we have brought the munchkin one full time around the sun. With each breath I am missing the baby-self he is happily outgrowing. Every few minutes I check the clock and remember what part of my labor I was in, or how small he used to be in my arms, or how he used to not be so mobile! But I am also bubbling with anticipation over what work and wonders will greet us in the munchkin’s new year. One by one, I am stepping deeper into the wilderness that is mother, that is artist, that is woman. Here we go!
The munchkin, my first born, was born on a Wednesday. Wednesday’s Bloom: Textual Portraits of a New Mommy is an ongoing multi-media documentary project about my process as a mother. Today’s story is a part of Volume 1, 73 consecutive weeks of posts, spanning about the first year and a half of the munchkin’s life. Each episode explores my weekly discoveries, challenges, questions, and hopes as a mother. I also facilitate the New Mommy Writers’ Workshop for all mothers and women active in their mothering work who are excited about cultivating their own writing practices.