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Wednesday’s Bloom: Textual Portraits of a New Mommy

73 weeks | We can only be who we are | no. 0067

The really awesome thing about having a stuffy nose is that I can’t smell the munchkin’s funky diapers.

The not so awesome thing about having a stuffy nose is that I can’t smell the munchkin’s funky diapers. Yeah, you can imagine how the situation can get out of hand. Poor baby. I’m always amazed, wondering how long he’s been waiting to be released from his poop. But all is forgiven instantly it seems, if he was ever even annoyed with mommy at all for missing the cues that he needed a change. It’s a process. This much he must know.

I’m working on this “being positive” thing. In sour moments I challenge myself to look for the blessing, the other perspective, the opportunity in the moment. Let’s be honest, sometimes I can’t find it. But the other day when the munchkin threw up his entire breakfast onto my chest, and lap, and bed I had to be grateful for this persistent cold. Had my olfactory nerves not been obstructed with mucous, I would have had to endure the lasting stench of stale vomit that I’m sure remained for sometime on my skin. I was just focused on getting him clean, and salvaging the mattress from further despair. I wiped myself off with a dry washcloth and told myself I’d gotten it all. Does lying to yourself ever count as being positive?

This being positive business can get tiring, though. Especially when you really need to just point out for fact’s sake that something sucks horribly. I wrestle with that sometimes. What matters more, honesty or optimism? Because it always could’ve been worse.

These are the decisions we have to make for our sanity, it seems. This is one of many conundrums that I attempt to ponder in the 30 seconds it takes me to rinse the diaper cloth in the sink while the munchkin patiently awaits his coconut oil rub down and fresh diaper on the bed. I look at myself in the mirror, the scabs forming all over my nostrils and cheeks from constant blowing of the nose, the hair matted and dry because I don’t know whether to let it grow or return to my usual bald oasis, the eyes simultaneously alert and exhausted, yesterday’s clothes covered in dried sweet potato or oatmeal or–I don’t even know what that is–because what’s the point in putting clean clothes on a dirty body. So I sum all this up and I set out on my search for the positivity in it all. Am I terribly run-down because I’m a mother who has lost touch with all things self-care? Or am I simply beautiful because I’m a mother, period?

They say we have a glow or something.

Well it’s not like I can just stare in the mirror all day figuring that out. I just bounce it back into the sea of whatevers. Make plans to revisit those thoughts the next time I can be in front of my naked reflection. But that question about the value of being positive floats in and out of my days. So far I’ve surmised that, yes, many times it pays to be positive. And sometimes the cost is too great. We really just have to take it moment by moment.

I successfully hosted the first circle gathering of the New Mommy Writers’ Workshop. Thanks to so much help from my mother, my partner, the munchkin taking his nap at a very strategic time, and the wonderful participants who came to share the space and brought yummy food too. The whole event was a really powerful learning experience for me. I am definitely deep in the lab this week, revising, reimagining, rethinking this Workshop as it continues to evolve. There are things I am realizing about my process that, in hindsight, seem obvious, but are nonetheless quite epiphanic to me. Every stage of the Workshop’s development has been necessary. It’s like I’m finding my way through a forest of wisdom, every tree bearing a different nectar that I need in order to be prepared for the next part of the journey. I’m already mapping out the coming phase of this program for the fall of this year with my new level of awareness.

One thing that has remained a constant from day one of this journey is that I am “workshopping the Workshop.” Every prompt, every activity, every format presented, every communication shared is a part of an experiment to see what really speaks to people, motivates them, makes them feel most welcomed inside the bounty of their own creativity. The more I move forward in this work, the more I return to some of the core insights that have been lighting my way for years. Long before the munchkin was born I was setting these things in motion. It’s wild and overwhelming and magical to see it coming together, and to see how far I still have to grow.

I often wonder if I’m trying to do to much all at once. Or rather, my mother’s concerns for how much I am putting into all of this echo louder on some days. But in my mind, I really do believe that this current state of things is moderation. If I could actually sustain my family rhythm and the ginormous reality of my full vision, the Workshop would have progressed even further by now.

In good time, they tell me. In good time.

I catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror during the next diaper change. I hear this line in my head: “We can only be who we are,” and I know it’s the title for today’s Wednesday’s Bloom. I think it’s referring to those occasional doubts that pop in and out of my brain about the mission I’m nurturing with my work for mothers, women, and artists. I ask myself if I need to tone down the dream sometimes, ease up on the passion that has me forgetting meals and skimping on sleep, identify some less disruptive way to make humanity better for us all. But then I immediately balk at those thoughts. To not even try? To not even know what it could have all been? I could never waste my purpose like that, even on my worst days I know there’s more to do.

So ultimately, I concede. I have to walk my path after all. The stumbling and the trepidation and the second-guessing are a part of the curriculum of being creative. It’s a long road and there are bruises from the falls. In this way then, it serves my process well that I have such a positive spirit about it all.

~~~

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.

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