Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Conversation with K.

Hello dear K,
It's much easier to be mean to ourselves than to be kind. Up until recently, I was guilty of the not-being-kind-to-myself thing too but encouraging others to be so and do so.

I've learned, late, but learned (so it's ok, I learned when I needed to learn it) that it's ok to be me, as I am. Your plays are starting to celebrate this side of you...and you know what?'s ok to want/need an audience. A true performer does. However, wishing that you HAD done something ("I should have..."), that you didn't do, couldn't do, weren't ready to do at a time in your life that isn't 'now' is energy that's best spent conspiring HOW you can do something, anything 'now.' There's nothing wrong with a performer wanting an audience. Your examination of yourself about wanting this is important, so well done. your heart of hearts...WHAT character do you want to play? WHO do you want to be? WHAT play do you want to do? It's not narcissistic to want to be let yourself want it.

That actress you went to see last night at Prairie Theatre Exchange, btw, is extremely talented but isn't playing with a full deck. You also don't go through men, like toilet paper, when you are happy. Guess what?....she isn't.

You're tired, exhausted, knackered, I hear you saying...IT'S OK - we need these moments of exhaustion to enable us to reflect because it's all we are capable of doing during these weeks, days, months, times of fatigue.

Tired, is your body telling you it's had enough of you neglecting it, ignoring it and pushing it to its limit. It's hard to listen to that voice as a busy busy mother of two boys, a husband that travels and as a woman trying to figure out what she wants. But it's ok to take the time to rest. Even if it means sitting and doing nothing. I'm allowing myself the indulgence of writing to you at dinner time. The connection we women have is vital to our longevity. Studies show that men don't need it (nor do they seek it), but we do. It's ok to embrace the need for friendship. So, I'm doing both right now. I feel relaxed and am breathing deeply and dribbling away with you. I'd be equally happy doing this over tea with you...but you'd have to agree to no fussing. Let the teabag sit in the cup.

On figuring out what you want: not that this REALLY helps, but you wouldn't believe HOW many women I know who are feeling RIGHT NOW that everything they thought they wanted and have become (by virtue of wanting and choosing) is NOT actually what they want. I'm one of them.

Interesting that ALL of these women have children who have started school in the past two years.

Interesting also, that ALL of these women are highly creative, incredibly intuitive and intelligent.

ON finding the time to be creative....interestingly, serendipitously, I was cleaning out my filing cabinet the other day and came across the "Anita" file...yes, I have files on all of you friends I know (newspaper clippings when I had access to them, play reviews, notes & letters written, postcards from your travels, even some phone messages, etc.)...and this is what she gave me (I'm not sure when, but I read it on a day I needed to...)

To Encourage my friend, F.

"A Woman must be careful to not allow over responsibility or over respectability to steal her necessary creative riffs, and raptures. She must simply put her foot down and say no to half of what she believes she 'should' be doing. ART is not meant to be created in stolen moments only."

From 'Women who run with the Wolves' p. 307 Clarissa Pinkola

That actrees you watched the other night is a well-known selfish woman. Good for her. Good for her art. Good for her audience. She chooses to DO, instead of waiting for 'stolen moments only' I have recently let go (resigned) from EVERY committee/group/etc. that I belonged to, that ate up alllllllllll of my time (so that I would feel a sense of purpose and have every second of every day gobbled up?) and had no time for my family ( know, quality time) or me. Let me share with you that letting go of ALLLLLLLLLLLLL of that was difficult. Each resignation letter I wrote, filled my gut with insane amounts of GUILT. I acknowledged the guilt, asked myself where it came from, and finished the letter without an answer.

I slept better that weekend than I have in years.

I had NOTHING to do with my time, except...nothing.

I sat still for the whole weekend. I fought the urge to FILL my time with things to do for other people. I allowed myself to feel good about the laundry I did for my girls. I read a book and fought the urge to get up and vacuum (again). I took the girls swimming and forced myself to be in the PRESENT, in the chlorinated indoor pool, so I wasn't constantly saying, "ok girls, we'll have to go soon." I let them tell me when they had had enough...which was 3 hours in the pool. S'alright, we had fun.

A lightness washed over me. At first I thought it was the chlorine. And then, I thought to myself...whoa, I need MORE of THIS feeling in my life.

But it had to start with my choosing to let go.

You know about surrender. You're a Christian. And in Being so, is surrendering...right?

About your work...the ONLY person's approval you really need when you are in that tight little artificially lit space in that school is that of the child you are with...because THAT's why you are there. YOU want to make a difference in this child's you are there. And, you're damned good at it. Small breakthroughs, even if far and in between, are there and they happen...and they happen because you are taking that time to be with that child.

You say your work, that you always felt you wanted to do, is unfulfilling. Do you fully honour each child that's in that space with you when you are together? What's it going to feel like when one of those children becomes an adult and stands up to speak to a group of people and says, "I had a lot of difficulty as a child. No-one thought I could do anything. But I had a teacher, who could teach. Ms. K. worked in the darkest space with us 'slow' kids and she encouraged us, and it was slow, but she did it, and I learned. And that woman turned my life around. She believed in me when no-one else did."...or something like that. Children need angels like you. But only if you can honour them, and your time together when you are IN it together in the moment.

Kids know when they are sitting with people that believe in them.

Ok...enough of my dribblings. You say you hate your body. If you won't believe yourself, can you believe an old friend, who's body is equally flabby and imperfect, who's hair is going grayer by the day, who's got lines under her eyes, droopy titties from nursing two wonderful girls, stretchmarks that line the part of her belly where nice underwear should sit and bikini's can't hide, who's bladder sometimes lets go a teeny bit of pee when she laughs too hard (thank god for panty-liners) and who's teeth are falling out or getting pulled out and are no longer white.

That body houses you. It isn't you. We have a responsibility to care of that body and to nourish it...but we should honour the journey it's taken to bring us to today. Did you ever criticize your mother's body for having you? Or your grandmother? ...oh crikey, I'm nattering on like an old woman. Flabby woman. Aging woman. Totally imperfect woman. But a woman that is loved and is capable of you are.

Ok...much love to you. I'm just sharing...not preaching...just offering. What do I know?...I'm only an egg. So much to learn yet, and my tits aren't at my waist just yet. But my ankles are thick and I think I might need bifocals.

No comments: