Listen To Your Mother
Listen To Your Mother is a series of staged readings about motherhood done in 41 cities across the United States and Canada in the weeks before Mother’s Day each year.
Local writers in each of these cities write short pieces about motherhood and then audition for the opportunity to be cast. My writing was one of only 13 chosen for Rochester, New York, for the 2016 season.
The Rochester topics this year varied: funny stories of mothers who were bold characters in this world, the acceptance required to raise a transgender child, the raw pain of post-partum depression, parenting a tween as she finds her way and you lose your own, cultural definitions of motherhood, coming to terms with your own mother’s death when you know she will never meet your unborn child, the day-to-day insecurities we all feel about the little things and whether or not we are ‘good enough’, choosing non-traditional paths in life, and so many more.
Yesterday I stood and spoke in a room that swallowed my voice. Not in the “I am going to snuff you” way to which I have become so accustomed in this life. But rather in a way that felt like “more”.
A soul whisper.
Hoarse from longing.
I write because my work day is devoid of anything that resembles me. It is filled with crabby backward things and people chasing someone else’s bottom line. It smells of sulphur. With no time to pee. It’s ugly. And gray. Or, more specifically, some nasty version of 70s blue. It’s rancid and shallow and missing my authenticity.
…so I write…
Too Tired to Hold Color
I am supposed to be writing the piece for my audition but my brain doesn’t want me to write it just yet. And so I meander.
If you are a writer, you will likely understand.
I write a little but find myself distracted by the Google Chrome icon in my task bar which, to me, looks a lot like a camera shutter.
This makes me think of my father. I start to research where to entrust the development of the ancient film in his 1970s cameras that Mom still has so I click Chrome to browse a few labs.
Tonight we hiked apiece through the woods to the place where the colors pass to pine. The days are shorter now and, with more urgency I was craving the last few moments of daylight uninterrupted by conversation; like a hungry lover dreading the end of an embrace before a lingering absence. I sat amidst the pinecones and drifting oak leaves and invited the sun to have its way with me one more time. When I am content in this way I am bewitching. I am grateful this image was captured; this hidden side of me.
“Metaphors have a way of holding the most truth in the least space.”
I am ashamed to admit that I began to take for granted my virtual freedom. To some extent, I have forgotten to appreciate fully the joy of browsing the internet without interrogation or fear of retribution, without attempts to create guilt or fear, without angry outbursts in the next room or menacing stares. I had simply forgotten.
Today, as I searched for a place to share my poetry it all came rushing back. It immediately struck me that each organization that provides support for Domestic Violence and Sexual Abuse victims and survivors prominently displays a button entitled “Quick Escape” ~usually in neon red or bright orange ~ so the victim who is looking for help in the quiet moments that s/he can steal is able to click it and instantaneously switch to an alternate home page and clear the cache. But even at that, they warn that the “Quick Escape” isn’t failsafe and that those who are still living with their abusers may be at risk by even visiting the very page they need to get help.