Before that turning time, I was avid for all things turquoise. Not long afterward, on one unremarked day, I stood in a clothing store, in love with a skirt and jacket that made me feel adult and wise. It came in two colors: ecru and turquoise. Stylistically, I'm sure ecru was the wiser choice, but I now feel that I left a piece of myself behind as I carried the pale, sophisticated color home.
That decision carried forward as my choice of blues narrowed to one: navy. My exterior began to resemble the world around me, the world I wanted to be a part of, the world of logic, reason, success, power … the world of men. The color turquoise, the stone turquoise (even though it was my birth stone) and any hint of that early love was banished, cast into a deep cellar along with pink, cute shoes and all thoughts of exchanging recipes. I became a woman in a man's world, making a wide arc around anything too girly, too feminine, too soft and powerless.
Years rushed by, underpinned by modest success and recognition in the world I chased, unsoftened by child bearing or inclusion in the world I avoided. Until … until another turning happened in my fiftieth year when poetry began to flow through the cracks in my life and painting said, "I don't care if you do it badly, just do it."
For the next ten years, I walked with an awkward gait, one foot in each world, not knowing where I belonged or which direction to go. Loss made the decision for me when my husband died and the world as I knew it drained away. When the clouds began to part, the only clear thing was that I couldn't go back. I began to make art that refused to reconnect me to the world of success and recognition. I surrounded myself with women friends. I let my hair grow long and painted my toenails bright colors. I began to wear turquoise, the color, but still avoided turquoise the stone.
Yesterday, in the midst of writing a story about a young woman going through a journey of initiation, turquoise came to me and demanded the return of its presence in my life. I agreed that it was time, so this morning I purchased a turquoise amulet and a bright turquoise purse. In a few days, I have a date to join my step-daughter and my two granddaughters at a salon where we will have pedicures prior to her wedding in Yosemite.
I have already decided on my color of choice: turquoise.
And, my question for you ... what have you put away in that cellar of your life, that now wants to come out and play again?
Great question, Joyce. And a perfect one to ponder, given I just left a brilliant off-Broadway production of My Name is Asher Lev. Asher struggled with the inherent conflict between his conservative Jewish tradition and his art, which he was profoundly compelled to express. There was a fabulous quote I need to find. It was something like, "An artist either reflects his life or his comments on it." Thanks for the reminder to search the cellar for inspiration.ReplyDelete
Thanks Becky ... I would love to have that quote if you find it. Have fun digging around in your cellar.ReplyDelete
Oh wow, what a profoundly moving and perfectly timed post for me to read this evening.ReplyDelete
Now, I need to reflect on what I left behind... I think it might have something to do with my voice.... :)
Hugs dear one -- you are a light of love shining brightly in my heart. Thank you.
Louise ... I hope you know how much we need your voice. I miss you! I miss blogging and my blog sisters. many hugs to you!ReplyDelete
I miss you too Joyce! And then, I realized as I typed that -- maybe that's what I've put away into the cellar awaiting inspiration -- regular contact with my blog sisters!ReplyDelete
Hugs and love to you. Time to get real on making a visit come true. :)
Good question! Deep story... I'll be thinking...ReplyDelete
Leigh ... thanks for saying hi ... what a pleasure it is to meet through our blogs. Would love to hear what you find in your cellar after such a long and varied journey.Delete