Sunday, July 20, 2014

Walk with ME: Walker Open Fields: Walk with ME Mom

It sounds funny to write. A walk with your Mom. As part of a serious art practice. Or does it? Here I was nervous to have my work be a part of Walker Open Field. Just sort of wondering what I was doing there as I was clearly told this was sub-programming to what happens at the Walker. Of course, that is when your mother surprises you at the first day of four that you are putting yourself out there. 
From Noon to 1pm I waited. Waited for someone to want to walk. There was much excitement as the 100 choreographers got ready. I spoke with an awesome Walker employee, Ashley about the project. I tried to get Christina to walk with me but alas she was working. I handed out a few zines to some of the choreographers hoping that after their performance I could get two of them to walk with me. All told me how cool the project was but that they were busy. Places to dash off to after the performance.
Then it started to rain. This is what I had been hoping for! I was so nervous about doing this all at the Walker I had hoped to get rained out. It started raining right when the choreographers were supposed to go on. Well, I thought, I might as well get to see this awesome performance before I go home. I had one walker, Jon, on his way. I could get that walk done and then I could go home. Maybe even get a ride from Jon. 

As, I, in my rain jacket watched Laurie Van Wieren's 4 x 4 performance where 100 choreographers performed in 4 foot by 4 foot squares…or so most stuck to the rules. My favorite was two men dancing the electric slide in their square. 
Anywho, while up the hill, my mother had arrived wondering why I wasn't by my sign. And so had my friend/roommate Andrew, with his friend Ahndi, and Jon arrived for his walk. Jon said he needed some lunch so someone else could walk first. Here I was all worried and now I had 4 WALKERS! Well, the official Open Field event may had been cancelled but the thunder and lightening had passed so we decided to walk. 

I had been pushed to do Walk with ME with family members. That exploring family emotions while holding hands would be challenging I thought it was a good idea. But I never pushed it. I had gotten push back from my family about quitting my job and taking this project on the road. As is likely of a family unit that is concerned for my health and well being. They probably thought I was gong nuts instead of striking out into fresh territory. That traveling Walk with ME will always be a pivotal moment in my life. That I still don't know where it will take me. I had family members get angry that I was bucking normal societal rules. But my mother, though wanting me to keep my former job, was supportive. At least to my face. And here she was ready for a walk. 

To say the least, I was nervous. So off we went in our rain coats into the Walker Sculpture Garden. If you read this blog, you will know I wrote a very personal blog that has caused ripples/effects through my family unit. I spoke about being sexually harassed by a family member. Realizing that it had been going on for years. These incidents have not crippled me but they most definitely have effected my relationship to how I think about men and safety. 

My mother and I started out the walk just chit chatting for five minutes. About the Walker and this project. But I felt incredibly uncomfortable. We had to talk about the blog. I apologized to my mom. Told her that I love her and Dad. But what I said I wasn't taking back. I was told by my mother that it wasn't that what I said wasn't truth it was that I had done it in public.  
I don't want to perpetuate anymore anger in my family unit. So I will keep my observations a bit truncated. One, it is powerful when women support each other. It is powerful to have a mother who will come out and walk with you when you are not the favorite person in your family unit. Two, what I am doing maybe, just maybe, can heal some of this family unit. No one wants to talk about what I am talking about. No one wants to look at the male figures in our family and say…what you did isn't right. Which goes for a lot of the male figures in my family unit. You can love someone and want to point out behavior that isn't so great. My mother was open to talking about this and reassuring me. What a gift. She isn't taking sides. She isn't steam-rolling anyone's feelings. But she didn't condemn me. 

Well, that is what love is. Isn't it? Accepting someone no matter what? It tears me up that that is what love is. Because it gives excuses a bit to all those times people have yelled at my mother. Or been mean to my mother. What I hope is that instead of being a victim, my mother can stand up and say that isn't an ok way to treat me. To those people. Including me. Cause let me tell you. I have yelled at my mother. I think that we can love and respect ourselves. I think women deserve love that isn't predicated on abuse from men or women.  
As we walked I noticed the way my mother's knuckle rubbed against my skin and moved against her skin. My mother has RA (Rheumatoid Arthritis) and it was right there in the hands that we held. To say that my mother is a powerful person is an understatement. She is stubborn and persistent and ever optimistic. She is proud of all the crazy things I have pushed myself to do. She pushes herself to do the same. 

Getting older there is a crazy shift where you are an adult and no longer need the same caring from your family. This is where the bonds can break or weaken. But with my mother I want to let her know that I don't need her cooking, her money, or her home as support. Now is the great time, when we can love each other just because.  

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