First Days

I write this in my tub. Soaking the past 12 hours away. I’ve been up since 3:30AM.

First Day of Kindergarten for Jack and Fiona. First day of American Sign Language instruction at Berkeley Community College for me.

Drop off and Freeway, each with its own pulse. I saw smashed cars on the opposite side of the Freeway, I can’t believe anyone could have survived,

I heard on the traffic report a truck was on fire on my side of the freeway. The brake lights went on forever as the Eastshore freeway merged with HWY 80.

I took the Carlson exit. Held back sadness as memories of Nations, the Wild West Gun Shop, San Pablo Ave, My moms old house. I miss her.

I took Solano Ave, back streets all the way to Berkeley. I made it with time to spare.

First subject. Deaf culture, ASL history. Thoughts of my daughter running through my head. Her questions lately,

“Why are people deaf?”

“Do they not have ears?”

“What makes them deaf?”

I try to explain. Yesterday, at the SF ZOO playground. She sticks to me. Talking to me, asking me questions.

Her brother, off making friends. Watching what the big kids do.

We look at the Hippo who puts on quite a show. Opening his mouth as wide as can be. The kids wanted me to watch them on the Carousel, I usually ride with them.

Are they turning into little, thoughtful, inquisitive minds? It’s all about Science and Identity. Between tantrums and immense fatigue. Where crying stubbornness have me saying,

“I don’t understand? Why are you acting this way?”

I check foreheads for fevers. I think they must be sick.

After ASL class today, after my jaw dropped. Seeing a lecture about your own daughter’s history, present tense, and future in a bonafide college course is a total trip. The things that led me here happened quickly once I started To mobilize.

Once my SEE sign classes were over and our time in the Total Communication classroom ended I decided to switch to ASL. At the time my daughter was still using two hearing aids. Then after everything happened, everything changed with what she could understand verbally, and my training to communicate through SEE sign language alone fell short of being able to communicate efficiently I guess I put the petal to the metal.

Now my whole family has taken ASL courses together, me and the kids study every night, and my BCC class started this week.

I’ve already learned so much, but most of all, I know my instincts were always right, and my questions were always well founded.

It’s not fair, I’m the one who has crushing anxiety! Since I was right all along, but people made me think I was wrong and I felt crazy.

Now I feel I have valuable knowledge to pass on.

After class I walked over to the Berkeley Art Museum. I saw a show of contemporary work inspired by the surrealists. I felt very connected to many of the works of art.

Today was the first day I felt like an independent person in a long time. Not a parent isolated in my house or an artist isolated in her studio.

I felt a new connection to community. I feel comfortable in my identity as an artist and a parent.

I realized I have so much to offer, the new people I will be meeting in my new life. I am part of things bigger than myself.

Tomorrow I will write my new artist statement for the 50/50 show. Saturday I will set it up. It’s such a meaningful collection of work.

This is my one framed work for the show. The rest are in a grid.

I think it looks very surrealist.

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About Dirty Laundry Blog

Thoughts on Motherhood Through the Eyes of an Artist