On June 16th of this year, I celebrated my birthday, in Marfa, Texas, with my youngest daughter accompanying me. Art and West Texas are not only important to me; both contribute fundamentally to defining me. Before my divorce, all three of my daughters knew me as a traditional mother; PTA board, carpool, community volunteer, homework courier, you know the type, the one who doesn’t seem to find the time to fulfill the other parts of herself because there aren’t enough hours in the day. Hold on, before you pass judgment, I am not complaining, and yes, I know that becoming a mother changes your life. No, I wouldn’t take back any of those moments because I enjoyed those years. Motherhood was just one part of me, the outer part, but I needed my girls to know the parts of me I had kept out of view, hidden from open display.
The trip to Marfa would allow my youngest daughter to experience the uninhibited me in the environment that nurtures my wanderess soul. We strolled down the street, gazing through shop windows, anticipating displays of creativity by each artist. What an unforgettable moment for me as I saw the excitement on her face as she found art pieces to add to her personal collection. Of course, the trip would not be complete without her seeing the Prada, Marfa art installation. As we stood there, I began to tell her about the artists, explained the concept of pop art, and delved into the philosophical definition of consumerist culture and displacement. She listened to me all the while her eyes on the installation and the beautiful countryside birthing a storm with the most spectacular displays of lightning. I am unsure what impact the installation had on her, but it changed me that day.
Before I divorced, my life could have been defined as a Prada lifestyle. I lived in an expansive stucco home similar in color to the Prada installation. My closet floor lined with those dark blue Prada boxes, and the shelves held white duster bags containing various styles of Prada handbags. The shoes inside the installation are right footed. Deep inside of me I strive to do right, be right, behave right, walk right, and be the right person for others, but with only one shoe, balancing seems impossible. When searching for the installation you will find it located outside Valentine, Texas. There are many days I feel as though I am on the outside of society. I have also felt judged by what is on the outside. Like Prada, Marfa, my life was on display and at the same time isolated in the vastness of its surroundings with a storm on the horizon.
Currently I am experiencing my most tumultuous storm, and I couldn’t be further from the Prada lifestyle of my past. I feel enclosed within four walls and the space becoming increasingly smaller. Fear, emotion, and rawness is the part of me my daughters can see now, and you know, I am okay with that. I always believed my girls needed to see only the strong side of me, the put together side of me, that is the side that would result in their own sense of strength. I was guilty of subscribing to the standards of society that girls, women, must be stoic and put together otherwise they would be considered weak. I will come through this storm, I firmly believe that, but it is okay if the journey is messy. It is okay to allow yourself to feel weak, without weakness, we cannot know strength.