The First Day - My (Dis) Orientation

The expression - eyes squinting, confused and in pain, aching - the non-verbal response of a mother as her child recoils, into the opening arms holding her. The moment was rehearsed, but one cannot prepare for the vulnerability felt on this day. Please let go. I feel the confinement of my skin.

I step through the threshold and leave, as I start to molt. My small concentric being is in that room, behind the closed door, up those stairs, past the security guard, on the other side of the courtyard. Mothers become tender in the moments that turn us inside out. 

The moment passes and I am in a new place. The reflection firms my loosened self. Out on the street I watch another mother, the light changes, three beats pass and she starts to cross. I pause thinking about her delay. The first day of school is different to all people. It’s different with the older child and different with the younger child. When I was thirty-two my strong sense of orientation was focused in my body’s center, above my belly button below my rib cage. Then, my first born was conceived and my center created a beautiful new being, always a part of me and soon apart from me. It’s all so simple, it’s all so easy, the separation we all do, I tell myself. 

The connection I have with my children and myself fluctuates, and now as I recall my self I sense an odd appearance in a familiar mirror. I’m not always so disoriented, but days like this occur more often than I ever would have thought. 

Walking back into the class room, to his smile and, “Can we get lunch?”, we continue our day together.  

Berkeley, A Map

Disorientation has been an ongoing pursuit of mine - so has attraction to maps.  Today I made a map of my neighborhood that guarantees delightful disorientation. 

Berkeley-Map.JPEG

This map is one example of layered fabric cut-outs that I have been making lately after learning the technique of reverse appliqué in a sewing class at Stone Mountain and Daughter. The fabric is cut away at various depths, revealing the different layers of fabric below. In my map, the lines made by the red thread represent routes to nearby parks, blue thread leads to the restaurants and the yellow thread to markets and grocery stores.  

Steps to make this style of reverse appliqué. 

Steps to make this style of reverse appliqué.