Friday, September 23, 2016

The Art of Mess

My camera likes to find the glowy bits, the sacred more than the dirt.

I got to talking with my sisters-in-law recently about the pressure of keeping up with
Western "mom-culture," as seen through the filters of Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, and their ilk.
As an artist, I promote myself. I show my best side.
As media-savvy socialites, we most of us show our best sides.

We share our successes, because... who wants to share the flops?

But regular scans of others' tidy homes, clean kids, and glorious creations
can feed into a suffocating sense of failure, especially among mamas.

{It's so clean out there! So tidy! So productive! So creative! So delicious!
So overwhelming! }
With such a tide of seeming success out there, how can one stay afloat? 
In truth, my house is so messy from life and work that I don't want to open my doors.

And yet!
I think the secret to staying afloat is being honest.
Maybe the rest of everyone is as clean and productive and delicious as they seem, but I am not.
And I have a hunch that there are a few lovely souls out there like me, too.
So here is me, letting you in past the front door.
I am cobwebbed and sloppy.
I don't like to sweep or clean the windows.
I don't remember to dust.

I like to read. I love to make art. I want to write.

I love to snuggle with my family. I like to watch sunsets.
When all those things are accomplished for the day, I breathe.
Sometimes I clean up.
And the thing about the mess is
that we live here.

We, with all our strings and nests.

We, with our hive of buzzing. our endless scraps of paper
our mountains of books.

We, with our jars of pencils. Our oddball sorts of tape and fabric and library card and rubber band and broken watch.

We, with our shuffle-off-your-shoes and slough off the backpacks, hunker down with a good book, snuggle in for a daydream or a few minutes of escape and forget the chores.

What does our mess represent?

That dinner happens here.
Not elegant. Often blacky on the edges.
But family and chatter and real plates and silverware.

That health happens here.
Not spit-spot. Often grimy. with mildew creeping on the fringes.
But fresh, running water and soap. Running shoes. Soccer gear. Bikes. Laundry.

Music happens here. More practice than polished. But honest and earnest.

Art blooms here.
With scribbles and smudges. With paper crowding all the corners.
With story starts and muddy middles.

This is us.
This is our mess.
A haven. A canvas. A library.
for dreamers, athletes, artists, readers.

Life is a beautiful mess.
Here's to enjoying the sacred and the dirt, my friends.

What does your mess represent?

Our latest reads:

Also an Octopus by Maggie Tokuda-Hall, ill. by Benji Davies
Leaves by David Ezra Stein
Fletcher and the Falling Leaves by Julia Rawlinson, ill. by Tiphanie Beeke
Book Scavenger - by Jennifer Chambliss Bertman


Amy Stewart said...

I just adore you, Faith. Mess or no mess. (and I LOVE the sock bookmark)

Vijaya said...

You said it perfectly... feeling thankful for our messy life

Vijaya said...

You said it perfectly... feeling thankful for our messy life

mommamoocow said...

I am a messy, creative person. When I clean I have to shut down the creative side of me. When I am creating, I shut down the clean side. I can't seem to do both at the same time. My husband can't stand the messy side of me and can't stand having a messy house so I don't get much art or writing done. Your creative household seems like such a lovely place to live. You are an inspiration to me.

m. bloom said...

oh, my goodness!! I am going to use socks to mark my place in books from now on just because it's funny and makes me laugh. Did someone say laugh?! Those giant googly eyes peeking up over the neck of the violin? I nearly fell out of my chair! Thank you for the happy amusement and for sharing such goodness.

Love, hugs & xo

Dawn Simon said...

I love your words and photos, as always. Beautiful! Hurray for creating, loving, and enjoying our moments instead of dusting!


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