One Mama’s Trash Dance

I hear the trash truck when it approaches our block every Tuesday morning.  Yesterday it came and went without our garbage because dear Mark, our Chief Trash-Removal Officer, was out of town and I couldn’t make it happen while getting our Littles ready for the preschool schlep. Looking at our 3/4 full recycling bin and knowing that we won’t see the recycling truck for another 2 weeks was a solid “Oh Dear” moment.

Some mornings, it’s a wonder if we all get out the door with both hair and teeth brushed (the girls and me that is) — let alone take care of a significant chore like collecting trash from around the house and taking bins out to the curb.

Man, I so look forward to the day when my husband no longer says, “You don’t need a shower, you took one yesterday.” Or worse, when I haven’t had time for a shower in two days and pony tails can no longer hide the grease, and he says, “You look fine!” It’s such a drag that he’s used to seeing me this way. I’m envisioning a time that I hope isn’t in the too distant future when I’m actually able to fully groom myself daily and have him and everyone else see this as my status quo and are surprised instead when they see me looking frumpy and unkempt.

When I choose a topic like trash or laundry to write about and read my post after-the-fact, my inner voice says things like, “JEEZ your life is is so mundane — can’t you find something more interesting to write about?” And I wonder if I’m not one of those “pathetic” women that some jerk-bird blog commenter recently described when applauding the recent NY Times article on Mommy Bloggers.

But my life is far from boring. I know that. In addition to all the changes and developments I happily witness daily in my girls, all the important details related to the Sweet Songs album that I’m putting together are happening right now. This week I’m finalizing our CD artwork and liner notes, putting together all the content for the album’s web site, preparing publicity material for three magazines covering our project in May (yea!), and starting to collect email addresses for our Mother’s Day Concert eVite. Please send me yours if you’d like an invite!

You’d think that I would be in an elated state of mind about this. That after working on something of this magnitude off and on for over three years, I would feel overjoyed to witness it all finally coming to life. I think ultimately that I will absolutely feel this way.

trash danceI chose trash as my topic du jour because strangely I find myself feeling like a big pile of junk right now instead.  As I sighed my “Oh Dear” sigh yesterday morning when hearing the trash truck pass our house, I was imagining myself as a prop  in Allison Orr’s Trash Dance project. Allison is yet another one of Austin’s creative talents that happened to cross my path because we both had the same midwife and took part in the same midwife-generated mama group. Take a minute to check out the above link to a video of her project and then please read on….

As I insert myself in the trash dance, I’m this annoying sticky pile of crumpled paper plastic yuck that is whipping around aimlessly in the winter-turning-spring wind. All the trash truck drivers with uniform, choreographed purpose line up to complete their dance. Their work. With clear, valid, cause & effect impact. And with an audience gaining a whole new perspective and appreciation for the critical service they provide. Then I enter stage left, bumbling along in all my rubbish-ness, only to be scooped up and discarded by one of the automated dancing truck arms.

My husband, who is one of my daily readers together with my mother, a dozen of my closest long-term and recent friends and about five others (including one Lovely in Australia and another Lovely in Ireland – thank you both), is shaking his head reading this post. He knows my old mental pattern of going to a I’m-good-for-nothin’ place. I perfected self deprecation years ago. And he knows that I know better than to go there. For me. For him. And most importantly, for my girls. I do not want to model this for them.

Why am I going there so often lately? I turn 40 this year and for the first time in my life I’m fully putting my creative spirit out there in the world  — through this blog and through the soon-to-be released album. And I find myself feeling completed deflated as I come to terms with the lack of monetary return or value that I’m providing for my family with either endeavor.

maslows_hierarchy_of_needssvgWhy in the world am I pursuing self-expression at a time when our family requires my focus on a much lower tier of Maslow’s Triangle?  I’m working on self-actualization and art in service of others when my family needs my focus on our Safety.

A part of me was finally saying “OK” to the adage we all heard growing up: “Do what you love and the money will follow.”

Maybe that statement was meant for teenagers lacking a mortgage and children?

Plus, my intent with the album was and is not about money. It’s about giving something that will last forever for my girls, connecting and co-creating with my singer girlfriends, and giving back to the community both artistically and socially.

As for the blog, there is monetizing potential I suppose  — but my focused goals have been simply around writing regularly.

Molly Venter, one of my favorite voices in the world — who happens to be our nanny while she takes some time off from touring, lucky us! — captures all of my “Why am I doing this?” angst in her song, Nobody Said It’d be Easy (link to video of her performing this in Austin):

“Everyone tells you to follow your heart. Everyone says to hold out for the stars. Everyone knows you do what you love and the money will come. Nobody said it’d be easy. Nobody told me that I’d want to quit. Nobody said that as high as you’ll get, you will come down, you’ll find yourself crying when you are alone.  But I know, nobody said it’d be easy.”

If you hadn’t heard of Molly until now, you really need to get one of her albums. Her voice is so yummy and her songwriting is fantastic. And one of her CDs – “Love Me Like You Mean It” was recorded in our very own Hideout Studios!

All for now. Be well.

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2 Responses to “One Mama’s Trash Dance”

  1. B says:

    Ahhhh the old I’m-good-for-nothin’ place…I know it well. And feel as you do that I really don’t want to model it for my kid(s). When that inner voice of yours is saying nasty things to you, remember that there are lots of people reading your every word – and talking about trash just may resonate with some of us…like me!

  2. Darby says:

    Trash is exciting in our house! We love trash day probably due to the fact that my boys are enthralled with trash trucks. Like you, I barely have time to take out the trash, so I take advantage of this and let my 4 year old gather the trash from the house, bring it out to the trash can, and drag it to the curb. He loves it and takes pride in doing the job well. He wants to be a trash truck driver when he grows up, by the way. Oh, and he went to the Trash Dance last year and still talks about it!
    Also, I just wanted to say that I’m also a regular reader of your blog, and I always find myself saying Amen! after reading the posts.

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