For the past several months I've been craving color. Bed sheets, shoes, the clothes I wear, the food on my plate, the art on my walls. I need to experience color, lots of it, all day. My new endeavor, yarn jewelry and accessories, has followed suit. Long gone are the urban days of cool black and grey from head to toe with maybe the occasional color accent to give the impression that I don't take myself too seriously after all. Gone are the days of grey and not-too-saturated yellow and less-is-more of my Studio Mangiameli logo and general branding.
These days I dream of combinations of burgundy and turquoise, gold and pink, forest greens with blue, taupe and a splash of crimson. In the morning I wake up and try to reproduce those visions in my small creations. I never repeat color combinations. Every project is new. Every project surprises me a little and feeds the next one.
I've been trying to wrap my head around this shift in aesthetic and one of the best ways I can explain it is the cool restrained elegance of my thirties has simply left the station, and I missed the last train out. But I'm not sad about it. In fact, I feel quite Zen as I wave to that train pulling out of the station, peaceful in my knowledge that rainbows and unicorns await me in my new creative endeavors.
Perhaps I want my world and immediate surroundings to reflect the spectacular contradictions and emotional resonance of my everyday life as a mother. In other words, allow myself to access all the colors that for years were inaccessible to my psyche because I had decided that those colors just didn't suit me.
The other day my daughter Rose and I sat down next to each other surrounded by her paints, brushes and crafting tools. I picked up a brush and over the course of the next two or so minutes, I had painted a little portrait of her. It was on bright yellow paper with big bold strokes. There was nothing careful or precious about it. It was simply an intuitive interpretation of my love for this little innocent, funny creature with her pig tails, her a-line dress, and a sweet little necklace with plastic beads she had made in pre-school and gifted to me. It was my Rosie.
Then I stepped back as I hung it up to dry and looked at it again.
It was Rose. But it was also me. It was without a doubt my inner child. And believe me I cringe a little when I say that because of how trite it sounds, but it's true. I felt such a deep emotional connection to this portrait; to the innocence it represents, the same innocence that we all lose slowly, inevitably and painfully over time. I was so happy that I found my way back to her and it all kind of hit me in that moment: my daughter, Kiki's Yarn Works, they're all connected!
There are these uncanny moments when our kids allow us to see ourselves as children. And maybe, this way, we get to direct some of that boundless love we feel for our child to ourselves too; love we would otherwise have withheld. I’ve always shied away from words like ‘redemption’ and ‘rebirth.’ But if it does happen, I think this must be how.
Kiki ( the nickname given to me by my family as a young child) would've never resurged without Rose coaxing her out. And this new creativity I've found would have never happened without either of them. Every experience up to this moment and everyone I've met so far has led me to exactly this moment in time. I've made big sometimes impulsive decisions over the years and in so doing I've added colors to my emotional palette that I didn't have access to before.
My daughter has unleashed a cacophony of hues and every day I look forward to exploring how they will translate in my little work room. More often than not the creations are bold and unapologetic: large fringed earrings and chokers reminiscent of the glorious "mantones" or silk shawls endemic of flamenco and Spanish culture; playful braided wool necklaces that feel as comforting and warm as a hug from my Rose; yarn mosaics with intricate patterns guided by and entrusted to the intuitive wisdom of my hands and how they chose to manipulate the yarn.
I've come to believe that where we end up in a particular moment in life is inevitable. In other words, it may all seem like some random series of events, some good, some bad, but when you look back you realize that they were all leading up to a lesson. The question is, are we able to listen and stay open to the possibilities that are presented to us? Do we go through life projecting an image of who we are to ourselves and others because we've accepted our role in life as being a fixed thing? Or can we show our true colors, the entirety of who we are meant to be at any given time?
To be clear, I don't really know. I just like to ask questions because how else can I process my willingness to welcome such big changes into a world that used to be so orderly and controlled and sure of itself?
Last year before she turned three, my daughter looked up at the evening sky, pointed to the half moon shining bright and exclaimed "moona bobek!" What she was trying to say in her funny confused bilingual speech was in fact "broken moon" She didn't know about the phases of the moon and why it looked the way it did. To her it was simply broken.
That moment was heartbreaking in its sweetness and it will stay with me forever. I think If I had been struck dead that night, my soul would have formed the brightest most spectacular rainbow in the after life.