Today’s randomly-chosen word is Artemisia as in the Warrior Queen and comes from The Daring Book for Girls by Andrea J. Buchanan and Miriam Peskowitz. I really love that my finger landed on this name rather than a more mundane word because I love her story! In fact, I might weave her story into the play I’m writing with my daughter. This has been the biggest gift of the Bricolage Project thus far: Not only allowing me to stretch creatively but also helping me see how my gifts, interests, and the mysterious synchronicities in life are woven together, how they inform one another.
Today’s post is informed by writing this at 1:30 this morning:
I awakened from a dream. No, I was the dream. I awakened with blood between my legs but didn’t want to get up. I wanted to feel it there. This could be my last blood. It has been three months since my last. I want to cherish it. Put it in a cup. Paint with it. Feel its stickiness on my fingers. Smell it.
So I drifted back to sleep and began to hear their voices. The voice of an artist I know talking about women who are losing their lives and having their fertility taken from them shortly after their first blood. She was like a wraith in my dream. Haunting but not unwelcome.
In my dream I go upstairs and encounter a woman who was coming out of our bathroom. I know her from work and she talks about how important it is that we talk about all of it as women—all of our bodily functions including our bleeding time. That we need to be acknowledged for our earthiness.
I know this is in response to him saying he thinks women should hide things like farts and burps, that’s it’s not “feminine”. Fuck that noise. I’m not interesting in hiding parts of myself.
I woke up again a few hours later with more blood pooled underneath me. Yes, I’m writing about this because it’s a beautiful part of my life and my heritage and I truly will miss it when it’s gone. Maybe it’s shameless. Maybe I don’t care.
Shame is pretty overrated.
When I ended up choosing the word Artemisia this morning and reading about her I thought about how it must have been for her, a warrior queen, to be commanding a ship. Her fierce heart but soft body with a moon cycle to deal with. Did she also wake up in a pool of blood? How did she handle it? I feel so connected to women and to the earth when I’m bleeding and, as my therapist pointed out this afternoon, it’s also a beautiful reminder of the gift of giving birth to two beautiful children.
This piece is an assemblage that uses a page from a sketchbook that I created in Larry Calkins’ class at Pratt several years ago and some more recent items including a perfect crow feather I found while walking to therapy today and this morning’s fresh blood.
Today’s quote comes from Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estés from her audiobook Seeing in the Dark. I was listening to it in the quiet of the morning today and realized it contains the intention of this piece and the entire Bricolage Project quite well:
“For most artists, they do create out of angst but they don’t sit in the complaint and the condemnation. They create their way of out if they draw it, they paint it, they write it about it, they dance it, they sculpt it, they do any number of things to express what has happened…so that others will be protected and healed also. That is one of the greatest ideas that I know behind the creative force is that you use every disappointment…everything is used to create from. Taking all that is in shadow or the feelings that we don’t belong.
Of course we belong. Of course we can create out of darkness.”
Yes we do and yes we can.