Please enjoy this transcript from Stop Killing Mothers in 2022 (and beyond)!
In this episode, I talk about my intention for 2022, a call to stop killing mothers, I use books as a type of tarot reading for you, give a review of the new Maggie Gyllenhall film, talk about being a complicated mother, and more.
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This is Unbridled Expression and I’m your host Kymberlee della Luce. Every Wednesday, we talk about art, culture, creativity, and whatever else we’re curious about. Thanks for listening and if you like it please do subscribe and share.
Hey everyone welcome to 2022. I’ve decided to make this year about being known by myself and others in my chromatic splendor in all of me all the parts all the beauty all the…well maybe the all the not so beautiful. In all of it. Join me if you like! Yeah okay, to that end i’ll start with this poem that I wrote in 2010 called “Sometimes”:
Sometimes I want to go back to being little.
Sometimes I regret too many things.
Sometimes I want to lick everything.
Sometimes I don’t know who I really am.
Sometimes I don’t give a fuck.
Sometimes it isn’t easy for me to be honest about my truest feelings. (Sometimes)
Sometimes I am in awe of everything.
Sometimes I protect myself in destructive ways.
Sometimes I feel so very lost. (Sometimes)
Sometimes I amaze myself.
Sometimes I kick ass.
Sometimes I eat the dawn.
Sometimes I like my own reflection. (Sometimes)
Sometimes I get tired of being “Spiritual” and just want to be real.
I used that poem to open my one-person show, Unbrilded, back in 2012 and on some level it continues to inform my life and my work. I continue to peel back the layers of social conditioning and trauma in my life to reveal my core being to get more real.
I love this quote from Francis Bacon that I recently ran across he says, “For whatever deserves to exist deserves also to be known for knowledge is the image of existence and things mean and splendid exist alike.”
It’s often difficult to be real as a woman in this world because the roles we’ve been given try to define us in such narrow ways and when we attempt to step outside of those definitions we can be treated in punishing ways or you know, just ignored entirely. I remember when I first got married I asked my dad not to write my name as mrs (insert husband’s name). I told him I have a name he ignored me and continued his bullshit, like he did and you know I’ve since realized that I’m not the only one in the you know world of women who has received this kind of disrespect. It’s like it’s just expected of us to you know go along to to walk that line, to to do the things our ancestors did, to do things society says we should do. And this wasn’t the 50s you know this was the late 80s when that happened and it was just so dehumanizing and frustrating to not have myself be acknowledged and you know.
I deserve to be known as I am and so do you so do we all all the parts not just the sweet and devoted parts, not just the parts that please others, not just the way that people see us through their projections, but who we are at our core. So as an intuitive, I often will like open a book at a random page to see what wisdom is there for me and that’s true whether I’m doing art or you know piece of writing uh I did that I’ve done that for shows I’ve written where I just sort of drew a card to see what what wisdom was coming from them and a drew a card um or opened to a book to see what was coming. And I did that this morning for this show I turned to page 107 in the most excellent book The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel van Der Kolk (I think that’s how you say that). At the top of the page there’s a quote by Diana Fosha that says, “The roots of resilience…are to be found in the sense of being understood by and existing in the mind and heart of a loving attuned and self-possessed other.”
I find that very affirming for everything I want to say and be this year and beyond. Part of my life purpose is to be that loving attuned other. Being self-possessed though, wow! that’s a journey for sure and you know it has required dodging the projections of others it probably still will it it’s also required a robust reflective practice I remember back in college one of my beloved professors said that I— something along the lines of “your ability to self-reflect is awe-inspiring Kymberlee”. I think that could be true but I think it’s also true that it’s easy to get buried under self-reflection so it’s kind of a yes, and you know so here we are doing it together I also opened my well-worn and beloved book,
I also opened my well-worn and beloved book, “Women Who Run with the Wolves” this morning by Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes and I just pulled it to a random page in page 173 at the top of the page there’s a heading that says THE AMBIVALENT MOTHER. I glanced down the page to something that I had underlined oh so long ago when I was a young and new mother. It says, “It is not uncommon in punitive cultures for women to be torn between being accepted by the ruling class (her village) and loving her child, be it a symbolic child, creative child, or biological child. This is an old, old story.”
And I just have to say oh the truth of this you know I’ve always felt like motherhood was an ill-fitting garment I didn’t ever like dream of being a mother like some people did by the way my children know this we’ve talked a lot about it um and everything’s cool so um I never dreamed of being a mother I just I sort of acquiesced I was like, “Yeah okay let’s let’s have a baby,” and you know we did and then we had another one, and you know what I am so glad that I did! I really am but that doesn’t mean it’s been easy right because in this culture it can often feel like a straight jacket it’s not the motherhood itself I mean sometimes but mostly it’s the way all the expectations can feel so smothering and the way that most of what we do on the daily is not seen, compensated, sort of acknowledged—it’s just something that we’re doing—and it can be in this culture, it can be incredibly isolating to be a mother at a home with a child. There’s a great book that I read way back in the day that talked about being a hot house mother and how harmful that is to the psyches of women and also to our children. It it really is not a like a tenable uh situation and yet it’s it gets perpetuated because of all these rules and roles that we’re talking about.
Also true in a gobsmacking number of films the mother in the story is dead or dies in the film to move the story forward for the main character. Excuse me! But our personhood doesn’t end when we become mothers. I find that infuriating and it’s just, we see it in, you know, in in my family we talk about this and we’re we’ve begun to realize that it just happens over and over and over again. And you know what? Do better storytellers! Do better! And we can do better if we have more women telling stories, right? If we have more women telling stories about women. Not women telling stories about men, women telling stories about their own lives or stories of other women—especially mothers—I’m just gonna put a little plug in there [laughs]
It was heartening and frankly painful to watch the film The Lost Daughter by Maggie Gyllenhaal this past weekend. I watched it with my own daughter, Alexandra, it’s a beautiful and honest telling of one woman who found the conflict between motherhood and maintaining a sense of self difficult to manage to traverse in her life. I won’t say more because I’d rather you watched it. I can say it veers off the path of the “dutiful mother” trope and I couldn’t be happier to see that . We need so many more stories of complicated women and what we face. I would say this is especially true for mothers. It’s a gift to show all the parts of ourselves to our children so they can explore all the parts of themselves. We do everyone a disservice when we hide ourselves away so let’s stop that. Let’s stop hiding. Let’s stop asking other people to hide. It’s just not necessary. You know, through my art and just showing up as authentically as I can every day, I’ve allowed my children to witness my whole self as much as I can. My daughter made me a playlist as a holiday gift and I’m not sure I’ve ever felt so seen and understood as I did when I listened to it. I cried a river of tears. On it, there is a song called “Get it girl, You go” that really uplifted my spirits and it’s so fabulous. I’m gonna link it in the show notes so you can listen to it if you want. I recommend, especially as you explore all those different parts of yourself right? Like, get it! Go get it! Go do the thing and you know, this podcast isn’t just for women, it’s not just for mothers, it’s for anybody who feels like they can’t or, you know, it’s for anybody who feels like they aren’t being seen or understood like they want to explore their own expression and they want to, you know, see and understand how art is shaping us, and how we can shape art, and how we can shape our own lives. So if that’s you I hope that uh this is speaking to you. I also hope you’ll join me in being unbridled in 2022 and beyond. Hit me up on Twitter at @kdellaluce or leave a comment on my blog.
I would love to hear what parts of yourself you’re letting out to play right now or that you want to let out to play. I would love to hear. I would also love to hear if there are any books or movies that have, you know, interesting characters that you think I should explore always up for more more of that so thank you for being here thank you for listening and until next time…
Unbridled Expression with Kymberlee della Luce is designed to stimulate and entertain you. Chocked full of thoughts, stories, questions, and advice on topics including everything from creativity, culture and relationships to the experience of being an unbridled woman and artist, it’s intimate, raw, and decidedly unbridled. New episodes every Wednesday (because, Mercury). Kymberlee truly hopes it ends up on your Spotify wrapped as your favorite podcast. Feel to reach out to her on Twitter or drop a comment below. To listen to any of the past episodes for free, visit this page.