Raw and Rainbow

I am leather. I am impenetrable. I am a bear that will knock down the hunter with one mighty swing of my paw.

But I am raw. 

Being a mother has warmed and worn my skin to expose my nerve endings, they hum and vibrate constantly, tickling the pools behind my eyes and making them spill over. My chest is tight in its openness. My heart resides in my toes, in my belly, in my throat, and in the soft puff of air that surrounds me. Jostle the air and my heart moves with it, like a leaf on a current, or a comment on a Facebook post.

I want to pull myself out of the social media reeds, it's murky beneath the water there and I can't see clearly the space around me. My feet are sticky in its mud, this swamp of other mothers and fathers who sluff off their anxieties and judgments into a shared space, who dwell beyond their soft puff of air and prod fiercely at others, perhaps not realizing that by doing so they're prodding at a warm and human heart. But it's also in these reeds that I hear a whistling wind, a familiar push of story and experience and connective emotion, a wind that blows through my soft puff of air and connects me with the air of others. It's in these reeds, feet sticky and stuck in the competitive quagmire beneath me, that my leathery hide meets public hiding place. And though I refuse to be sucked under, I'm afraid of what's beyond the reeds, what's above it. What if the only soft puff of air out there is my own?

I used to be the color yellow, shining bright and created from nothing except light itself. I couldn't be dimmed. I wouldn't cry. I didn't know myself but I knew the palette from which I was painted, pliable mounds of acrylic in varying shades of sunshine. As a mother I want to be the color rainbow, yes it's one color, just ask my 6 year old. She'll tell you a rainbow is the most elegant of dreams, the most aspirational answer to the question "Who do you want to be when you grow up?" She wants to be a rainbow, of course. And I tell her that truly it is the most beautiful thing you can be, with a far more interesting palette than any single hue. From the calmest of blues to the most haunting of purples, from bleeding heart reds to pained pastels, there is every degree of light and love and hurt and grief and doubt and humor. But being the color rainbow will require sunshine, and it will require rain. You can't be the color rainbow if you live in the murky bottom where popularity presides over kindness. You can't be the color rainbow if you're stuck among the reeds, no matter how safe it might feel. You can't be the color rainbow if you seek permanence and safety.

You have to be raw. Be exposed. Be vulnerable to the rain and the sun in equal measure. 

I'm taking a break from engaging on Facebook. I'll be here for work, but my personal time will be somewhere that's filled with sun and rain and clouds. I'd love it if you'd come engage with me on Instagram, on email, over the phone, or best yet, stop by my house and have some wine while we make any kind of art at all. 



Comments

This is a great post! It's nice to have self reflection and share it on a public space, it gives you more accountability. Thanks for sharing.
Beautiful, Kelli. After reading this a couple of times, I fell into something of a self-involved funk about the state of my own writing these days. Which means you made me think. Thank you.
Powerful and beautiful. I wish for t all the colors of the rainbow, even the ones we cannot see but can feel with our souls.
Thank you all. It's good to remember why you do the things that you love, and not be clouded with the reasons that other people do them.
Really love this, especially taking a break from social media on occasion!
Leslie said…
Popularity presiding over kindness... This is lovely. Here's to emerging from the murk!
Monica Louie said…
What a powerful message! Thank you for sharing!
Create/Enjoy said…
Social media can be so draining sometimes. I think a break from it is a great idea!
Jenni Bost said…
This was beautifully written. I've been having a difficult time with social media lately and it has just been bombarding me with negativity a lot of the time. I work in social media full time so I can't give it up right now, but I have cut back my personal time on it a lot because I just can't take it anymore. I am sure a break will do you good. Good luck!
Jenni, I hear you. I work in social media full time as well, so it's difficult to remove the personal from the business (and the networking on behalf of business, which definitely overlaps with personal). We're in an era of content-overload, we have to step back from time to time or we might overflow! :)
Kristi Does PDX said…
Social media wonderful at times and terrible during others. I admire your decision to take a break so you can shine. :-)

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