Essential Bohemian Development

song du jour: Agua de Beber, Seks Bomba

mood: :-) ;-)

About 6 weeks ago, I had a profound epiphany of life changing proportions all beginning with the color red. I was sitting on a red velvet settee in a huge red room with red lanterns and red beaded lampshades, and a multitude of other Victorian bordello turned shabby passionate funky accessories while swaying slightly to the strains of old and new tango music and wondering if I should dance with the guy next to me, who was obviously working up the courage to ask me. (He did; I did, and it was fun.) The event was an Argentine tango milonga and the space was Atlanta's own Moulin Rouge, the antique urban warehouse-chic event space in the back of Paris on Ponce, a furniture and design store that looks like one just fell into late 19th/early 20th century Paris. - Hide my credit cards, please.

My revelation began with the memory that I'd always wanted yet never dared to have a red nouveau/deco bordelloesque living room and further inquiry into why on Earth I thought I should have one somewhat 'normal' room in my house and so painted mine cream led to the realization that despite my seemingly over the top bohemian lifestyle, I've caved to convention in myriad covert ways that are silently strangling my creativity. Yes, deep inside my psyche there is a tiny tyrant of a space in which it seems I care what people think, and there lurk the fears of ever having to put my house on the market, admitting that I'm not happy in long term monogamous relationships, and obsessing over whether dressing more like Stevie Nicks would make me look fat.

In that moment of crimson bliss I decided that I would fully embrace all my bohemian tendencies and push or follow them wherever they might go. In geeky integral-speak or even Howard Gardner terms, I must further develop my bohemian line of intelligence, the declaration of which tonight made my friend and fellow Atlanta Integral Salon buddy, George, laugh until he was literally red in the face. I explained that to anyone looking in from the outside, especially my 9-5 friends, I know I look like a highly evolved gypsy, albeit one with a mortgage and a Volvo sedan (at least it's not a wagon), yet I've had to admit that the voices of sequence and order perpetually threaten to squelch some of my better ideas when intuition and faith in the long time success of my unconventionality should propel my ideas through the very primordial creative chaos that has produced the best of my work. "THAT RIGHT THERE!" declared my friend, Chris, "is the artist impulse!!!" (George was still laughing.)

So I bet you're asking what's in the bohemian line of development anyway? Well, if I were to get geeky, I'd say that it's really a bundle of lines with aesthetics and sensuality being "necessary but not sufficient." There's a whole lot of flow states and being in the moment, and a willingness to dance where the winds might take me. It's also, funnily enough, a whole lot of digging into my own shadow and looking at why I make the choices that are less than satisfying and fulfilling. Life is a bit too short not to experiment and embrace that some things don't have right and wrong answers. Things like living rooms can be painted over, even when they are red, so I will throw my head back and laugh instead of perpetually stressing if I am making the "right" moves. My choices seem to be going the rest of the way and embracing the life which I've spent my adult years carving out, or full blown mid life crisis, which is the inevitable result of attempting to keep any lid on and the risks relatively low.

There are millions of things in life I have dreamt of trying like tango and basket weaving, and I am discovering that if I'm creative, I can I fit them in like taking a homeschooling basket weaving class with Skyler during the time I spend with him and enjoying his learning as much as my own. After 5 years of mine being the only name on the title of my house, I don't need to sequester my avocation to one room. The torch and steel stakes might still need to be in one room to be used in the quiet of my third shift working life, but the wool I just dyed to learn to spin can be all over the dining room table as long as there's still room at the other end for the laundry I've given up folding, and I can learn to spin while Skyler builds his latest complex wooden train systems in that time/space I used to spend doing dishes. I've never heard of anyone lying on her deathbed, wishing she had done more housework.

But you haven't read this far to hear about my dishes. It's a sad yet freeing realization to accept that bohemianism is inherent freedom within an ever morphing sense of community and that to dance where the winds might lead means doing a lot of solos. It seems utterly impossible to be the woman in a serious relationship and preserve the autonomy essential to living and working the creative life. As one homeschooling mother of 3 said, "I couldn't finish anything because my husband was off work all last week, and so I didn't have a moment to myself." Without thinking, I blurted out, "That's why I'm single!" It's enough having one great guy in my life, who thinks it perfectly reasonable that I should drop whatever I'm doing when he has a need that must be met, but he's 7, and he's why I work nights. Still, development of the bohemian is antithetical to monasticism, and every artist gets a night off once in a while. Hence tango.

My living room isn't red yet, but knowing that it can and likely will be is liberating. (The room in its cream state and lacking much furniture besides my grand piano currently serves as the storage space for the dwindling cartons of Russian Filigree DVD's.) The crimson chip from the no solvent paint company is posted at the bottom of the list of work I need to finish for a new gallery. Tomorrow is egg dying day in preparation for Skyler to wear his fuzzy purple bunny ears, and fling plastic eggs out of a basket while doing his impression of his ultimate hero, Snoopy's, Easter Beagle dance, and Friday we hang with the unschoolers, when I will alternate playing with the kids and hiding out in the shade weaving another basket. In between, during the hours "normal people" sleep, I will slave away on the many projects with upcoming deadlines and know that the carefully planned yet highly unconventional structure of my life serves to hold space for all I am and all the fulfillment I can stand. Remind me to take my velvet and silk shawls to the all natural dry cleaners.

No comments: