The awakening occurred at 1:27am with the pterodactyl-cry only uttered by toddlers. It continued around 2am when said pterodactyl joined weary moms in bed. Stinging tears splattered pillows with a swift headbutt to my nose, later accompanied by footied talons jabbing my ribcage as this tiny person became the human crossbar of a giant “H,” vertical moms arching precariously on either edge of the overstuffed bed. 5:30am came all too soon as both children arose, crows louder than any rooster, tired moms stretching their aching backs. Navigating this whole feminist parenting thing is complicated, y’all. As an artist, author, activist, and academic, I thought I had a handle on my identity and vocation; now I feel like motherhood is the only moniker defining my exhausted reality.
I was recently given the opportunity to speak at a conference for artists, academics, and activists, the so-called spiritual weirdos who think and create and do at the intersections of art, scholarship, spirituality, and social justice. It was enlivening and inspiring. What struck me, though, were the asides that often occurred when anyone asked whether I had children, and if so, what ages. Throughout my travels and during the conference, the consistent reaction upon sharing that I’m a mother of a two and five-year-old was, “Woah. You’re in the thick of it.” “Don’t worry. It gets easier.” “This, too, shall pass.” Rarely have I felt so validated. Continue reading “Embracing Lost Vocation: Painting Mother Goddess by Angela Yarber”
I recently told my 4-year-old son the following, “son, I pray you fall in love with someone you call your best friend. I pray you both never cross the line and say mean and terrible things to each other, I pray you are not constantly apologizing for your bad behavior, I pray you will complement and enhance each other’s best qualities, and lastly, I really hope you fall in love with a teacher!”
A teacher? Of course, a teacher! I have always loved my teachers growing up. I never had one bad teacher. Teachers are caregivers and authority figures children experience separate from their own parents. Each teacher brings his or her unique love of learning and educating to the students. I was influenced so much by the vibe of teachers. And in the journey to my “career,” I became one myself….a yoga teacher.
A yoga teacher? Yes, a yoga teacher, which eventually led me to coming a ballet barre instructor. This all happened when, after a tedious and challenging few years of getting myself through law school, I rewarded myself with an entire summer off to become certified to teach yoga. Yoga got me through sticky times in my young adulthood, from soured relationships, to poor scores on my legal exams. It also kept my feet on the ground when I was flying high, whether from planning my wedding or completing my studies. Yoga was the antidote in my life. I cherished not requiring medication for all the different feelings I’ve had throughout my adult life; whether it was anxiety, depression, loss of focus, too much energy, or the run of the mill aches and pains, I always turned to yoga. The feeling of stretching and flushing out toxins, negative energy, frustration, while building strength and teaching myself how to breath, were all things I wanted to learn in more depth and, eventually, to teach. Continue reading “Teachers by Valentina Khan”