|Graphic by: Christy Brown|
Some of my friends grew up in a good old fashioned southern home. They had a mom and dad (which they more than likely referred to as mama and daddy,) with a few brothers and sisters, barbeques on the back porch with Lynard Skynard and the Allman Brothers playing on the boom box, grandma bringing over the pound cake and a big Georgia Bulldog flag hanging on the front of the house.
I did not.
Words like set and lighting design, acrylics and charcoal, toe shoes and leotards, ink wells and parchment, and the sounds of the bodhran and violin would float through the halls of my home. You would hear classical music streaming through the stereo on Sunday morning, followed by lunch with couscous or hummus and other oddities gracing our lunch table.
There was a kitchen witch hanging from the ceiling in the kitchen. Dream catchers were bought at festivals. All of the art work had to be done by an actual artist (more than likely my mom.) You weren't allowed to touch the beautiful pens used for calligraphy by my father. I was not allowed to take my dance costumes or shoes out to play in. My sister collected odd musical instruments. I would spend afternoons memorizing my lines from a play, while my other friends went to softball practice. Even what should have been a lazy summer with friends turned into hours in dance classes or theater classes or a writing workshop. I watched from afar as my neighbors ran outside to hang out by the pool and play volleyball.
I still remember coming home one afternoon and finding my sister covered in plaster with straws coming out of her nose, Mom was making masks. I remember stepping over newspapers on the floor; some were wet with paint, with beautiful pictures coming to life on a canvas. When I would walk into some of my friends’ homes, their mom would be baking or watching the soaps or scrubbing the tub.
Needless to say - in a house filled with creativity comes chaos. I say that gently... but honestly. The house was less than organized. My mom loves to live by the mantra "A Clean House is a Sign of Insanity." The bizarre, the different, the cultural, anything against the societal norm was embraced.
With that being said - I fought against it as long as I could. As I grew up and made it through college, I went for a more "normal" vibe. Tried as hard as possible to be more "conservative" and look and act a certain way. I walked away from my more creative past- separated myself from my family and their "way of life" as much as possible.
But when I am shopping, or reading, or thinking - it is all creative chaos. I have since returned to my roots and find that it is so deeply ingrained in me, that I can never be that "societal norm." I think I walk a fine line - safely working in a more "corporate setting" with a sprinkling of creativity. I am drawn to a more bohemian lifestyle, but surrounded by people who would prefer an afternoon of football and nachos.
I have since married a beautiful Egyptian. He's a writer, a lover of English literature, a believer in the power of the pyramids and mystics of the ancient. He loves to be in love and is thrilled to attend theater, art openings, symphonies, and festivals. We read poetry together. He is in touch with his emotions and is not afraid to be sad or thrilled.
He brought "life" back to me.
But at the same time - in his culture - the "wifey" is expected to keep a perfect home. I grew up in creative chaos.
Where can you strike the balance between the two?