Seriously

serious-at-wan

 

Seriously?

I have edited photographs of myself for years, thinking that the ones with my brow furrowed and lips horizontal are far less attractive than the ones with my smile broad. I like to smile, but I also like to be serious.

This is to me one of the first benefits of becoming a woman; you take yourself seriously.

How many times do you hear someone say, “Lighten up!”?

Or exclaim, “Seriously?” when you propose a new idea. Maybe you never hear this in your world. Maybe you are the rare woman for whom ideas land and the world around you accommodates your new path, no matter what impact it has on, say, your family life, or your marriage, or your day job.

 

Seriously, you want to travel to Armenia for three weeks and do what?

Seriously, you are writing a book about canning applesauce?

Seriously, you want to run a what, a poetry film festival? Who will come to that?

Has anyone ever really said to you when you float a bold new idea to them, “Who would want to read that kind of book?” or “Where is Armenia anyway?” You can go ahead and put your hands down now. I get it. We have all heard this at one point in our lives. Much of the world likes it’s women fine, sane, and dependable in the ways we have been depended upon.

Now I am a rare woman perhaps, with a husband, who when I float new ideas past him says things like, “Great! When are you going? Can I go too?” or “Sounds good to me. If it’s good for you, it’s good for all of us.” You can imagine how collaborative this marriage feels, to be with someone who has that kind of acceptance of my wild life.

However I know not everyone is paired with a person like Jonathan.

Or maybe you have a parent, like many women I speak to about their creative practice, who say, “That sounds good but how are you going to make a living? Actresses can’t really pay the rent, can they?” Or “you’d be foolish to go to that school, I’d prefer that you go to this school.” And off you’d go, complying with their small version of you.

So we go off to a school to learn a marketable skill rather than writing the poetry that pours all over your pillow. Or we turn off the light at our writing desk and go back to the sink and do the rest of the dishes, never giving the ideas that bubble forth within us enough time to surface and get on to the page.

If you are sitting on your creative power, squashing it under your rump, then I say, get up and start dancing. Your creative power is what solves those challenges like rent or insurance, along with painting new canvases. When you let your creative juices run within you, they benefit not just the quilts you sew, but your relationships and all problem solving, in every case. Seriously.

 

If the world around you is not taking you seriously than it is highly unlikely that you will take yourself seriously.

And the converse of this is true also, or primarily,

or firstly if you don’t take yourself seriously, then who else will?

 

I now see how owning our story and loving ourselves through that process is the bravest thing that we will ever do. ~ Brené Brown

I take my Rampant Sisterhood seriously. They may be hilarious, but their work is serious and I believe them when they say, “I am dying paper and clothing with all found plants from my garden. Want to see?”

This is one of my aims as a teacher, to witness what I see women creating and support it, fan the flames of their desires, and put new tools in their hands. That is just what I am about to go do in Armenia.

Yup. I leave Friday. This Friday.

And yes, I take my packing seriously. I have been working on it for weeks.

 

Yesterday, I got a boost that I had no idea I needed as much as I did.

Yesterday, WAM Theatre of the Berkshires, who donates 25% of the box office proceeds from every production to a project that benefits women and girls, gave my Armenia project, New Illuminations, $3,500.

 

am-theatre-great-big-check takes me seriously

What does this do for me?

It gives me confidence that I can raise the remaining $5000. No, I don’t love fundraising, but it is easy when I talk about raising the voices of women who live in a very patriarchal society, whose artwork and inner lives are rarely taken seriously. I am going to Armenia to sit with women artists, to listen and talk with them and to take them seriously.

If this is something you crave, find someone in your life, you know who that might be, who you can spin your dreams out in front of, who will take you seriously, not crack jokes about your wild ideas or look for the exit while you go on about a project having to do with mushrooms and the forest floor. Give what you want too. Listen to their wild ideas. Walk in the woods for as long as necessary and hear them. Offer them the words you long to hear like,

“Really? What a great idea. What is your first step?”

or better yet,

“I love this idea. How can I support you in this?”

 

Maybe what you want is time set aside every week where you are not driving the kids to school so you can write, uninterrupted for 3 hours, no matter what appears, illness, a snow day, or a guest.

 

heidi-tag

My friend Heidi sent me this tag today. It goes right in to my Armenia journal that I made with my friend Catherine Anderson’s old ledger paper, with type that an old friend gave me years ago. It all adds up, one person taking you seriously, then another. Layered like a collage.

How can you take yourself seriously?

Buy a better set of drawing pencils?

Start a business, like my pal Smita and Indigo Handlooms, which carries out a mission she takes very seriously? Or Kristen and her co-founder Leigh Strimbeck, who started WAM Theatre. They take women in the arts seriously. And Kristen has carried her vision of double philanthropy further than she ever expected to do.

Or take a writing workshop with the teacher who scares you a little bit, like Katey Schultz or Holly Wren Spaulding?

 

 

 

 

I think our dreams are too small.

I think that being taken seriously is just one way to grow in to the bigger version of yourself that you have been hiding in those old outfits.

I want to hear from you on this because I tell you; I am walking around a different woman today because of WAM Theatre yesterday. Kristen van Ginhoven takes me seriously. She believes in New Illuminations the way I do. Sure, neither of us knows what the outcome will be, but isn’t it worth the effort?

three seriously happy women at WAM Theatre

Here I am with Brooke Mead of the Berkshire Immigrant Center, the other beneficiary, with Kristen van Ginhoven of WAM Theatre.

This is likely my last wordy post for a week or so. I will post photos from Armenia all during my trip, like I did last March. You can follow me here and on Instagram.

Look for the #newilluminations hashtag.

 

And seriously?

I believe in you.

All the way.

 

Love,

 

Suzi

 

PS (Maybe this is why I cannot get rid of the piano my grandma Mimi gave me when I turned 10. She took my dream to play the piano that seriously. Thank you Mimi!) Extra credit for sending a thank you note to the someones who takes you seriously. xoxoxoS

 

 

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Showing 20 comments
  • Ann B.

    Suzi, in the photo above you are shining with Light and Joy. It’s so lovely to see. What a wonderful gift to be able to carry that within yourself to share with others in Armenia. Is it worth the effort to go? Absolutely. By going, your presence will say that these women are worthy. And seriously, I do believe you have just stopped me from making a BIG mistake as the messages I hear at the moment are saying “play safe” and I was going forward with that tomorrow. However, you have opened a door! I will keep you in my thoughts and wish you the Best for your adventure.

    • Suzi

      Oh Ann! Yes. Listen to your big beautiful heart. I send you love all the way around the globe in to your twinkling-with-spring landscape of OZ. All my love and thank you for your blessings. xoS

  • Jennie

    Thank you Suzi! And congratulations! It’s marvelous and heartening to see you and your work honored. Blessings and love on your time in Armenia, and always! This empowered and generous post compels me to proceed… with or without “everyone’s” approval! You. Are. Amazing.

    • Suzi

      Oh thank you too, Jennie. And I am sure after last week you have more tools than you can believe! I am so glad you met Mary at Mohonk. I send you all my best! xoS

  • Janet

    Thank you for taking me seriously (but not all the time). Fly, fly,fly! Eager to follow along via your beeyoootiful photos. Xo

    • Suzi

      Thank you my Janet. Thank you my dear. I know I will see you, but yes, stay tuned and prepare for take off. xoxoxS

  • Darby Gwidsdala

    Suzi, like a weaving, connections are the warp and weft that create something beautiful. May your connections with those who are following your dream give you joy and strength and a greater creative spirit than you have ever experienced…or thought was possible as you set out for Armenia. You go girl! Auf wiedersehen.

    • Suzi

      Thank you Darby. You are a great gift of this year, surfacing in my life, just when you did. I send you love and blessings on your days, your writing, and that project of yours! xoS

  • Diane

    Peace and blessings to you as you travel to Armenia. Your possibilities are endless and they are so lucky to have you in their midst. I know you will touch every life you encounter.

    • Suzi

      Thank you Diane! I accept your blessings and carry them in my heart. xoS

  • James Lawrence

    Awesome achievement Suzi! I wish you a wonderful experience in Armenia. Tomma and I send you love, big hugs and expansive wishes.

    Jimmy

    • Suzi

      Thank you Jimmy! Sending love right back to you and Tommasita. So happy to have your eyes here. xoS

  • Karen Arp-Sandel

    Congratulations, blessings and safe travels!! You did it… and seriously, you ARE doing it! Always the Trail Blazer, I am happy to ride your apron strings for this trip via instagram and whatever else you post. I know you are bringing so much authenticity to your endeavor that it will be nothing short of magnificent… just like you!

    Love by the bucketful, Karen

    • Suzi

      Thank you HeARTner. I travel with you in my books and in my heart. All my love to you and your gatherings! xoxoS

  • Nancy Moon

    Have a wonderful trip, this blog post really make me think, are my dreams too small? You are really doing this, 3 weeks in Armenia. You have created such a wonderful initiative, brava! xxx Nancy Moon

    • Suzi

      Thank you Moon. You have a big part in this, your encouragement and adventures. I wonder what the next size up on you is? I cannot wait to see. xoS

  • Evelyn Asher

    You have given me larger than life dreams to continue my art, to frame and share, to dream bigger with my grandchildren, with the kindergarten children I mentor. Thursday I will share your trip to Armenia with a group of disabled adults with whom when I facilitate a writing and art class – we will have a geography and history lesson, pray for you and the women artists in your project. Thank you for your constant encouragement, by example. Safe travels.

  • Barb Buckner Suarez

    FRIDAY!!!!! I am thinking of you and holding you in my heart for the next 3 weeks and 3 days! I am so thrilled for you and this project. I can’t wait to witness all the ways this work will open new pathways for you and the women artists you work with. So happy for you SBB!

  • Brece

    BRAVA, Suzi! Such a pleasure watching this part of your Armenia project unfold. As always you inspire–to reach higher, further, be better and GO!!

    Will be watching you from afar as you and collaborators bring new light to Armenia.

    xo
    Brece

  • Brenna Layne

    Yay, Suzi! Seriously, you are amazing. And inspiring. Thank you for your words, your work, and your brave beautiful example. Bon voyage!