Hey. Hi. How are you?
It’s been a long time and a lot has changed. I think it’s time for a reintroduction.
I’m Maria. My dearests call me Mia. A few every semester say Mrs. Teicher. One calls me wife, babe, and occasionally through sleep deprivation a forgetful “hey… you!” A newer member of the world calls me “Mama” (kinda, he’s working on it).
I’m a fine art portrait and figurative painter. I’m also a photographer, an educator, and a new(ish) mom. Once upon a time I considered myself a writer too. I’d write about my experiences; working out who I was as an artist along the way. I loved it. It was a release I couldn’t quite do with visual art. As life got busier, I redirected my attentions and left my “pen” in a junk drawer.
About six months ago, I tried to pull it out and attempted to move forward like nothing happened; like I didn’t abandon it for a few years. I thought I’d start with a painting tutorial and perhaps move on to something more personal. Well, that pen had completely dried up. I scribbled, licked the ballpoint, and shook it to hell but no readable ink presented itself.
I waited a bit, gathered my thoughts, and recently bought a new pen. I’ve been practicing how to use it. I’ve been getting used to the way it feels on paper. I’ve been scrawling tiny pieces of ideas I want to talk about (but am scared to). I’m not confident in the process yet but I’m getting there. This reintroduction is a step in the right (write… ha… mom jokes) direction.
For a long time I was Maria: painter, photographer, and young woman, writing and sharing her experiences as an artist. I was seeking success in a world I thought I understood. It was consuming. I wrote about my art practice, tips and techniques, the gallery scene, graduate school, and social media. A majority of this I do not feel equipped to discuss anymore, mostly because I don’t currently find it interesting.
You can’t jump back into something you no longer believe in, and you can’t jump back into someone you no longer are. This has been the strangest, and most beautiful, of lessons to learn.
Deciding to bring a third person into my little family changed more than I can fathom to describe. My “clear” path dissipated quickly upon becoming pregnant. My body, my time, and my heart and head space quickly reprioritized their existences. It happened both consciously and subconsciously. It’s a change of course I am just now beginning to understand.
I can only describe this time as “fog”. I was in a near two-year fog. I was not unhappy in this fog. It was simply a new life. I was in survival mode; simultaneously working to enjoy some of the most beautiful moments I had ever experienced. (Cloudy days DO produce the best light for a poetic image). Some days I sat in the fog, others I skipped. Some days I danced and others I crawled on aimlessly, completely exhausted. Some sunsets I cried, others I laughed. Some sunrises I contemplated what I had done to get here, and others I wept in the joy of a life I never knew I’d love so much. The fog is a complicated place of every emotion you can contemplate having. Some days you have them all at the same time.
There was a framework of the woman I’d become on the other side of this, waiting for me. I had no idea she was even there. I thought the fog was my new normal. I found my way out and stepped into this new structure a few months ago. It was a welcome surprise. The fog is still at my heels as I learn my next chapter, this new body, and how to move forward. It’s one of the most interesting experiences I’ve had. It’s an entire new shift in “being”.
This new framework is strong. The materials are of a timeless quality. It’s stable and it stands tall. My life’s history has been the missing piece to fulfill this structure and give it real breath. As I’m leaving my fog at my heels I feel, for the first time in my life, empowered.
I’m not a “me” I thought I could ever become. I am not a “me” I could have contemplated ever striving to be. I’m better.
Image 1 and 5 by Ashley of Iris and Echo.
Image 2 and 4 by my loving husband Brian.