In all of this, 2016 was also the year I became a parent. Almost two weeks after he was due, I gave birth to my first child in early March. He is a healthy, vibrant, beautiful boy; he cracked me open, physically and emotionally, and I emerged a bigger, better person, and a more committed artist. He is also a terrible, terrible sleeper. All of the accomplishments I listed above were worked on in stolen moments when it would have been kinder to my body to sleep. Because my husband has a less flexible career, and because we can't afford childcare, my time to work is now nights & weekends when he is home to take Alpha Parenting duties. The few hours of sleep I do get are frequently interrupted even now, almost 10 months into parenthood. It's no mistake that sleep deprivation is listed as torture by the Geneva Convention; I have been suffering from increasingly frequent panic attacks and darkening depression in recent months. Making the kind of art I aspire to make requires a deep & open engagement, and all of my resources are spent right now holding my own threads together. It has been a very difficult winter.
Yet: when I look back on the year, it is with no small sense of awe and gratitude. Because of the grace and generosity of friends babysitting, I was able to finish "Burrow" in the hazy raw first 6 months of my child's life; my infant and my partner got to watch me perform it surrounded by artists I admire in a space next to an Ellsworth Kelly painting, which is a moment that will stay with me for the rest of my life. Doing the hard work of making art, doing the hard work of opening up to our friends and neighbors, creating interdependent networks of meaning-making, is a privilege and a necessity in dark times. 2016 has been dark, and we don't know what 2017 will offer. But in spite of the darkness (/because of the darkness), I am committing to digging in deep and moving forward (in the work that I make, in my friendships, for my family, for my community, for my son) with arms/eyes open. This is unsatisfyingly vague (especially as a person who thrives on bullet-pointed lists), but earnestly meant.
See you in 2017.