I wrote Shaping Destiny 10 years ago and couldn’t finish it. I was too close. Now, I think its time to get it into the world. Here’s a sample. Let me know what you think:
Night was when my lack of voice was most apparent. It was then, during silent moments void of chaos, that I realized I did not know myself. I could not speak or write. My desire to give form to my ideas of love and marriage caused me to gift my very essence to a man before I even knew what it was. Imprisoned by my choice, I couldn’t breathe. My husband and I were fighting. He was in one room studying for a promotion he didn’t want and I was in another trying to write. But I was unable to express the picture in my mind. A lump of clay was on my desk, a crude reminder of my chaotic day with my children. It was soft, Plasticine clay for children and hobbyists. Taking it in my hands, I made a tiny figurine of a grotesquely pregnant woman. She was disproportionate. Her arched back barely compensated for the hard, swollen mass that was her belly. I folded her legs in a sitting position and wrapped long, worm-like arms underneath her stomach so I would not have to model tiny hands. The figure had holes for eyes and a mask for a face. I could not make her hair look natural, so I crowned her with a wreath and she became regal in spite of the fact that she was only five inches tall. She reminded me of my own pregnancy. She was not glowing or holy but appeared tired, resigned. Her face looked up, away from her baby, and her gaze was direct, not dreamy. I knew that she would endure this pregnancy and not get lost in motherhood as I had. She would keep her identity intact, even as her shape shifted and grew.
I rolled the sticky, brown clay between my fingers, feverishly smoothing and pressing little pieces onto the form. I forgot about my husband in the other room, forgot about the children sleeping above me, forgot that my desk needed to be clean and that the wood beneath my feet required care. The only thing that mattered was the clay before me because in it, I felt a hunger for something more than I had known.
The creation of that first sculpture was cathartic. It was the first time I had asked about roles, about being female, about the conflict between what I was expected to be, feel, and do, and what I wanted to be, feel, and do. It opened the door to who I am instead of who I would become, but I didn’t recognize the opening. I only knew that I was dissatisfied, that I needed more time and more clay.
For a year, between diaper changes and trips to the park, building Lego towers and singing children to sleep, money struggles, and sex that never went deep or far enough, I made tiny women — women that were in the throws of orgasm and giving birth. They were the symbols of all the things I was supposed to be because they were graceful and small, pregnant or submissive. They were terrible sculptures but they taught me how to give to myself….
This is only the first bit of the chapter. I want to know if you want to keep reading and would appreciate your thoughts. Thanks.