You’re born, you go to school, you are single for a while, you get married and then you have a child…those are the basic personal milestones. The big days are graduations, weddings and child births…but we live so many more varied chapters than that in a lifetime. I like to them call them multiple renaissances. Renaissance means rebirth, as I am sure you know. I was always inspired by the Italians who after millenniums of darkness, found enlightenment, and from that stemmed incredible creativity.
My daughter started daycare full-time and I don’t have a day job to go back to. My priorities have completely shifted in part because of motherhood, and in part because of quarantine. I have spent 16 months in survival mode wearing leggings and showering let’s say – sparingly. Who am I now? Do moms get to ask that question out loud? I’m pretty sure we all ask it. We all ask it at every decade switch, or after any big personal change. I am asking it again now.
Trying to become a mom was my focus for 8 years and then once I did, I think it took me a year to adjust. Truth be told, I’m still adjusting, and will continue to. You have to say good-bye to yourself, to the world and everything you thought you knew about both. At least, that was my experience. Now, I have to/get to rejoin the working class and figure out what place I want in it, and what’s available during COVID-19. The world has completely changed. What matters now?
I decided to mark this new part of my life with a photo shoot because a) I was inspired by this self-portrait and b) I need some creativity, freedom of expression, glamour and levity. In a random act of kindness, TV & Radio personality (and friend) Mitsou offered to let me borrow some clothes to wear out to celebrate my birthday. Unfortunately, Montreal shut down, again. I was practically all dressed up with nowhere to go. I wasn’t going to let the clothes just hang there!
I gathered some beautiful images from Pinterest that inspired me and made an aspirational folder.
Then I enlisted the talent of my dear friend and photographer Sewze who always makes me smile. This photo shoot was a fun way for us to spend time together safely and harness the creative collective.
On the day of, I curled my hair and did full on make-up. It felt meditative to take that kind of time with my hair. It had been so long. Playing with make-up felt like meeting up with an old friend that I hadn’t seen in a very long time for coffee. It had been a while, but it was sooooo good.
Putting on Mitsou’s clothes, I felt like someone else. I felt like I was walking in her shoes – or clothes, literally, and I felt lucky. It’s a nice feeling that I am happy we captured. How very fitting that the name of the dress I borrowed is literally called Happy.
We took 30 minutes to shoot on a rainy Monday. When the sun came out, it felt like the sky was opening and saying – Yes, go for it Queen! Express yourself. Have fun. It’s ok to let go of worry for a minute.
I channeled my inner Stevie Nicks, Drew Barrymore, Marilyn, Cindy, Julia – you name it. All the women I admired when I was a dreaming teenager. But mostly, I just conjured that part of myself that is carefree, and it felt really good.
I don’t know what this next renaissance holds for me, or for any of us, but I hope that after all of this darkness we find the light, and take the space for levity, creativity and find a new self we love and take care of her.
Romper: Custom-made for Mitsou
Photographer: Suzanne Bateman