I think masculinity is bravado against the mystery of the universe of women. It's just a fear of not knowing what women have that's so powerful. It's this shield they put up to try to get closer.
A woman I have never met, whose face (in entirety) I have never seen, who lives in a place I have never traveled to, just sent me a box.
When she contacted me to ask if she could do such a thing, I told her, "No anthrax. No firebombs."
She sent pointy vintage brassieres instead.
And a pair of stockings with seams up the back and the cardboard tag still fastened.
Textiles with the scent of storage and story and life.
My girl and I, we opened the box. Tried some things on.
Of course, the 9-year-old boys spied on us through the window.
And were caught.
This glimpse of what's to come is nothing any boy could understand, whether or not he sees it with his own eyes. It is the mystery of womanhood and of women -- past, present, future -- of their bodies and lives, their ideals of beauty and hopes, their attempts to save the very best for some occasion that never comes. Tags still intact.
It may have been one of the purest moments I have ever spent with my girl.
I don't know what I will do with these items. Maybe something, maybe nothing. But when my child tests me and pushes me and fights me and when we hurt each other unintentionally, I will conjure this afternoon -- the day before first grade -- and open the box again. I will not be authority in that moment, she will not be tyrant. Our teeth will not be bared. We'll stop saving the best of each other for some special time and instead, be our best right then. Neither one of us will wield power; to move toward the unknown with another person is the ultimate equalizer.
So, thank you, dear friend from far away. I know you thought you were sending items to a person who may find them useful. And I may. But the greater gift for me was an Alaskan afternoon in the waning days of summer, answering questions, asking questions and holding time in my hands before it skips away.
If any of you are on Pinterest, this is where I "met" Lee Ann Walker, the woman who sent this box of mystery. I mention it here because if you are interested in textile art, not only is she a talented creator, but she has one of the most curated sets of Pinterest boards I've ever seen, all organized by textile artist. It's an amazing resource.
She, however, probably doesn't have anymore pointy bras to spare. So don't ask her about those.
Artist in Anchorage, Alaska, sometimes blogging about the collision of history, family & art, with the understanding that none exists without the other.