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no room for hipsters

the occupation of Ashley and Levon

Tag Archives: marriage

[ from a. addair who is listening to Empire of the Sun (Walking on a Dream) ]

The following is an excerpt from an entry I wrote about 6 weeks ago but never got around to posting:

“That’s the big news.  We’re tickled pink or blue.  I’m feeling so excited, happy, awestruck, grateful, full of love and totally unprepared with panicky moments sliding into every 100 breaths.  It feels similar to the way we fumbled through our engagement: really joyful but slightly disturbed because I knew we we’re walking into a dramatic reworking of life in utter idiocy and delight.

the apple of my eye (twas a good thing to get married even if it didn't make sense)

There are a zillion things to be afraid about and excited for.  My mind jumps straight to my future engorged body, then to wondering how I will paint, then to a pair of sweet little baby boots this embryo has already acquired;  then I  wonder how close the baby will be born to Christmas and  fret over folic acid intake.  In short, I can’t focus on anything.”

We are now at 11 weeks and our little embryo has graduated to a fetus.  The part where I can’t focus on anything remains though now it isn’t so much giddy fun for me.  Between the bouts of nausea and fatigue I’m pretty well missing my old energy.

Turns out being pregnant has taken me deeper into my let-it-go training.  I think I was making good progress before, but when your body tells you to stop, you really have to listen; it’s such a basic reminder that life is much bigger than my agenda.   I’ve had to slow way way down and be much more flexible and gentle with myself than I had ever imagined I could be.

the sort of things I've been working on (since painting makes me nauseous)

I recently started reading The Rise of the Creative Class by Richard Florida, in it he says that members of the creative class, “work at times when we are supposed to be off and play when we are supposed to be working.  This is because creativity cannot be switched on and off at predetermined times, and is itself an odd mixture of work and play.  Writing a book, producing a work of art or developing new software requires long periods of intense concentration, punctuated by the need to relax, incubate ideas and recharge.”  I love to read someone else’s articulate expression which has only been a misty idea-vapor in my own brain.  Seeing it there on a crisp, published page gives clarity and a sense of validation to the thought process I’ve been swimming in.  Florida’s statement gave me peace about departing from an imposed daily work structure.

baby banner for someone else's tiny human addition (detail)

I know that the life I’ve chosen doesn’t have tidy, defined compartments.  And I’m already beginning to understand that having a tiny human addition will make the lines between work, leisure, family and craft even blurrier.

tiny human addition

 

I don’t have a conclusion.  I’m still splashing around in murky waters but I can report growth:  both in girth and in spirit.  I don’t think its accurate to say that I’m swimming in this metaphorical ocean but I am learning to float on my back which is mostly about trust.

 

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[ from a. addair who is listening to Sondre Lerche (Faces Down) ]

Things I was thinking about as I made this painting:

celebration flag banners

“this is the beginning of a parade”

surrendering to the story

miracles and magic

flowers

whimsy

unpredictability

simple delights and surprises

fun!

interlaced plum trees

roots

foundation

hope and community

life and color

Many of the words on this list came from the wedding inspiration list which I thought was beautiful and delightfully imaginative.  It was so fun get creative with you.   Thank you for the opportunity.

I loved your vision for the ceremony, it allowed me to engage in thinking about marriage in some fresh ways.  Through the painting, I wanted to honor the unique particulars of your union and offer a perspective from our own married adventure as a hopefully useful and encouraging gift.  I think Alain de Botton communicates this best when he says, “We should not feel embarrassed by our difficulties, only by our failures to grow anything beautiful from them”.  Levon and I are incredibly grateful for our happy marriage,  but whenever I attend a wedding I can’t help but to remember the troublesome parts that arrived so quickly after the vows and shape so much of who we are.

The imagery is mostly taken from the setting of your ceremony: the backyard garden, Park Ridge, flags and lights draped from tents and trees and you both promising your love under interlaced plum branches decorated with fabric and family photographs.

These are the impressions I want to communicate through the painting, but I’ve kept the imagery loose and abstract because a mere depiction of the setting couldn’t capture the mysterious joy-sadness, family melding, and vastness in the atmosphere of sacred vows.

Circles are the basis for many of the elements in the painting.  The symbolism inherent in circles communicates the wholeness and cyclical nature of what a marriage can mean.   Many of the circular elements were made by painting on a plastic sheet.  Once dry, the paint circles were peeled off and either cut in half to form the flags on the banners or folded and clustered together to form flowers.  I think this process is appropriate for the ways that we function as elements made in one context and given meaning in another.  We are both parts and completed wholes as we live out our vows to not only our spouses but to our families and communities.

I find the symbolism in wedding traditions powerful because of the threads (think flag banners even) they weave over time and through generations and so I used some of those practices in the making of the painting.  For instance, I painted the white, tree cluster-cloud element as if it were icing on a wedding cake.  And I pinned the flowers onto the ground as a boutonniere to a jacket lapel.

 

 

 

“A real work, like a real love, takes not only passion but a certain daily, obsessive, tenacious, illogical form of insanity to keep it alive”      -David Whyte

This is my wish to you, Amelia and Josh.  Your wedding day was beautiful and I’m so grateful to have been a part of it and now may you insanely follow the love you declared under that 5.21 sunshine.

Blessings and thank you,

ashley

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[ from the both of us and we’re listening to Radiohead (Amnesiac) ]

Written for Jessica and Edwin’s wedding:

We are honored to be standing here with you on this day.  Our wish to you is that marriage will bring you joy, laughter, adventure, and gratitude, all of which are gifts you bring to us.

A marriage begins as a decision and will become the story of your decisions together, from this day forward.  You take this person today and commit to making their life your own and by doing so you share something together that is bigger than yourselves.

Decide to protect and nourish what you begin today.  Do not expect a version of each other that you want, but do commit to asking the best of one another.  Remember always that this is a process and that the difficulties are beautiful.  All of it is working toward a greater understanding of love.  Only remember to back up and give grace.  When you persist together, you grow in ways that happy days couldn’t have asked of you.

Love completely, even without complete understanding, because love is the source of joy and beauty, creativity and laughter.  Marriage allows us to experience this through sustained commitment over time.

Know that time will bring you success, failure, happiness, and sorrow.  Time will surprise you and though your union may evolve, you can rest in the promise that this friend, lover, and partner will share what time may bring for as long as you both shall live.

You have been given a best friend.  You will become one another’s story and understand them like an old friend.  As you grow and change you will become like new friends.  Remember that a good friend sticks close.  They look to see the good in you even when you are showing them less.

Be quick to remember that you cannot win or lose against each other.  Love sacrifices and love is authentic peace.  Love each other well and understand the best for them is the best for you.

Marriage allows us to glimpse into the mystery and beauty of unconditional love and connectedness.  Marriage teaches the language of “we,” which is beautiful in the smallness of home but also a refreshing acknowledgement of a broader interconnectedness within our communities and the earth.

 

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[ from a. addair who is listening to Fatboy Slim (You’ve Come A Long Way, Baby) ]

as for knowing if you love someone and then if you should marry him…

the longer i’ve been married, my view of this question has become less romantic. i think the question is more about deciding if you want to commit to a life-long relationship. this is a difficult and laborious commitment but one that, i think, has deeply sweet fruits. i haven’t been married for very long (in the wide scope of things) so i am far from a full understanding of my vow. so far i can say that it has been more difficult than it has been fun. but i do feel that i have a priceless friend that (given my character traits), i would not have outside of marriage. i think that this is of value and will continue to become more valuable the longer we commit to it.

deciding if this sort of arrangement aligns with your values and priorities is the first question (i think its okay if it doesn’t).

after this, the specific person you chose becomes less important. i say that because, whoever you marry will grow and change and not be the person you originally picked. and also because, no matter who you pick, you will learn their flaws and forget their beauty and be sometimes annoyed and sometimes you will loathe them (well, i do at least).

not to say that you shouldn’t be diligent and thoughtful in the choosing of a partner. but i guess, the most important thing to consider is if the person has the same commitment and expectations and values for marriage. and after that it just gets down to preferences. think about the things that are most important to you and make sure that those things are supported and valued by your partner and vice versa. i guess i’m saying that feelings of love don’t answer this question. feelings about/for a person are indicators of something going on inside of you and it is good to try and understand what they are pointing to. but they don’t know how to make decisions (especially life-long vows).

one of my favorite things about being married to Levon: his Pappaw

on being attracted to other men…

sadly, i don’t think this will go away (i don’t think it is an indication of how well or bad your relationship is going).  because i’m married, i’ve decided that i won’t pursue them and that the richness of my life will be greater for it, because my investment is with levon. i think it is possible that i could have a good life with any number of people, but i’ve chosen this one and this one (and our life) will be better if i keep my promise to him.

this is my perspective because i am married. i would probably have a different one if i weren’t.

i hope this letter is helpful and not frustrating. please feel free to think aloud as much as you need. and to ask any questions you are wondering about (not that i will have an answer, but i will at least share my experiences). and know that you aren’t crazy (if you are that makes two of us, because i’ve been there and freak out about being married often).

sending peace and love your way,

ashley

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[ from addair who is listening to Del McCoury (El Corazon) ]

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[ from addair who is listening to Ian Brown (Solarized) ]

I’ve craved solitude for a while now and I’ve been partly fulfilled.  During the day I have a house to myself and I’ve been able to get some work done.  I paint in the mornings; music on before the sun comes up and cleaning out my brushes before it peaks in the sky.  That feels good. 

Now that it’s the weekend I feel a bit restless.  Weekends are for playing but I don’t have anyone to play with.  I find that when Levon isn’t around I do things that he doesn’t enjoy as much as I do.  I’ve got a habit of wanting to be around him.  With a sort of love for happenstance, a lot of the time I let him navigate our playing.  And then every 6 months or so I find myself  mauling for control and being obstinate when things don’t go my way.  I suppose I haven’t learned balance yet. 

And so for the past few days I’ve  reveled in doing the things we normally do, but at the frequency and schedule of my choosing.  This has been agreeable.  I feel like my previously empty tank is sloshing around with whatever it is that keeps me okay.  And I’m learning to  respect and value our differences and to love our dependence on one another (its taken me a full 7 years to warily approach and incompletely relax in this last part).

levon took the camera and computer so i'm making do with a picture i found on the internet. but i think its appropriate. levon is there but not there and i am thinking.

 I’m thinking of taking a trip to Nashville after I post this.  It is a good city with an art museum The Frist in the old post office I love)  and a pleasant park for walking (Centennial Park, though it will make me miss Kaylay the dog).  Also I need some more canvas and there is an art supply store there.

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(from ashley)

As much as my fiercely independent disposition hates to admit it, I depend on Levon.  We’ve been apart for 11 days, the longest period in five years, and I’m realizing just how much of my daily act of living intertwines with his. 

Humans are relational beings, and though I don’t pretend to wholly understand why or how this came to be, I believe it is the way we were made.  We all crave intimacy.

Of course authentic fellowship can be experienced in platonic relationships and outside of marriage but for me, I’ve needed a publicly acknowledged promise.

last year's anniversary

last year's anniversary

I’m self sufficient enough (or so I think) that when conflict arises and vulnerability is called for, I prefer to simply move on rather than work for true communion. 

Being married has helped me to experience life intensely and amply because it has required that I stay long enough for authenticity to become essential. 

Though being in relationship with Levon has been one of the most challenging acts of my life, it has also been one of the most edifying.  I’ve experienced enough genuine friendship to understand that it is worth the effort.

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