I’d like to negotiate a non-maternity leave.
I need to birth something. Not a kid. I need to birth a thing. It’s a thing I need to make. And here’s the best part (for you anyway): It won’t get sick on a school day later! Sure it may kill me with its demands but at that point you would replace me anyway. Who knows. Maybe it will call me away. You know I hope it will.
I need three months to bring a thing into being where I don’t have to be here everyday at 8. I need to sit and think and type and sing to myself and say things out loud and run lines without people suspecting I am insane.
Because I am not insane.
I need to cry. Crying is how I know things.
I need to wake up with puffy eyes and not care.
I want to stay up all night if I need to and nap at weird times and wake up with ideas that I wouldn’t have had if I’m staring at Microsoft Outlook – a creativity killer unless you are making jokes about Microsoft Outlook.
I need to bring something into being. That means I can’t wear biz cas. I can’t. To quote Dita Von Teese, “It chafes me. If not physically then emotionally.”
I need to pile my hair on top of my head and wear streaks of mascara and bib overalls and white tshirts without a bra because actually, I think that’s when I’m my most beautiful.
I make better stuff when I feel beautiful.
I need time to make food that isn’t “ON THE GO SNACK IDEAS FOR DEPRESSED PEOPLE”
I dislike granola bars.
I want to meet up with collaborators at 10am on a Wednesday after I pick up some good coffee. Not 7:30 pm after I’ve slapped myself awake and eaten a granola bar. And yogurt.
This is not a vacation. I want to work. Hard. Harder than I’ve ever worked (I’ve worked hard.)
I want to see my husband while I’m bringing this thing into the world. Imagine.
I don’t want to fit this in.
I don’t want to find time.
I want to lose track of time.
I want to see daylight.
The thing might not be great. It might be terrible or weird or wrong or injured or sick. But it won’t be the best it can be unless I can just be. I have to be so it can be.
I need to be able to say yes.
I need to be able to say no.
I need to be able to do nothing for a day and then so much the next that I forget what day it is.
I don’t want to find out more interesting ways my body exhibits stress.
I need to breathe.
Maybe only breathe.
I haven’t been breathing very well.
I am so tired.
Creativity is messy and completely impossible to explain to those who do not engage in it, or maybe even fear it a little. (I am still not insane. Everyone is creative.)
I need three months.
I need to risk that in three months, I may have nothing.
And yet I will have something. I just don’t know what yet.
I just don’t know if I am brave enough to ask.