Coloring Salvation: Mask
I picked up coloring as something to enjoy with my son when he’s table-side.
Some say it’s not therapy but the mind drifts when hands shift and here’s what I’ve been thinking:
I colored this heart on a long car ride in order to avoid interacting with my husband. It was late summer and we were in the worst way, he and I. Stretched over the bone, I pulled a mask over who I really was and gave just enough to keep myself and my marriage alive.
In my most honest and desperate moments I dream of giving up everything to become a monk to motherhood. When I came close to this mark, like I did this summer, I was at my most patient, most loving and most satisfied. I did not miss myself; not my writing, not my photography nor my husband. I achieved the enlightenment such zealotry offers but I weakened my marriage for I am no monk. I do not live alone.
Science drives me to give everything to my children. When I was eight weeks’ pregnant with my daughter, I found out fragments of her DNA flowed through my veins. Pregnancy, labor, birth, breastfeeding; these acts of communion between myself and my children are incomparable to any other relationship I have had or will ever have. Who I have become is undeniable. And awesome. Still, Mother is at odds with Wife. There is no biological pull to my husband; that has to come from somewhere else, as it must be given. If my well is empty, math tells me I must take away from my children so that I can add to my marriage. Math fighting science. Science against math. Man against wife. Mask upon mask.
I don’t color in the car anymore. As the weather cooled, so did we but not so easily and not without help. I work to stay married and so does my husband. Sometimes it’s hard but mostly it just means taking off a mask. We do not run through each other’s veins, but we are connected and want to remain so, just like we said we would before one of us became someone else entirely.