Recently I ran into an old friend from my circus days who commented that I look the same as I did 25 years ago. I don’t, of course. I think I just possess a quality of eternal youth that comes from the simple philosophy of “Why not now?”
How many things have we passed up in life for whatever reason? Too young? Too broke? Too busy? Too unconventional?
At 36, my Why Not Now philosophy resulted in my buying my first drum kit, and taking up martial arts—basically I was reliving my adolescence, except this time, I was married, a mom…oh, and much cooler.
Though I have a lot less time to do all the wonderful things I didn’t do when I was young, single, and childless, somehow none of the former questions: How do I afford it? How will I get there? Why wasn’t I born a boy?, invade my thoughts. The only question I ask myself was, “Why not now?”
Thirteen years, a national gold medal, and an exciting music career later, as I watch my child grow into a young adult, I try not to focus on the depressing reality of getting older. Instead, I wonder what other childhood fantasies I reasoned myself out of–and feel myself grow younger with every adrenaline rush that screams, Why Not Now?
Bio: Former actor, dancer, and circus aerialist, Jax took a hiatus from performing during which she started her own business as well as a family. Jax jumped back onto the stage in 2008 as drummer with former Mamapalooza Band of the Year Kore. In 2010, she left to start her own band of moms who rock–Female Band Invasion (FBI), a Sarasota-based original rock band that has been taking the town by storm. www.reverbnation.com/femalebandinvasion.
I edit a publication called The Mom Egg, an annual literary collection of poetry, fiction, creative prose and art. The Mom Egg publishes works by “mothers about everything, and everyone about mothers and motherhood.”
Why is a mother-centric literary publication important?
The demands, pleasures, and monopolization of time and mental energy of motherhood can be overwhelming. How does this affect us as artists? Creative mothers need a welcoming venue that fosters artistic expression.
While the media tends to homogenize mothers into broad classifications (soccer moms, tiger moms, “good” moms, “bad” moms, assumptions based on ethnicity, age, sexuality, etc.), mothers are of course individual and diverse. Artistic portrayals of experiences of motherhood, both from the point of view of the mother and the mothered, have traditionally been undervalued as subject matter for art. The Mom Egg places such works, from a very diverse group of writers, in the forefront.
The experience of motherhood also impacts differently on an artist’s worldview in areas outside of mothering: our views of sex roles, politics, war, conservation, and more, are influenced by our experience. A mother-centric publication ensures the presence of informed voices on matters of global interest.
Few of us want to be “ghettoized” or thought of as solely a “mother-writer.” But the presence of a publication that is friendly to mothers who write helps get some important artists’ voices out into the world where they can be read and recognized. In a world where women are often underrepresented in publishing awards and national media (see, for example, http://www.slate.com/id/2283605/), The Mom Egg (and a handful of others, such as Mamazina, Literary Mama, and Hip Mama) helps even the odds.
Every journal is, in a sense, a community of artists. The Mom Egg writers and artists form a vibrant and exciting neighborhood, a venue for intellectual and creative alchemy. The works—thoughtful, zany, irreverent, lyrical—seem to converse, even argue, with each other. They shine a light on the pivotal experience of many of our lives, and out from it.
The Mom Egg was started in 2003 by Joy Rose and Alana Free under the auspices of Mamapalooza. An annual print issue comes out each May. More poetry, prose, reviews, interviews, submissions guidelines, and discount subscription info are on the website http://themomegg.com.
Marjorie Tesser is the author of THE IMPORTANT THING IS…(Firewheel Editions 2010), a poetry chapbook/game, winner of the 2009 Firewheel Chapbook Award.
*Additional Mother-Centric Publications are here and are welcoming submissions.
The film, ‘The Motherhood Movement’ – You Say You Want a Revolution captures the first ever, international summit on the Motherhood Movement, featuring Motherhood organizations. Directed by Joy Rose, Produced by The Museum Of Motherhood, in collaboration with the Association For Research On Mothering (ARM) and The Motherhood Foundation Inc (MFI). The film seeks to promote, showcase, and make visible maternal discussion and to disseminate information on the subject of Feminist/activist Mothers and the missions of International Maternal agencies.
We have documented and preserved presentations, interviews and perspectives on the burgeoning ‘Mom Movement’. Subjects include, but are not limited to: The Motherhood Movement as an important part of women’s studies, activism, the three feminist waves, where are we now? Feminist Mothering, woman and mothers in the arts, non-traditional parenting, women and families; poor and immigrant issues, the 1950’s until now, mothers and politics, mothers and the economy, motherhood unpaid, mother-work, the gift economy, matriarchal and indigenous societies, the role of men and feminist values, future museum of Motherhood, formation of an international movement.
Organizations represented include:
By: Alexis Chapman
What is a feminist? What does a feminist believe? What is the Motherhood Movement & Why do I want to be a part of it? I don’t have children am I even qualified? What qualifications do I have to be part of this movement & where is the Feminism 101 book? What resources are online & what is legit? Shouldn’t knowing who Susan B. Anthony is be enough? Who the heck is Mary Wollstonecraft? Didn’t that have something to do with Frankenstein?
These are some of the questions that ran through my mind when I began this journey a month before Mother’s Day. I decided, out of the blue, to contact Joy Rose and offer social media services to the Motherhood Movement. Sure, I knew what I was doing eyeroll or at least I would figure it out as I went along. “I empower you to make these decisions” said Joy, “Oh great” I thought, can’t you just tell me what I am supposed to believe and exactly what you want put on twitter facebook, a blog and a newsletter. Nope, didn’t work like that. So I, not a mother, 33 years old, not really having a clue as to what a feminist was and what the motherhood movement entailed, decided to take a journey.
First stop, library. With a copy of The Feminine Mystique by Betty Friedan I figured I was in business. Second stop, Half Price Books, with the suggestion that The Feminine Mistake by Leslie Bennetts is a good read, along with Women and Madness and Ms. Magazine I thought I was in business. Third stop, Barnes & Noble copies of The Mommy Myth by Susan J. Douglas and Meredith W. Michaels, Born for Liberty by Sara M. Evans, The Essential Feminist Reader Estelle B. Freedman, The Feminist Promise Christine Stansell and Bitch Magazine. I sat down and attempted to muddle my way through theory and retrospective.
I popped in a copy of You Say You Want a Revolution film by Joy Rose, grabbed some popcorn and then found myself rather confused. With so much information before me, yet no real beginning point or structure, I still wasn’t sure what I was supposed to believe. Then it hit me, there aren’t any set rules. There isn’t an Idiots Guide to Feminism. My journey had begun & I hadn’t even realized it. It began with the awareness that I was able to find books at all, that there was printed information that I was allowed & permitted to have access to without someone telling me “no”. At 33 I have been taking many things for granted, not realizing the battles that my foremothers had to go through just so that actually had the option of looking at a Women’s Studies section at a Barnes & Nobel. I am able to be part of the Motherhood Movement, even though I am not a biological mother. I have the freedom to express my opinions via a blog without government telling me that I don’t have permission, or censoring what I write. I have the freedom to be single, make my own money, choose to not have children and choose how I wish to spend my time. I have privilege as a Caucasian woman that I didn’t even realize I had.
As I begin to explore how media has influenced the appearance of Mother’s, and as I begin to explore the power of my foremothers and learn about the Suffragette movement. As I begin to realize how honored and blessed I am to be part of the journey of the physical manifestation of a museum of motherhood I can also reflect on the great strides that have been made over the past 50 years. I am beginning to appreciate my grandmothers and my mother in an entirely different light.
I am beginning to appreciate the fact that my 2 sisters and I have had a choice, a choice to be educated and a choice as to how we live our lives, with the support of parents who have never placed a societal moray of what a woman should be on us. Wow. This is a journey of a feminist, this is my journey. I invite you to tag along as I explore a Herstory that I have taken for granted, a Herstory that I didn’t know existed, a Herstory that I reaped the benefits of and a Herstory that I am a part of.