A Letter Of Hope For My Single Mother

 A museum date with my mother at the Perez art Museum Miami admiring artwork by Firelei Baez in Miami, FL.

A museum date with my mother at the Perez art Museum Miami admiring artwork by Firelei Baez in Miami, FL.

I grew up with a single Mom.

You would probably expect my “Mother’s Day” social media dedication to sound something like this:

“My Mom is a strong independent woman…or she worked so hard to fulfill the job of two parents…etc”.

While those statements are true, and I truly do admire my Mother’s strength…I know that kind of hard working lifestyle was not always easy. It was difficult to see her work so hard without the nurturing love and support that she deserved from a partner.

 My mother and I at my MFA in Curatorial Practice Graduation at the Maryland Institute College of Art, 2014 in Baltimore, MD.

My mother and I at my MFA in Curatorial Practice Graduation at the Maryland Institute College of Art, 2014 in Baltimore, MD.

As positive as I may seem on the outside, growing up with a single mother greatly affected me and my life choices. Looking back, I realize that affected my approach to things like my past arts advocacy, only responding to what was wrong with the world. Or when I held the burden of constantly thinking: How could I work harder to make the world a better place through art and my higher education? How can I be the positive change in my family?

That’s a lot of burden to hold onto as a young individual, right?!

These expectations lead me to working out of scarcity, anger, and fear (which are legitimate feelings, but not good for my overall mental well being). This lead to holding a lot of grudges that resulted from carrying such burdens.

 Me in front of the Hirshhorn Museum in Washington, D.C. Photo by  Fluffy Pop Postcards .

Me in front of the Hirshhorn Museum in Washington, D.C. Photo by Fluffy Pop Postcards.

But what I really yearned for was more love, more positivity, more mindfulness, more responses rather than reactions when facing all the isms me and my friends experience.

Then one day it hit me. I deserve to embrace more love in my professional work! But how can I do that as a hopeful romantic curator in an art world that even discourages artists from making cheesy break up art? (True story. I went to art school for 6 years, but I made breakup art anyways cuz IDGAF).

I thought:

Why not think of weddings as art exhibitions that tell our love stories?

That’s how I channeled my anger from my arts advocacy in curating relevant and accessible art exhibitions about community and social issues to embracing my love for people, my love for art, AND my love for love. I know that we all want more love and more connection in this world, even if some extremists believe that is a naive way to combat hate and pain.

 Photo by my <3 Anthony Summers in front of  Olivia Steele 's public sculpture at  Sacred Space Miami .

Photo by my <3 Anthony Summers in front of Olivia Steele's public sculpture at Sacred Space Miami.

Sharing this as a wedding planner may seem counter productive within an industry that is all about catering to the extreme expectations of being that perfectionist, detail crazed wedding planner with that plaster smile in a wedding industrial complex that prioritizes placing perfect/childless/white/hetero/monogamous relationships on a pedestal while simultaneously ignoring the ugly realities of an oppressive society. That is not my reality as a woke curator turned wedding planner. That wedding planning bubble is not the reality for most people.

I hope to bridge these gaps and change these narratives at Creative Unions because I know that just like my mother, we all have real AF stories to tell in a world that is not always picture perfect. Art can do that in the most powerful and beautiful ways, without necessarily triggering people on one of the many special days that is supposed to be joyful. 

 Gustav Klimt,&nbsp; The Kiss.&nbsp; Image sourced from  Google Arts &amp; Culture

Gustav Klimt, The Kiss. Image sourced from Google Arts & Culture

Gustav Klimt’s “The Kiss” is my mother’s favorite painting. Probably because it exuberates the kind of love she always wanted. Soft, tender, balanced, and classy. (Who doesn’t love that iconic painting?)

Even thought Klimt can be overrated in the art world’s eyes, I would totally make a Gustav Klimt inspired Creative Union for my mother. Even if it’s just an artsy self love party for her and her friends surrounded by the art that tells her unique love story. I know she would love it. And I know she deserves to be celebrated for who she is rather than solely focusing on how hard she continues to work to make ends meet, with or without a partner.

 Mom visiting me in Baltimore, MD when I used to live and work there.

Mom visiting me in Baltimore, MD when I used to live and work there.

Mom, I hope you find continue to find that love in yourself. Just let me know when you are ready, and I will get started on planning your Creative Union a fuckin sap!

Happy Mother's Day!

Love,

Michelle