I am...

Since first being introduced to Björk’s music in college, years ago, her music has always had a certain allure – the beats, the floaty rhythmic groove and of course, the string writing. Oh the string writing! She lost me for awhile in the post-Vespertine years; I couldn’t figure out if she had gone off the deep end or if I was just too shallow to understand her artistry. Most likely the latter. All I wanted was the crackly beat of Possibly Maybe or the snares from Isobel, faintly nodding to marching bands with those tight-sounding little rolls at the beginning of each bar. I’ve always known that I have a thing for beats. I used to be kind of embarrassed about it, like it’s WAY too obvious to be into something as simple as a groove but as I grow older and questionably wiser, I am perfectly ok admitting to my LOVE for beats.

Hi, my name is Yuki and I LOVE BEATS. But I digress.

My relationship with Björk’s music may have paled for a few years, but with the release of Vulnicura, it has not only been revived, but has reached new depths. I am listening to the album now as I write this and it makes me smile to hear that Bjõrk is also perfectly ok admitting her love for her older style of musicmaking. But to be honest, this isn’t a post reviewing her music – there’s more than enough to go around.

It’s a response to THIS ARTICLE: 

I read this article earlier this week and it struck me to the core. Literally, it brought me to tears and tore at me. 

“One quite literally becomes a vessel—a role that often continues postpartum. The young family takes precedence, and ambition takes a back seat; a mother can become the net around her loved ones, their needs veiling her own. It is the natural exile of domestic life.”
— Jessica Hopper on motherhood
“Women are the glue. It’s invisible, what women do. It’s not rewarded as much.”
— Björk

Holy shit.

These quotes, this one article, expresses EVERYTHING I have been fighting against, grappling with, embracing, thrusting away, untangling, wringing dry. It’s all here. While there is something comforting about hearing an icon like Björk express very human, very gendered frustrations and pain, there is also something so hopeless about it all for those of us who aren’t Icelandic forest-creature music royalty. Even BJÖRK has to struggle against it all: even SHE has to fight for credit where credit is due, feel those moments when the responsibility rests squarely on her shoulders and still be the glue that holds it all together. 

This isn’t to say, “Poor me. Feel sorry for all of us women, mothers, professionals. Shame on you Men.” I certainly don’t need pity. I am just looking for a way to understand this Stranger I have become since becoming a mother. This stranger who doesn’t want to admit to anyone that I am, truly, a mother. This stranger who drives herself crazy, working harder and harder each day, desperate to prove to invisible demons, that, “I am the same capable person I was pre-baby!”. When I’m asked to stay at work later than planned, I hesitate. I don’t want to admit to my colleagues that I cannot stay because I need to pick my son up from daycare and was planning to spend a few precious hours with him before he goes to bed. Precious hours indeed, because I rushed him to daycare immediately after breakfast so I could spend the subsequent 8 hours teaching, administrating, being Professional. When I’m asked to play a concert that involves many days of travel, I say “oh shucks, I have a conflicting concert but please <groveling> keep me in mind for next time!” I never ever admit the reason why I decline is really because it would take me away from my family for too many days. When my performance in a rehearsal or a concert doesn’t reach my standard of perfection, I immediately panic and wonder “are they going to say, oh it’s because she has a kid now so she’s not really on top of her game?”

Why is this the case? Why is it that my default reaction is to be ashamed and afraid of the fact that I'm a parent? Are these demons a figment of my imagination or are they actually justified? When I exhaustedly throw myself into bed after a day of working at warp speed, on the brink of panic as I attempt to juggle every aspect of my chaotic life, I ask myself these questions in indignant fits of frustration and moments of confusion. I welcome sleep because I have asked the same questions since the day my son was born, like I'm stuck in some kind of groundhog day time warp. It's easier to close my eyes and put off peeling back the layers for yet another day.

But here I am now, after reading that article, obsessing and, admittedly, shedding many tears over it during the past week, stating HERE for all 17 people who visit www.yukinumata.com each year: I am a mother. 

This battle is not over and this is only 1 small step forward in the midst of many steps forwards and backwards but for today and only today, I can admit that I am a mother

I am an artist. I am a professor. I am a wife. I am a woman.  

I am a Mother.

Posted on January 31, 2015 .