Enough Rope (2016)

“In particular, the State recognises that by her life within the home, woman gives to the State a support without which the common good cannot be achieved. The State shall, therefore, endeavour to ensure that mothers shall not be obliged by economic necessity to engage in labour to the neglect of their duties in the home.”

— Article 41, Section 2 of the Constitution of Ireland

As an American living in Ireland, there is a part of me that always feels foreign — external and excluded. Stepping into this different cultural environment, my sense of familiarity is warped as I am forced to adapt to a new normal. Everything I thought I knew of the mundane is twisted as what I have taken for granted in the daily running and maintenance of my life turns alien. Becoming a mother in a foreign context amplified these sentiments as I am made vulnerable to a medical system and cultural understanding of the maternal that counters my expectations. In particular, the influence of the Catholic Church that has seeped to the core of the nation’s infrastructure during its formation and development remains an ideological spectre. While the culture takes a secular turn, there are elements that linger. I did not anticipate it to affect me so greatly, drawing up memories of discomfort from a faith I left behind long ago. Like a spiritual muscle memory, it remains engrained in my physiology. Caught in this context, with a reflexive bristle whenever I find the need to adjust, I test the limits of my malleability. My emotions simmer as I come to a new, negotiated state of being, all the while ushering a new human into the world (for more about this performance, refer to the relevant post on in:Action).

Square grid with pink, green hues, and yellow with overlay of abstracted hands