I just had this inspiration. I realized that I have arrived. I have landed. We have landed as a family. And I have landed. I have my family, home, education, community, friends, the beginning of a new business. And now I am allowing/making myself as the artist I always wanted to be. I am ready to live out my dreams. And for some crazy reason, I am sharing this whole process with you. I don’t know how to define this or describe this. It just is. All things I did before are leading to now. But it’s not just a moment. It’s the continuation of a moment. It’s as if there had been a four year pause button, and now I’m pressing play and am continuing on my life’s path. 


This feeling brings me back to these images--different views of my studio I used to have in Oakland, California. It was a spare room in our apartment that we lived in for three years. I loved this apartment. It was the longest I had/have ever lived in one place since my childhood home. It was the only time in my life I had a studio. It was not a large room. But it was large enough. It held an office desk, all my art supplies and musical instruments, my books, a small altar, my Snoopy collection and my collection of special/cheap stuff. It was the greatest act of love when Lucas let me have the spare room all for myself. Everything else in the apartment was shared. 


Our last year in Oakland, the year after I graduated from my master’s program, I was extremely busy: I was regularly studying and performing in an improv troupe, I was writing and playing music with Lucas for our band, Garafon. I was drawing, and often engaged in my own expressive arts practice. I also worked as a nanny, a haircutter, an expressive arts therapist, and led a music and arts therapy group for elderly people. This was the last year of my life before I moved to rural Mexico and became a mom. This was an empowering time for me, but it wasn’t easy, and I was often lonely. My three closest friends had moved away, and Lucas was away often for work. But it was a powerful time, because I spent a lot of time alone, and it really stretched me, and made me aware of what I was capable of. I loved doing all that I was doing, but I still wanted a different life. I wanted a feeling of community, openness and friendliness. I never felt that in the Bay Area. After five years, it still didn’t feel like home. We had decided we wanted to make a big change, but we had no idea what our life was to become once we moved to Mexico. All we knew is we had a piece of land in the desert that we were going to build a house on, we wanted to have a child, and we were ready for an adventure.

I think these particular photos just came to mind because they represent the last time I felt like a fully engaged artist. It was the last time I felt inspired and turned on the way I do now. And it was the last time I really put myself out there. I took these photos four years ago, a few days before we packed up our apartment to get ready for our move to Mexico. The next month was November 2008: I turned 35, wrote a novel as part of National Novel Writing Month, (,) the economy collapsed, Obama was elected, and at the end of the month, three days before we left for our road trip to Mexico, I found out I was pregnant. These photos show the last moments of a chapter of a particular momentum, before everything in our life changed. And now, after four years, we have finally landed, and a new momentum is starting. 

Thank you for reading.

Zoë DearbornComment