Anna Mustonen

Milk runs out of my left breast, pee trickles into my panties, tears dry on my face. I prefer not to sit, because my episiotomy stitches are still healing. I have lost the center of my body. I have given birth to it. I have set myself aside, focusing on the other one that was just born. I am walking in a daze, happy and bemused. I feel strongly drawn to the sidelines, to stay quiet, to not do anything. I dream about moving to Eastern Finland, to the middle of the forest. At the same time I find myself writing this text. I am not sure if I am writing to take part and make a stand, or to be seen and discovered.

I soothe, feed, feed, sway, feed, and carry. I do everything to make the other feel good. I walk from room to room, and sigh in relief when I notice that I have danced his to sleep.

I do not see any festival performances, I don’t gear towards international agency, I don’t follow the recent trends, I don’t want to listen to music because my home is too loud. I don’t apply for residencies, because children are not welcomed. I feel terrified that I get left out, that I fall behind, that I become dumber, and eventually become stale somewhere in between the nursing pillow. I become aware that I constantly apologize to my colleagues for being a mother, and to my family for working too much. My own wanting and trying is suffocating me. I move to the suburbs, get exhausted, get ill, consider changing vocation. I wonder if I have opened up too much, or if I have been too bitter. I wonder if my text is offensive to those who dream about being a mother. I cannot find answers, but I remember to be grateful.

I feel like giving up. I slow down reading this text. I notice the space between words, moments and breaths. I remove the hurry, stress, and efficiency from my life. I decide that work needs to give strength. I don’t work despite motherhood, I work from motherhood. I say no to juggling it all, to constant lack of time and to multitasking. I bury them deep into the ground and never use those words again. I invite rest, weakness and incompleteness to be part of my practice. I invite them to the stage as well. I watch the dancer dawdle, wander, dwindle, not know what to do, pause, give in, rest.

I try to express my experience of how to be a (good) mother and a (serious) artist at the same time. How these two worlds perhaps ask similar questions, and support one another. I want to write bright energy. I write until it is time for a feeding. I pull out my right breast, and I notice the text making a circle. I like circles, I draw strength from cycles.


Anna Mustonen

Anna Mustonen, together with Anna-Mari Karvonen, was the choreographer of The Life and Death of Giselle (by Und er libet) which had its premiere at Moving in November in 2010.



Moving in November festival has coproduced new works by Finnish dance artists for over ten years, To celebrate its 30th anniversary, the festival has invited artists 2007–2016 to write and discuss their artistic practice. These texts are published in the festival catalogue. On the Birthday Brunch on Oct. 5, 2016, the artists will discuss the texts together with the audience.

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