Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Remembering What Comes From the Glorious Mess of Life

Today I am thinking about creativity and inspiration, the works we have done and the works still to do. I am thinking about freedom from the rules and the fears that hold us back. In short, it's a normal day. But today, because of Kate Lord Brown's prompt, I decided to focus on my room, my inspiration board, just something to give back to my creativity with love.

I went through my portfolio to look at what I had in there, and instead of waiting for the perfect inspiration board or an easel or a string and clothespins, I did not want to put it off anymore, and I just taped the suckers to the wall and opened all the shades to let in some light. What I found were pages I had taken from my journal over the past years, many from 2001, a wondrous, difficult, challenging, triumphant, grief stricken, transformative year. Not only were there personal tragedies, but there was 9/11, something that affected everything if you were, like me, born and bred and living in New York City within sight of the World Trade Center.

These paintings, collages, mixed media pieces and drawings are all about taking your life into your own hands and creating something wonderful with it. What looking through my old work also reminded me is that I have come so far. So many of the things I struggled with 15, 10, even 5 years ago are just not something that bother me anymore. I do not feel incomplete. I do not feel crippled by my fears. I am not too insecure to stand up and speak for myself. I believe more in myself than I ever have before. Is this a function of all the work I have been doing on myself and my art? Is it a function of growing up? Is it a function of being a mother and having the world open up to include these two, completely new people who don't deserve to be saddled with my own woe-is-me's?

Whatever it is, it almost doesn't matter. What matters is that we look at where we are from and we continue to move forward to where we need to go, eyes always on what we need to fulfill our deepest dreams and live the life we are meant to live. This is about dreams of tomorrow and what you do this very day to get there. Plans plus action.

Today, I had the children paint pictures to send to their Papa in New York City, where he is working right now. Oh, how they enjoyed it.

I disappointed myself.

I found myself running around, with baby wipes, cleaning up spills and taking paint brushes out of mouths, and tapping the paper saying "no, paint HERE," and asking if he needed me to give him a new paper now? no, now? no, now? trying to get him to stop smooshing paint on something that I had really liked and move on to something else. Control, control, control. And worry about a mess to clean up.


With all my talk about breaking through boundaries, and getting rid of the internal editor and experimenting with your medium and being adventurous, here I was being the one who wanted to keep my children drawing within the lines.

I had to physically remove myself from the room to keep myself from telling them what to do and what not to do. I had to make a new rule that if my children have not made a mess that I need to clean up that day, then I am not doing my freaking job.

It is funny. There is no end point to human development or to the search for creativity and meaning and understanding. Even if you understand and accept one moment, you can completely forget and return to that small place of negative criticism in a blink of an eye. If I can do this to a toddler and a preschooler, then what am I doing to myself when I sit down (or don't sit down, as the case may be) to work on the stuff that I say is my calling?

Despite knowing that I need to turn of the internal editor, stop worrying about perfection, stop worrying about the marketplace, stop worrying about the kids almost done with naptime in the next room, stop placing boundaries around my success, I am still doing it.

If I were my own parent, what would I do to support my creativity?

I think I would say, I believe in you. You can do it. as many times as was necessary. I think I would bring myself flowers to say I was loved. I think I would buy myself the art supplies I needed to create (I am doing it for my actual kids, why do I not do it for myself?) I think I would make myself a sandwich so I could go to work without a dizzy head. I would give myself the space, the corner of a room in which to create. I would let myself make a glorious mess that needed to be cleaned up. I would make myself go to sleep at a decent hour so that I was not exhausted for the day. And I would tell all the other people that myself needs to be left alone to create. And then I'd send myself to my room to get to work.

Hey, my "Me-mother" is really cool. My "Me-mother" is exactly what I need. Self care. Self love. Self-support. Self-discipline.

What do you need your "Me-mother" to do for you to make your glorious messes and become your best self?


iHanna said...

What a wonderful post - so nicely written and well thought out! I urge you to go out and buy something a new pen or some paint, and use it now now now! Meditation also helps to silence the mind for short spurts!

Good luck, I know you can do it. Silence the mind and be who you really are: the artist! Love the hand paintings!

Sarah Yost said...

I love the me-mother idea. I'm going to use that when I get distracted by what's fun right this second instead of doing my work!

Mama Zen said...

This is simply brilliant, and I am so glad that I read it.

mapelba said...

I need to get out of my own way.

Kate Lord Brown said...

Fantastic - love the me-mother idea, and your work. So valuable to keep every journal, sketch - and so interesting to be able to track your journey. Thanks for the link - really appreciate it!

D'Arcy said...

You've hit it exactly I think. The fact that my parents, no matter what they did that I thought was crazy or awful or damaging...the one thing they ALWAYS got right was believing in me. They always reinforced the idea that I could be and do anything I wanted. That i could travel and move and live like a nomad, but I had a safe place to come home to. They believed in me and they still do.

I think you are wonderful, this blog is so touching and so good for me now. I may very well be in your shoes in a few years, and I hope I remember the lessons you are teaching me.

Jonah said...

The Me-mother is such a wonderful concept. I have these same tendancies with my child's art. When I step back and get out of the way it's always so much better.

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