Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Boy, Inspiration and Frustration

The Boy
acrylic on paper, 5"x8"

Ah, inspiration. And frustration.

Here I am, thinking about being creative again, wondering how to get back to the daily practice that I used to have. Trying to remember bits about who I was and who I am, and daily, I have these little beings running around, getting in the way, teaching me things, demanding stuff, making me bigger, shrinking my life down to size.

Art and Transformation. For me, that is what it's all about. It is a spiritual practice that centers me and grounds me and allows me to experiment and explore. It helps me believe in myself. It helps me understand the world. Art allows me to interpret my life, it also allows me to share with the world my thoughts and feelings and spirit and energy. Art builds us up. My life is built upon art.

But I can't separate this art from my children. I can't separate myself into the mom and the artist. Sometimes I wish I could. I wish I could go back to when it was just me and I could spend hours, days, weeks, even months in the pursuit of my various artistic tendencies.

Now, when I create, I always have to consider my children. They are always at least in the back of my mind. I have a timer waiting to go off, to tell me that it is time to be a mom again. Or I have toys scattered around my house, even on my desk, reminding me that I have duties.

Once, I was told that it was impossible for a woman to continue to be an artist once she has kids. That is not true, I thought then, and continue to believe now. It is possible for a woman to be an artist with children, but the way she is an artist changes. What are the changes? Who does an artist who is a mother, a mother who is an artist have to become in order to synthesize her double identities?

I think art may help me understand. I think if I didn't have my art, I might easily be swallowed by the role of mother.

But then, maybe this kind of struggle is not limited to being a parent. Sure, being a mom is kind of an all encompassing state, not just personally, but culturally, too. The role of motherhood is huge. But don't all artists have to struggle with balancing their artistic lives with their real lives? I had a similar struggle as a teacher, or as a younger woman living my life, falling in and out of love, searching for happiness and meaning.

Perhaps accepting that being an artist and living our human lives can be a struggle, a balancing act. We all have external demands and internal demons. How do we handle them all to create a creative and personal life that is fulfilling?

How do you balance your life and your art? Where do you struggle?

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