2 April 2012
It's like a blister. This creative impulse of mine. It'll burst if I don't do something about it soon. Some days I think it'd be much easier if it wasn't there at all. If I could just ignore it. I'm so fortunate to have been given two things in my life that I'm passionate about. Two things that I love and find utterly absorbing and that I do naturally. Mothering and creativity. They go hand in hand, but unfortunately sometimes, one can override the other... For me, creative expression is meditation. It feeds my soul. Mothering is undoubtedly life changing and defining and the most important thing I will ever do. But it is not sustainable, for me, without creativity. And I'm not talking about creative ways to fold a nappy, or communicate with a toddler, or strew new concepts for the owlets to learn... Creativity in the form of colour and paint and drawing and stitching and fabric and print... Even if no-one ever sees it, playing with all those things, learning and expressing and releasing are just as important as a cup of tea, a warm bath or a cuddle on a hard day of mothering.
The last two years are the longest period of time I've spent without creating much at all. First there was school art classes, then art school, then a design degree, followed by working in design jobs for years and years.... Then came Big Owlet. And three months later, I became itchy to design and create again... so I worked from home, designing until Little Owlet was a toddler, finally sewing some bits and pieces to sell at markets and in the owlet shop. Not all of them were my favourite form of expression. Not all of them were free. And some led to creative burnout. But the legitimate forms of creative work I've done have given me an outlet. They've exercised that part of my brain, of my soul, that needs it. And that's just the thing, to me, because the rest of the world noticed those forms of expression- requested, graded and in some cases paid for them - to me they were legitimate. Right now, I recognise that I need to make time for creativity even if no-one benefits. I need to make it a legitimate form of self-nurture and I need to prioritise it. It is my meditation and as important to me as breathing. Just as mothering is. But without creativity, mothering suffers.
So this post is where I make myself accountable. In the last year, I've tried to replace legitimate creative time with important responsibility - things like groups to attend and organise. I've crowded my days with social outings and owlet centered activity. I've said no to a couple of design markets I'd have loved to be part of, because there's just no time and support to help it all get done amongst all the mothering... And right now I need to shift focus. I need to make time. And play and meditate and breathe. Today I began reading The Divided Heart again, which is so raw and honest and true, like reading the back of my mind and my heart. I sat down with an old book of paper Huz gave me 15 years ago and some paints he gave me too and I played with the colours, swirling and blending and doing nothing aside from watching them work together, as I might have when I was a child... Just painting with no end result in mind, purely in the moment. Nothing else existed. Especially not responsibility. And a weight lifted. It was a start. Who knows what will become of it, this time focused on creating for no-one in particular. But I hope it becomes something worth sharing one day and that the creativity flows freely, without blisters and bumps and alongside mothering, with ease.
Do you make time to create? Is it important to you?