The revelation that a weakness has improved is always welcoming. Keeping your cool in a situation that used to infuriate you. Choosing a healthier snack option. Finally remembering to take out the trash on time. Or, maybe you remarkably stopped burning the grilled cheese. I am used to a little charcoal on my sandwich, but still I'd love it if I ever made that basic kitchen-skills landmark.
Last night I discovered an area I have grown that I finally let myself invest time. I am not best with time management and often kick myself for how I spend my days. I can spend time cleaning the house, patiently being a mom, faithfully exercising, committing to making a homemade meal. But I have always struggled with putting aside time for one of my staple needs--creativity.
I am naturally artistic like my father. I will use it sometimes for an event or a gift for someone. But I have never been able to say, "Okay, this afternoon I am drawing. Or painting, or crafting, or writing". It's like my mind gets frantically erased by little micro dusters that waltz in and whisk my ideas away while declaring, "Make room for something more productive!" Why does doing something artistic feel like a bad thing?
I think it is mainly a case of requiring instant gratification. If I make you a homemade birthday card, you will tell me you appreciate it. If I plan a new bulletin board for the church, someone will tell me they like it. Hmmm, am I really that shallow? If I spend ours trying to improve my fine brush skills or my steady hand or my blending of color, I may end up with nothing presentable to show for it. And in the end, the only person judging my work is me. Unfortunately, I don't bolster myself up very well (or others for that matter, but that is a concomitant wall to scale).
When I started writing I knew I would enjoy delving into my conglomeration of brain waves, but I thought it would be difficult to keep up. I expected my inner critique to get in the way and fill me with all kinds of excuses (oh it tries!). But, what the little light bulb suddenly lit up last night is that here I am, taking another nap time to type away while dishes are piled up and numerous other things could be tackled. (I think it might be bad that I do enjoy sitting on my bottom staring at this screen.)
I am taking what could end up being an hour out of my day to produce something that may be exhibited, and may or may not have an acclaimed, or even accepted, result. I am putting myself out there. I start many topics only to decide they are inadequate. I worry about what people will think. Am I crazy? Or daft? I attempt a paragraph only to get distracted by another task, usually forgetting to save and losing the work I did accomplish.(There I go again. Answered the phone and ended up washing dishes before coming back!) But, in spite of self criticism and the whirling of life around me, I plod on. I never used to like pushing against maybes and what-ifs and I-shoulds.
Possibly my growth of late is the fact that having a child has slowed me down and also made me more aware of my time. I have to let go of things that need to be done to give my time to her. And, like I said in my blog Embrace Creativity, I have to be in touch with the gifts I was given to help my daughter be able to follow her own talents. For sanity sake, I also have to keep my own identity outside of being someone's mom. I am not just a cooking, cleaning, diaper changing, book reading momma. I am still me. Imaginative, artistic, analytical me. And it feels good to take the time to do something about that.
When my daughter gets older I will have more opportunity to use my strengths by arranging crafts, planning parties, helping her with school. But I know that for me I also need to keep up with creativity that isn't related to her. To do something on my own.
As you may have already surmised, though, it will often have her as a topic!