learning to love the questions, as well as who I am (part 2)

I don’t think there’s one clear diagnosis for my recent struggles: depression, overwhelm, exhaustion, anxiety, dwelling on things, perfectionism, discontent, motherhood, low self-worth. Call it what you’d like, sometimes the diagnosis sounds too severe, while at other times it doesn’t seem strong enough. However, it does seem the root all of these struggles are negative thoughts flitting around my brain, thoughts that have been there a long time unrecognized. So, as much as I’d like to have a much more straightforward step by step system to get rid of these negative thoughts, I’m starting to accept that my brain is going to need a lot of convincing to let go of some of them, which probably means a lot of work and a lot of time. So, that’s that. And because of the paralyzing overwhelm I’ve mentioned, I think it might be a good idea to give myself permission to just acknowledge these thoughts for now, not trying to dissect and understand each one. And, while acknowledging these thoughts, most of which could be lies, I’d like to focus on three truths:

God created me, me. Beautifully different and unique, with distinct gifts and insight. And I mean so different from most women/ mamas in this southern culture, which should translate into so unique and beautiful, but it’s pretty easy for me to get lost in the comparisons.

God created me to be a mama; to be present in this tiring stage of motherhood, filled with joys and struggles, as we greatly anticipate the birth of our third baby along with our almost four and five year old boys.

God created me to create; to express myself though artistic creativity, somehow in this busy and tiring stage of life. The how is one of the questions I wish I had a clearer answer to- should this be though my peppered paper collage work, should I pursue illustration, loser expressive painting, writing? I’m just not sure right now, but I am sure this creative expression is a big part of who I am.

So, there we have it. As I said in part 1 of this post, I don’t believe the creator of the universe made a mistake when he created me, me. He gave me gifts and passion and a drive to create artistically. He also gave me the gifts of two little boys and a third baby on the way. I often refer to them as rascals, on rare occasions tyrants, but when I try to express the incredible gifts they actually are words are not sufficient, and tears are inevitable. Did I mention I’m pregnant, and tired… but really, you know what I mean if you’ve experience this gift in one form or another. So, I must continue to convince myself of what I really do believe and who I am created to be. I must continue to try to reconcile these callings and claim the titles of both artist and mama, focusing on the big truths in light of all the little lies I’m fighting daily.

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learning to love the questions (part 1)

“… have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves…”  – Rainer Maria Rilke

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Once again, I’m having trouble slowing down and capturing my thoughts on recent struggles, which I’m learning is actually part of the struggle. It’s as if there are little fireflies darting through my brain. I catch a glimpse of one truth and try to grab on to it, but before I can wrap my brain around its meaning and beauty there are three others that light up in the background, and before I even realize it I’ve lost sight of the one that possibly had something to show me. Deep breath, because even this metaphor is stressing me out. So, because I’m working on taking hold of my thoughts and questioning their meaning, and more importantly their truth, let’s take hold of this metaphor:

It seems I’m grasping at things that are not meant to be held and understood fully. Sitting outside at dusk on a warm muggy summer night with these lights flickering all around is magical and the epitome of peacefulness to me. Magical by definition is something that cannot be fully understood, and as soon as it can be the magic is lost. Peacefulness also elicits an idea of restfulness and calm, in the midst of the unknown. So, part of being able to sit and enjoy the beauty of a magical summer evening is accepting and appreciating that each individual light flickering in the night is not meant to be captured, held, and dissected.

Easier said than done, especially when we’re actually talking about my thoughts and trying to move toward truth and healing instead of just enjoying an evening of lightning bugs in the backyard. However, I’m thinking there might be great magic and peace in accepting who I’m created to be, and acknowledging I cannot fully understand and control my thoughts. I can work on acknowledging their presence, seeing them for what they are- truth or not, and let them flicker out, one by one or several at a time. I can try to love the questions themselves and have great peace in believing the creator of the universe didn’t make a mistake when he created me, me….

continued in part 2.

“I beg you, to have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language. Don’t search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer.” – Rainer Maria Rilke

My Art, My Struggle

Hello. To me. And to maybe one reader, whom I think is capable of understanding and even valuing my crazy, so I’ll continue. I actually rarely put people in the category of being able to understand- my fault, not theirs. I mention this because I’ve struggled for a while with thoughts on what I’d like this blog to be. And the idea I keep coming back to and can’t move past feels really scary, because I fear judgement. I fear not being understood, or sounding crazy, or worst of all being pitied. However, here I am, because my thoughts aren’t leaving, and in this case it seems like fear is more indicative of what is right than what is not.

So, what are these thoughts/ ideas for a blog that I keep coming back to? If only I could very succinctly explain my thoughts. I’m pretty scattered, but here’s the gist- I’m struggling as a mama. I’m struggling as an artist. I’m really struggling trying to figure out how to be both mom and artist, both artist and mom. I’m not even sure what order to put these in, both are equally important parts of who I am (fear of judgement from other moms now), but it’s the truth. I know there are other mamas who can relate. I know there are others who agree being a mom is the hardest work of our life. So, I’m going to try really hard to believe that truth, and ignore my fear of judgement from those who find the mom job easy and fulfilling.

I also know I’m not the only creative who struggles, big time. However, it is so easy for me to see beautiful posts and prolific artists on Instagram and convince myself that without a doubt I’m the only one struggling and no one else could possibly understand. But then one day I googled “best books for creative inspiration.” I had no idea! There are so many books out there written to help creatives through their struggles. I proceeded to order and devour a couple of these books. They are written by creatives who completely understand the struggle. How do they understand so well? They have without a doubt walked through these struggles; I AM NOT THE ONLY ONE! Really, it’s as if they could see all of my doubt and fear and struggle and resistance, and express these feelings, my feelings, much more articulately than I could ever attempt to.

So, back to the idea for this blog. Did I mention I’m a little scattered? I actually don’t have a clear path laid out. I’ve been delaying for way too long because of this. So, I’m thankful to be starting to accept the only way to figure out how to reign in my focus is to start writing. And this post is a start! Loosely there are two types of posts I’d like to include:

My Art

I’d like to focus on my art: what I’m creating, how I work, where I’m inspired, and what my process is like . *fun, colorful, light, happy posts*

My Struggle

I’d also like to share what I’m learning as I continue to struggle as a mom and an artist. I’m hoping this outlet will help me through some of my struggles. *raw, beautiful, challenging, authentic posts*

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*because I’ve mentioned the two titles I’m struggling to reconcile, both mom and artist, I’m happy to have started another blog with ALL THE PHOTOS of family, fun, beauty, and the joy of motherhood. There might be a little bit of overlap on here, but for the majority this blog is written by me, the artist.