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Recovering a Sense of Identity

artist date: nature walk

Week 2...

Morning pages. Artist date. Filling the well. Creativity contract.

These are the basic tools Julia Cameron gives us. It’s funny how willing I am to jump into these the second time around. The first time I was just grasping the concept of doing something for no other reason except that I wanted to.

What did I want to do just for me? Where did I want to take myself on a date? I saw a movie I liked, hiked by myself, spent half a day reading and staring at the waterfront, went to an art show, took myself to dinner, bought art supplies, painted in the park…doing anything that truly filled me up and rejuvenated me. Instead of spending time with people I love and care about, I had to learn to love and care about myself and find myself and my interests to be enough. I had to like spending time with myself. I had to like getting to know myself just as I was at that point in my life.

Now, I’m doing it all over again as a mom. We welcomed the second addition to our family this week, and I realize I’m not the same person I was last week. Do the people in our lives – namely our kids – really effect our identity so much that I could feel that version of myself was past and gone? It feels natural and good that I should change overnight and also fleeting. To embrace those changes and move through them as fluidly as I can makes it all feel like part of the plan instead of something I’m fighting or resisting. It helps me understand motherhood and this season of life as a part of a whole and not an endless blur. It helps me bring together my art practice and being a mom as central points in my life that can grow together; one does not have to be on hold for the other. It helps me let go of who I was and know that who I’m becoming will be even better.

My mom once told me that motherhood is “the hardest job and no one sees it.” It took me a long time to understand this and what it means to my sense of identity and how I show up in the world. While it seemed like I wouldn’t have time for art, it is something I’m relying on in the minutes between naps, feeding, sleep, and all the rest. Because anything I create right now seems to be important work….because if no one sees it, no one knows…and a sense of understanding and connection is exactly what I want my work to be right now.

Until next week!