February 10, 2011

hold on to what you must do, even if it's a long way from here.

the small ones are situated on the couch, again, this morning.
with lollipops and cartoons.
a nutritious breakfast has yet to be served but oatmeal is soaking on the stovetop.

i had a conversation with a friend last week. this guy is like one of my oldest friend's, going on twenty years now, which is just weird to me, but anyhow, had a conversation last friday and since then, the idea of humility has been nagging at me.

i've decided that i mustn't be humble enough, i mustn't be willing to work hard, and i like to give up when things don't come easy. which is mostly all the time. i've completed things like the coursework for two degrees but i didn't over-extend myself either time i went to college. i didn't join any honor societies, even though i could have. i didn't work harder than i had to, which wasn't hard. if things were overwhelming, i'd drop my courseload to half-time. i even took one semester off completely (granted, it was my first trimester with pea and i was too sick and tired to peel myself off the couch but had i been determined and humble enough, i would have made it work). i don't like to think that i'm lazy, though i've called myself that numerous times.

the truth is, i am willing to work hard when something matters to me or when i see the end-result as worth attaining. but i'm also impatient and don't like waiting for all conditions to be right before moving forward.

when i want something, i want it now.

i have always wanted to be an artist but i had a lot of baggage to sort out and a lot of misconceptions about what that meant. i had to struggle with not wanting to be a starving artist since those are really the only kinds of artists i was around, while growing up. two of my mom's cousins have real, and i mean REAL, talent. both have been featured in one of our snootiest local galleries, among others. one is schizophrenic and the other doesn't feel like he deserves much in life and lets his anxiety get the better of him, so i witnessed great talent being wasted. a lot. i also had to get over the fact that i never went to art school or took more than two art history and two art studio courses in all of my years as a career student. i also, to this day, have to work with my huge feelings of inadequacy that stem from never being good enough, or as good as my mother. i know. a lot of this is my own internal story and i have to change it and overcome it and my mother and i are now more like, contemporaries - we could be active co-participants in living an artful life, it's not like there's any competition there and in many ways, her art has helped her heal and deal with a lot of things and i've taken her lead to work past my early childhood when i wasn't "good enough" because i couldn't color inside the lines like she did. i know she once colored (or helped me fill in) a picture of balloons that we entered into a coloring contest. i won (but always felt like she won) the giganto stuffed care bear that was the first place prize. i was four years old and it might have been then that the internal dialogue began and it might have had nothing to do with anything she ever said. actions do speak louder than words, however, and even in sixth grade, she was still doing my school projects for me because she was a perfectionist and i couldn't cut a straight line. anyhow, none of this is coming out like i planned, the point is - for whatever reasons, i have had a sense of not being artistic enough and it wasn't until, oh maybe 2003 or 2004, when i said to hell with it all, if i want to "make art" i will. getting a hold of sark's journal and play book really helped the imperfect, creative streak but then i went back to school and life got busy and even though i painted more in 2004 than i ever had in my life, it still wasn't enough.

later that year i met awesomepapa and nine months later we were engaged and then i got pregnant and nine months after that i had another baby and i still felt the need to be crafty. always. so i did a few paintings. i sketched often. i knit a lot. but i was also finishing school and everything i wanted to do NOW was always on the backburner and i still felt like the furthest thing in the world from an artist.

fast forward to last year. i decided to embrace the old "fake it, 'til you make it" attitude because you have to see yourself where you want to be before you can get there. or something like that. so i said to hell with it again and started trying on the artist title on for size. it fit. i was comfortable enough to pronounce that i was an artist, even if only quietly, even if only on some online profile somewhere. it was a step i was taking to make it more real for me. along the way, i've had to carve out time to be creative and right now with a very clingy toddler and a demanding preschooler, it's tough. i had just set up our playroom to include workable studio space for myself when we decided to buy a new house, so all of my "free time" was spent looking at or for a new house. there was stress involved. until just this very moment, i had blocked out the barrels of fun it was putting our house on the rental market and being available to tidy it up and show it, alone, with two small children. then there was the actual packing and actual moving and even though i'd kept some projects readily accessible, it just didn't feel right to work on anything during all of that. now we're in the new house, hardly settled in fully, i'm watching two other small children full-time, and i've made creative time happen. i had to do for my own sanity, but now i crave the time to make art and that isn't enough because i have no scheduled time to myself. i've tried to work on projects alongside the kids when i've got all four, under-fives here. i just can't be as involved and the bickering that occurs between the older two is no good.

i don't see anything changing any time soon and when i start to feel like that, like there's no hope, well. i get hopeless. and depressed. and i'm on the brink but still open to creative suggestions and know that i have had the strength to overcome many obstacles in life and this is just one more. if i truly want to make art, if it is as important to breathing to me (and it is) than i will make the time. my husband might suggest that even now, instead of typing this all out, i could be working on my art. if it's that important to me, why am i not putting every spare moment to good, artful use? i have no answer to that, except that processing all of this, looking at some of my favorite artist's blogs or etsy shops or standalone websites, ranting on my own blog or facebook, all of that is just as beneficial as being actively engaged in the creative process and i know myself. i'd only get frustrated if i started working on something only to get pulled away minutes later and i don't often have more than a few minutes of uninterrupted time. today, i only have my boys but i also feel like i can't use this day to get involved with art because i have a lot of household business to attend to. i suppose i can make any excuse for why i can't make good "artful" use of every spare moment i have but once i get in my creative groove i don't want to let it go. i think most people can relate to that. and so i put it off and put it off until i can steal a few hours here or there. which means i often go weeks without excercising my creative muscles.

i've tried keeping an art journal so i can squeeze unfocused amounts of creative time into my day. so i don't feel like i'm losing my momentum when i have to switch gears and turn into mama or childcare provider. i can work on an art journal alongside my kids as they eat breakfast but can't say the same about a pendant i'm working on, let alone a canvas.

if there is one thing that i cannot stand the most, it's self-pity. probably because that's one of my biggest life lessons this time around. this is why i am looking for working solutions because i know i can make this work, i just don't know how yet. awesomepapa, awesome as he is, is pretty much like "you're on your own, babe." there's not a lot that he can offer because he's so consumed with business ownership. every time i feel like i can ask him for support in this arena, i just end up feeling guilty since he's the breadwinner and stretched so thin already.

where is all of this going? well, i could apparently write a novel and it might very well go nowhere. but the title of this entry says it all. i saw it on someone's daily message from god, or whatever, on facebook. if you know me, you know i'm not all into messages from "god" - but i'll take messages from the universe in any way, shape, or form. and today, this was my message from the universe. yes, the impatient little girl in me needs to slow down. i will have my time but my time is not now. i need to watch kids full-time in order to pay my portion of the bills that only i created. i need to stop using my credit cards, like for seriously, or it will never end and it needs to end so that i can spend the bulk of my days, in a year or two, homeschooling and making art and nothing more because that's my dream.

i need to hold on to what i must do, even if i can't do it now. even it's a long way from here.

so, here's to hoping the world doesn't come to an end in 2012 because i think it will be longer than that before i can do what i must do.

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