Saturday, February 14, 2009

Secret 5: Committing to Self-Focus

I'm a little "behind" everyone else; most folks have already moved on to Secret #6. I thought about skipping writing about this chapter altogether, but then I read it and had some thoughts I wanted to share.

One of the quotes from this chapter that I could relate to came from Joan L. Bolker. She wrote,

"One of the most important prerequisites of the creative
process for a woman is the assurance that her work will not rupture the
important connections of her life."

Like the author, my relationships with the people in my life are my top priority. For years, raising my children as a single parent was my priority. But still I managed to find a way to make art. Now as a social worker, I juggle the demands of helping others with taking care of myself. It isn't always easy. But I recognize this is who I am and my connections to people are as vital to me as making art. One feeds the other.

I know that I am fortunate to finally have found a man who wholeheartedly supports my artmaking. This is a Valentine's Day shoutout to my love: Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Thanks for understanding and not begrudging the time and energy I put into making art. Thank you for actually encouraging me to head over to the studio to work! I have spent many years of my adult life as a single woman...and really, this man was worth waiting for!

It will always be a juggling act. I liked that this chapter acknowledged that sometimes in order to be creative and complete art projects, you must "let go"...sometimes household chores must wait when we are listening to our creative muse...and that is o.k. (Thank god, my husband is tolerant of this as well...and he always does the dishes!)

May Sarton summed it up best when she wrote,

"As far as I can see from here almost everyone I know is
trying to do the impossible every day. All mothers, all writers, all artists of every kind, every human being who has work to do
and still wants to stay human and to be responsive to another human being's needs, joys, and sorrows. There is
never enough time and that's the rub.
In my case every choice I make means depriving someone."

I've moved past the "feeling selfish" stage--in regards to the time and committment my art takes. That doesn't mean that I'm not sometimes torn between my art, family work..., but I know that I'm conscious with my time and I'm not depriving anyone to the point of hurting them. As I get older, I think it's become easier to feel "ok" about taking time for myself and my projects.

Perhaps that's one of the gifts of age. I have earned it.


Beth Jaffe said...

Wow! I thought as women we were always supposed to feel guilty and selfish! I can't wait for those feelings to vanish!
ps love the blog!

Michelle Brunner said...

Thank you for writing this! I constantly struggle with feeling guilty for making art and not getting other stuff done! I just started my masters and feel that I should be devoting all of my time to reading educational theories, writing papers and actually doing my "real" job of being a teacher! It is so important to have time for makes us feel alive and real again! Great blog!

Jamie Ridler said...

How wonderful and encouraging!

And I'm celebrating with you the finding of a love that supports you, truly! Reading through people's posts I think there should be a special award that goes out to loved ones who believe in us and support us. Your husband would get one of those for sure!

Thank you for sharing!