In the five years of becoming and being mum to two children, as well as relegating my needs and desires to the dumps, 2017 is finally a year of change, where I allow some recognition of the importance of self before others. About time, isn’t it?
It has been six months of facing my fears, doing what I would never have dreamt of doing before, putting myself out there waiting to be preyed on or judged (or both). I have been a beneficiary of teeming generosity and kindness of people out there, and have also shrunk in horror at the manipulative ways of scheming strangers who prey on the originality of my work. It has been an eye-opener, and I know that what I face is just the tip of the iceberg.
More so than ever, allowing myself to know what I am afraid of and yet, push ahead anyway, is single-handedly one of the most delicious, liberating experience I have ever had in my life. You know that pounding heart, the dry mouth and white knuckles on a death grip, followed by the surge of relief, joy, fear and exhilaration after that first, weightless drop on a rollercoaster ride that you have been dying to get on if-only-you-had-more-guts-but-you-went-on-it-anyway-because-MOMENT-OF-FOLLY? It’s that, but a million times better.
The creative process is marked by moments of inspiration, sparks that ignite when one least expects it, and the transience of discovery and revelation is what every creative person lives for. But, not everyone lasts long enough before these moments show up. That negative space, that gaping void between such moments is real, often meandered and punishing, and how one deals with that is directly related to whether one succeeds more often than fails.
Now, this is a harsh reality for me. Being a mother to two young children means that I often have to drop everything at once for my family. Ill health, bleeding wounds, tender hearts and empty stomachs are not well-acquainted with the virtue of patience. I have lost count of the number of times when I had to throw everything out of the window to attend to the needs of my family mid-spark. With that, I have also lost count of the number of times I felt frustrated, anxious and stifled by such untimely interruptions. And the guilt for feeling vexed in the first place, oh that guilt.
But they are part and parcel of Life. The rules are simple. If I want something I have never had, then I have to do things that I have never done. If I want to pursue what I am doing now whilst having a family to love and care for, then I have to learn to take that wretched negative space in stride. It’s not easy for me, and I am still struggling with this drought, but I want to put this down in writing to remind myself that it’s okay to be interrupted for as long as it is necessary.
Because, at the end of the day, what matters most is my family. My children, husband, parents and siblings. I am who I am because of them and the unconditional love they have given me.
Tonight, as I cuddled my second-born to sleep and kissed his smelly cheeks (which were smeared with drool….BOYS), I lamented those minutes before that had passed us by. The adorable way he ploughed through bedtime stories, the way he insisted on propping the pillows up in exact positions before he snuggled up to me for bedtime cuddles, the giggles when I pretended to be a T-Rex sniffing out my prey (that would be him) for quality control (lol). It wasn’t too long ago when he used to fit into one of my arms, and here I am, alarmed at how I could barely contain him in both arms now. My heart wept a little when I realised that I have always been running out of time with my loved ones, from when I was a child with nary a care in the world to the mother I am today. Time has never been on my side.
Everyday, there are wounded hearts to mend. Boo-boos to kiss away. People to love. Precious moments to ‘Be There For’, ones that could have been lost forever if we stopped taking notice. Grey hairs that betray the finity of time. Creeping inches and wiser comebacks that I may have missed. Chubby cheeks that will no longer be one year down the road. And who knows when we have to say goodbye to one another? So whatever it is that I am working on can absolutely wait. I may not be getting where I want to be as quickly as my heart desires, but that’s okay, because They can’t wait. We can’t.
Photo by: Grow Old With Me