Whenever I start getting restless, grumpy, and overly picky
about things, chances are I haven’t been getting my creative ya-ya’s out.While I enjoy crafting and photography,
nothing gets me back on track like writing.I know this and yet sometimes I go far too long without
The irony, of course, is
that as a writing teacher I am surrounded by writing every day and I urge my
students to create and explore their ideas. I make sure they have sufficient guidance
and material about which to write. I look over draft after draft, deciphering
the true intent of the piece and showing the writer how to prune, fertilize,
and nurture his or her essay, all the while letting my own creativity go by the
wayside as I carry out my duties.
Don’t get me wrong; I love my job.It’s the best one in the world, but in order to do it well, I have to
remember to pull away on a regular basis and nurture my own talent too.
At this time in my life, it’s relatively easy to
nudge myself back on track.As
soon as I recognize my own restlessness with life and dissatisfaction with
small things, I impose a moratorium on grading and housework and give myself an
hour or two to write and think things out on paper.Though sometimes the process is painful and painstaking, I
feel so much better afterwards and I know I am a better teacher/friend/person
because of it.
When I was a young mother, I ached to write and create, but
was so busy putting everyone else’s needs first.I put my own need for creativity on the back burner time and
time again.As wives and
mothers, we dedicate ourselves to others at the expense of our own needs and
society pats us on our heads and tells us how absolutely full and fulfilling
our lives are.
However, we know
that little voice inside of us cries out.
We know, we know, there is more
to us than just the roles we fill for others and yet we let the world drown
that voice out time and time again.
Thank goodness my little voice didn’t die from all those
years of neglect.Believe me, it
should be dead and gone. (There were times during those years when I was so
torn, I wished it were gone, out of my life forever.)Somehow, though, it survived.It’s a stubborn little thing and even though it manifests
itself in odd ways sometimes, it always welcomes me back graciously when I give
it the attention it needs.
I think about my nieces and young friends who are in the
midst of child-rearing, the hustle and bustle of jobs, and taking on the bulk
of the responsibility of maintaining a household.I want to tell them being creative, taking time for
yourself, heeding that little voice within is neither self-centered nor
selfish.It’s crucial for you,
your children, and your mate.
you claim time for yourself and exercise your creativity in whatever way feeds
your soul, you will be a better mother, a better wife, and a better
person.You will blossom when you
spend on your ideas and creativity.The small stuff goes away.The meaningless irritations melt. By creating, and doing what YOU want
to do, you take yourself to a higher plane and get some perspective.You thrive and, thus, others around you
“Finding” this time does not work and neither will waiting
for someone to grant it to you.It is a rare spouse or child who will give you this time.You must honor yourself enough to claim
it for yourself.Speak up
and claim it.
Ah, but won’t this cause conflict?Oh yes, the three classic forms of conflict—person vs.
person, person vs. environment, person vs. self—they are all involved here,
aren’t they?That will not
change.Those conflicts will
Do the thing
you need to do anyway.
Claim the time.Claim the space.You are
God didn’t give you
talent to watch it wither.Nurture
that deep need within you even if it means taking time away from what others
deem more important.You know what
you need.Listen to that voice.
For here is the harsh truth from Aunt Betty:The years will pass. Your children will
grow up and move into their own lives.Sometimes, even spouses go away when we least expect it.And there you are.
There you are.
You, and your voice.
My wish for you is that you both be
clear, bold, and strong.