Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Sense of Worth and Guilt. An Artists' Journey

Last night began a wave of creativity.  I spent hours of my nighttime knitting; and then reading.  Today, I indulged in quilting and photography.  I felt good about the quilting, but the photography lead me in a direction of looking up free photo editing software; then posting on a gallery/store website some of my older photos. Some of the photos are of my children. I am proud of them (of course because I love my children) but also from an artistic standpoint. I felt they came out really well--captured something I wanted to capture.  At some point, I started thinking of the photos as art, rather than personally "my kids"..so I posted them, but I felt a nagging feeling about "selling" pictures of my kids.  I later, put them in a gallery that needed a password in order to truly access the images/buy them.  

My toddler started to get restless. A part of me, thought I "should be outside" with her; taking her somewhere. The weather has been phenomenal. She was playing in the backyard quite a bit, but I was not doing a very good job as a mom today.  This need to spend creative time has been overwhelming to me lately.  Also, trying to figure out a way to supplement our income in a creative way; is also driving me.  

My kids were fine for the most part during my mental absence.  Not entirely.  I know I was a little too absent; and it was starting to not feel "right"--I wasn't sure how to break out of it; once the flow had begun, though..  In some ways, the day was wasted. I did not seize the outdoor opportunities with my children.  I was on this personal/career/creative track, but I was not sure if it was going to pay off.  It could be that I totally wasted my time.  I am a novice at many things.  Kind of good at them, but not superbly good at them.  And on top of it; it is just hard to be an artist and to market ones work, even if you are phenomenal at what you do.

I feel guilty for spending all this time in my head.  These ideas floating around may never work out.  Selling cards of my photos.  Making pillows out of afghan squares and selling them.  Printing larger images and framing them; and displaying them at a coffee shop for sale. Creating a children s book with some of my photos. So many ideas require initial overhead.  Overhead that may never work out if they do not sell.  I am trying to figure out what my "big project" should be.  What should I focus on?  Writing a book?  who to write for? what should it be about?  starting a knitting business?  knitting custom orders?  tutoring college students with their writing? babysit?

Thinking about homeschooling my son.  And wondering if I can truly help him learn what he needs; help him get excited about learning again; when that love of learning has almost all but died within him.  How can I serve my children and also be true to this need to "create something"?  

I am impatient.  I want to be able to write that novel now, but I need to practice every day.  I need to really work on my writing craft; not just in essay form, but also in fiction.  I want it now.  I feel this urgency.  But, I also feel this pull of guilt; like I shouldn't be going down this path..just yet..  I think of my almost 3 year old; her face, and how little I was really with her today.. It makes me sad.  

How can I find this balance?  Perhaps for me, it is okay to have a creative "day" or two?  Then, intense attention and outings with my kids.  Once I am in the "mode" of feeling creative; I don't want to stop it.  I want that whole day of being submerged in it; swimming, and musing, creating, and researching.  I also want those full days with my kids too; playing, paying attention to them; cooking special foods.  I may not be a one-hour a day woman.  I think I need "chunks"--to immerse myself in that focus; be it, writing, or crafting; or being with my kids.  I may not be the best multi-tasker..  

Then there is the house...Ug, the house.  It is so often forgotten; until, it screams at me to clean it.  I immerse myself in cleaning too, when it is time to; power clean for a whole day--and it feels exhausting, but good when it is "better"--It is never ever done.

I feel a little bit off even having this dilemma.  Am I lucky to even have this dichotomy?  This choice?  I want so badly to find a way to earn an income (in a way I enjoy) and still be able to be with my kids-parent them, still be present with them.  Is there a way for me to do this?  Or is this like the "false American Dream?"

In some ways, I see this as a feminist struggle-a struggle of being a full time mom; and that being in my heart what I want to do; but also this nagging need to feel valued--  Then another angle; is how many people feel fulfilled anyway?  Millions of people; working in sweat shops--how fulfilled do they feel in their work?  This self-actualization and fulfilling career idea may only be for the privileged..a small select minority of the worlds' population.  Does feminism really apply here on a global scale?  I feel guilty for wanting that "dream" of fulfillment; is that really what life is about?  I am thinking that life is about something other than that.. When the reality of most any man or woman is not about self-actualization.  Self-actualization may only be if you have your other needs met first?  Maslow..  And really?  My life is so full already without this "dream"--that I am also going to "create" something special too--something beautiful and I can make that my livelihood...I am worried it may be too much to ask; when I already have so many blessings to be grateful for.

I would not trade the time with my children while they are young for anything!  Why now; am I feeling antsy?  Maybe because it is time to start thinking..because they are getting older..and a new phase will be beginning when they are all in "school"--(unless I home school)


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