Monday, January 9, 2012

The Creative's* Catch-22

*not just limited to Creatives I suppose, actually.

A friend of mine recently posted a very nice quote on his social media page:
"Simply, do what u love, what makes u happy, your art. The rest is just not important:)"
 Now, first off let me say, I think this is a great quote and super inspiring.  I'm out of coffee at the moment and I STILL got a warm feeling in my insides from it.

Second, I'm most definitely not trying to undermine my friend's reason to post this quote (most likely to inspire) or to call him out on anything.

It's just, the quote really got me thinking.  I mean, REALLY thinking.

I commented on his quote:
"And then you have a baby...and it all changes lol (although, it's not impossible...just full of detours.)"
Because guess what?  For me?  That's all I know.

But the tough part is, at least in my chosen field of goals, I don't know anyone else who has the slightest idea how to relate because I don't know anyone in my chosen field of goals who has been a parent for nearly 12 years, 9 of which have been single-parent status.

(I am lucky enough to have a great friend and co-parenting relationship with my ex-husband, but that doesn't make it as smooth sailing as a two-parent household by any means.  Heck, even two-parent households are hectic.  Parenting is a crazy, emotional and labor-intensive job, case anyone had any question.)

I see a lot of people, like my friend, who post these wonderful, beautiful messages of "go for it!"  "follow your dreams!"  "be who you were meant to be!"

And I like these statuses, both on an internal like level and physically clicking "like" on Facebook.  I adore them, truth be told.  And I try, I try my damnedest to follow and believe them.

But here's the thing: when you're responsible for shaping the life of another human being who loves you more than anything else in the world (and who, as it's my case, is teetering between childhood and teenagerhood--a very delicate and bittersweet time), how can you possibly just let everything else fall away for your dreams?

You can't. There are mortgages and bills and school events and dinners to cook and laundry to do and a house to clean and periods of time where you must dedicate yourself to discussing the latest episode of The Misadventures of Flapjack or a new internet meme with someone who will never know what a cassette tape is and, as I've recently found out, has no idea how to work a landline telephone.

Normally, I forget about this delicate balance.  When I do have my "me" time to do with as I please, I throw myself into it and enjoy the hell out of it.  Although, in the back of my mind I'm probably feeling guilty for not being "good enough" as a mom.  Mom guilt.  This is also a thing.  No matter how available and supportive a mom is, guess what?  She probably feels like she can do more.

And therein lies the rub.  The "damned if you do, damned if you don't" idea.

If I were to throw all of those feel good, inspirational , dream-following quotes down the Bemis, sure...I could devote more time to parenting my son.  Sounds great then, right?  Just give up and you won't feel guilty!

Ah-ha!  That's where you're wrong.  Because in doing that, I'd be doing a great disservice not only to myself...but to my child.  You see, in order to be  a good parent, it's my opinion that you must still follow those things that spark passion and joy within you.  It's almost living by example in a way.  Proving those quotes.  Showing and not telling that yes, dear child of mine, you can do what you know in your heart you are meant to be doing.

So those quotes, they're valid. But they're not all encompassing, I guess is my point.

You see, the rest IS important. I don't have the luxury of screwing up and failing remarkably and only answering to myself and perhaps a debt collector or irate landlord.


If I screw up, I not only answer to myself, a few debt collectors and in my case a mortgage company...but I have to answer to someone who counts on me for just about everything you could ever possibly imagine.

So yes, sure, I can fail...but I can't do so with such unabashed and carefree glory as most of the folks who are also in my field of goals.

And believe me, I have failed...many times.  And I don't really plan to stop any time soon, because I also don't plan to give up.  And the only way you really learn and can see how far you've come is through making mistakes along the way.  Otherwise, what have you to appreciate?  Right?

But for my friends in the biz, community, etc., whatever, I offer this to you as well: the rest IS STILL IMPORTANT.

The "rest" is what makes you "you."  Uniquely.

Don't go blind to the "rest" in order to hunt down your dream and hang it proudly on your wall.  Because when you do that, you miss the good stuff.  Or maybe you don't.  I don't know.

I do know this: my road is winding and often times cracked and hard to maneuver.  I can see all of these other roads around me, they seem so much easier and more carefree, and admittedly sometimes I feel a little envious...I absolutely do (because contrary to some belief, I'm human).

But that unique and challenging road of mine has indeed given me some remarkable gifts.  These gifts don't always make it easier to reach my goals (much like obtaining a smart phone, although great and a lot of fun, has not increased my productivity in any significant way...)

I don't know, I guess sometimes I realize that I've made my own bed, I've determined my life to this point based on the choices I've made, but it would be nice I guess, if someone else could relate to it.  To understand what it would feel like if just leaping and risking a big fall was sort of impossible.

To feel what it was like to have to scale the mountain instead of just bounding over it without fear or hesitation.

And at times, I wish I understood the freedom in what they get to experience by not having to be so cautious.  By not worrying about the "rest."

Actually, I do.  I just haven't experienced it in about 12 years.

But I wouldn't change it for the world.

What I would like to change are these quotes.  Maybe add one or two to the boundless lot that accommodate those of us wearing a safety harness for obvious reasons.  I mean, can a woman (or a man) get a:

"Follow your dreams, never give up, you can do whatever it is you set your  mind to, do what you LOVE...

...but also, fold the laundry, thaw the chicken for dinner, and hug your kid extra tight might take a bit longer, but you'll get there...eventually.  It's totally okay if you can't just leap.
Because remember:  without your baby steps, you'd have never even hit your strides."
 But I will still always appreciate all of those inspirational quotes my friends post, whether they apply fully or not.  Because just the idea of staying positive is an awesome thing.   And there's nothing wrong with that.

Plus, they're great, awesome, inspiring, talented, nice people...and I adore them.

On an unrelated note, thinking about this makes me very happy:

Heaven, apparently, is a freezer.

Look at this freezer.

And yes...that's an almost never-ending supply of different flavors of ice cream.

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