Who would have thought that two weeks in a row I'd be able to participate in the Inspire Me Thursday challenge. I didn't have a lot of studio time over the summer so photography has been the creative outlet of choice, one of my favorites, I might add.
Even though my kids are older (7th and 8th grade) and don't require the kind of hands-on supervision that toddlers do, opportunities were scarce for collage, painting, altering and serious journaling. I didn't mind though, because like my kids, I'm old enough to understand how limited my time with them is; for years I've heard about the dreaded adolescent phase when they won't be caught dead at the mall with me, my opinion will carry as much weight as a grocery list, my witty sense of humor will no longer be funny but a freakish side show, only to be outdone by my lack of style, good taste and tact.
Why am I so sure this is imminent? Probably a little media influence, some recall, a bit of reality. Right now I have a great relationship with them both; they hate me at the appropriate moments, we have loads of fun and talk about serious (private) issues that I understand some mothers aren't privy to; however, the big separation may be around the corner.
Then again, as our lives change and journeys evolve, I find myself enjoying time with them, being selfish even. So over the break, we played in the lake, watched movies, toured the Alamo and spent a whole lot of time doing nothing. I kept a camera on hand and I did manage to work on a couple of art projects, to feed that part of my soul that can't be filled any other way.
Creative expression isn't a hobby, it's a fundamental part of who I am, a necessity - bread and water, breathing. Having children didn't change that; I have written since I first picked up a pencil. I journaled during the first few years of motherhood and then joined a non-fiction writing group as the kids got older, began seriously writing fiction - up until I was diagnosed with this auto-immune illness. Now most of my writing is journaling and on the blog.
My mixed media journey began several months afterwards, as I was coming to terms with the myriad life changes. More often than not, art has been validating, healing, a sanity booster, a meaningful activity that also keeps me connected with a group of artist/bloggers that I would never have otherwise had the opportunity to encounter.
Creating art and blogging has changed my life as profoundly as the illness. It doesn't take away from my being a mother, rather, it is an enhancement. In order to care adequately for others, it's vital that part of my identity reflects who I am on a deeper level. I guess an easier way to say it is, "if momma's not happy, ain't nobody happy."
There are days, weeks even, when I can't get to the studio; after all, life isn't always cupcakes and roses. But I know it's all there, albeit a bit disorganized, waiting for the hour, or half day that I can spend working on a collage, swap project, assemblage, creating another sweet bite of satisfaction to keep my life in balance.