A few years ago, in a Target parking lot, a man asked me how I liked my car. Is it fuel efficient? Looking back, probably trying to pick me up (He told me I could stay at his guest house sometime), but I was looking for something. A sign. Not a man.
He asked what I did, and I gave him my typical response of, ‘Oh, I stay home with my kids, but I aspire to do more.’ He asked what I wanted to do. I said something creative. He said I look like a beautiful, creative person, and asked what is holding me back from doing so. I couldn’t really answer except to stumble through some words and come up with, “I have been a stay-at-home-mom for so long I don’t know what else to do.” He told me to spend at least 10 minutes doing something creative and to take care of myself first because if my well is empty then I can’t help anyone else, but if I am full and my cup runs over I can then help others.
Cliche, I know, especially today as we tell mom’s to put the oxygen mask on themselves first, but it still holds truth. And the resistance to give myself 10 minutes of creative work ran a lot deeper than I thought. But with years of struggle and wrestling with all the excuses as to why I can’t do this or why I won’t, I am beginning to settle into a space where I shut my door, and go to my little desk and go through my creative ideas, and listen for the impulses.
Often I am afraid, and distract myself. I am afraid I won’t be able to navigate within a new space. Creativity within the home- now that is a place where I know how to navigate. Create a room in our house. Decorate. Organize. Create some super smooth party, like the birthday luau for my family- with a pig roast, pina coladas in pineapples, hula dancers, and hawaiian singers. Guests even got a Polaroid and a lei when they walked in. But even this kind of creativity hasn’t happened in a while. I’ve felt dry. Mommy life and wifey life and knowing theyself life- well that has made me think life is all about work. As my husband recites often, “Zero fun, sir.”
The creative muscle needs stretching, and this stranger’s advice in the parking lot is as good enough as any, even if he was hitting on me. It just takes some good old fashioned commitment, even 10 minutes to allow space for something new- even if we aren’t sure what to do other than what we have always done. In time, I’ m sure something will surface.