Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Sleepless Words: Free Pass

Emaline and I move through most days on a steady rhythm. There are smalls bumps and detours but we have learned each other. I know what she needs and how to soothe her. I know when she needs sleep and I know when we can play. And I knew yesterday that she just wanted to be held. Most of the day, everything was done with a baby in my arms. And as I held her and flipped through an old notebook, I found something I wrote when she was brand new. It is choppy and incomplete because so were my thoughts when this fell onto the page.

 When so much nothing is everything.

Days are filled to the brim. I move with intention and blurry focus. But when the sun settles for the night and my body curls into the dark, I search for something to show and have nothing new to present.

The baby sleeps and a growing to do list rattles my thoughts. Her tiny chest moves up and down. These are the days with a new baby.

This time is fleeting, so temporary, and so important that I carry a pass. A pass that allows one subject to press my mind and consume my heart.

But still, I search and yearn and promise that tomorrow there will be more.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

For Her: For Me

 A few weeks ago, I was hanging out with a few girl friends and we were discussing why women are not able to take a compliment. A few minutes later, my friend told me that I looked fantastic. I immediately shot her down and expressed frustration with trying to lose baby weight. She called me out for doing exactly what we were just talking about.

I have realized since that night, how often I practice negative self talk. It happens almost every day.

When I found out that I was having a girl, it focused my mind to a set list of joys and worries. I want to protect her but not in such a way that she is not able to experience the world. I want to hold her up and not hold her back. I worry about boys breaking her heart and friends breaking her trust. I worry about the pressure that is put on girls to look a certain way.

I have spent a lot of time thinking about what I can do to combat some of the challenges that she will face. I have come up with one seemingly simple answer. Nick and I need to develop her confidence. I want to send her out in the world with the knowledge of who she is and all she has to offer. If she knows her strength, power, and beauty she will be able to make better decisions. She will be able to walk away from troublesome boys, weak friendships, and damaging choices.

Children practice what you do but not always what you say. With this in mind, I have decided to break myself of negative self talk. If I tell her how wonderful she is and then knock myself down, the message is muddled. When I catch myself saying something critical, I replace it with something positive. If I can change the statement, I hope to eventually change the message.

I challenge you to be mindful of your own internal communication for one day. 

Thursday, October 3, 2013

The Critic Does Not Count: Small Bursts

I never intended to stay away that long. I could offer a plethora of excuses. Emaline is the most obvious. She keeps me busy and is very distracting. She redirects my creativity and refocuses my attention, making it difficult to sit and write. But she is not the only reason. My computer stopped working around the same time that I finally got an iphone. I always thought that having a smartphone would make blogging easier. The tiny portal to the rest of the world is convenient for many things but I don't like it for writing.

Yesterday, Nick offered me his computer and so here I am.

Emaline just woke up from a nap and is cooing away in her swing.

And quickly her coos turned into fusses. So now it is a few hours later. She is taking her second nap and I am back to writing. I guess this speaks to not really owning my time. It has taken me awhile to realize that I can still accomplish the things that I want, but not always when I want.

I am on week three of the Artist's Way. The changes are small but noticeable. Cracks are forming and inspiration is starting to seep through. I have been having vivid and fantastic dreams. I am writing everyday. I have realized that writing does not have to be all or nothing. I can write in small bursts. I can write because I love it. I can create something new, not for critique but, as an expression of who I am. It is liberating to believe that my job is to put words on a page and what happens after that, is not for me to decide.

"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” 
-Theodore Roosevelt 

Elizabeth Gilbert spoke about this in her Ted talk. Oprah has talked about this many times, most recently with the author of The War of Art. And this morning, the most eloquent blogger that I read daily, said this.

I have always been protective of my art. It was a big deal when I was younger to share my stories. It was a big deal in 2009 when I decided to start a blog. Putting yourself out there is scary. But I am also learning that vulnerability can be a good thing. And so I will try. I will try to be honest. I will try to be brave. I will try to share my voice.

She is starting to wiggle and coo. Her eyes are still closed but I know what comes next.