The defeated feeling that this is the bed you've made. The bed of packed lunches, dirty dishes, piles of laundry, toilets that need to be scrubbed, homework to check, sheets to change, children to badger, errands to run and meals to cook. You've made this bed and now you have to lie in it. Go ahead. Lay down in your housecoat and your slippers with your hair in a ponytail and food down your front. Put your packed schedule and never ending to-do list next to you so you can refer to them often. Lay down and feel the weariness, the resentment, the confidence that what you do is neither noticed or appreciated by anyone.
The same anyones who come around behind you and undo all the work you've just completed. All the time, clutching at you demanding more and more and more. The tasks are never completed. There is no time-clock allowing you to punch out and head out for drinks. You never can do enough. Never.
Now, this feeling is not there all the time. Just some of the time. Many days, I take pride in my job and how good I am at taking care of my family.
But, I find that I sometimes need attention that has nothing to do with my home duties. And I am having to re-learn how to ask for this. What I want to say, is I have to re-learn how to be selfish. That sounds horrifically conceited. LIke I should be walking around in big sunglasses with a teeny-weeny dog in a pink sweater as I head for the Chanel store.
Isn't the job of mother, by definition, selfless? Aren't we supposed to mirror the Goddess and give and give and give? To always be there for our children? To lead a child centered life? How could I possibly think of trying to break from that tradition? Wasn't I striving to lead a life inspired by the mothers of the mid-20th century? What kind of horrid person was I?
I was the kind of horrid person who allowed herself to feel that way. I just needed to do something different.
So,I went back to what I know works for me. Lipstick. Wilson Pickett. Painting.
I took inventory of the courageous things I had done, not the least of which was my bravery to start calling myself an artist. Not a hobbyist, not a 'painter'. I am an artist. Not a person who is trying to be an artist. I am creating art without effort, just letting myself do what I feel without feeling the need to explain or thinking of the end result.
On the 3rd I found an image I wanted to paint. And I worried that I wouldn't be able to make the perspective work. That it would end up flat and awkward. Then a voice asked me "So? What's the worst that could happen? You fuck it up? So you fuck it up. This isn't dispensing chemotherapy. No one's life is at stake. Paint over it if it's not what you want." And that was the truth. So I fuck it up. To really fuck it up would be to give into my insecurity and fear and not try.
How trite and stereotypical that sounds! But I was working with embracing the trite and stereotypical. No questioning or judging what I do that makes me feel better about what I'm doing. At least, making the attempt to squish the desire to not leave my comfy, cozy nest of stagnant non-movement.
I was further inspired by someone from high school contacting me on Facebook (Facebook again!) who appeared to have not changed at all. In appearance, in attitude, in philosophy. Still in the high school persona they'd created. Still in the comfy, cozy world they'd made for themselves two decades ago.
Stagnant = choosing to not look for any new joy that might be out there in the big, wide, scary world.
A place I really, really didn't want to be in. Time to keep walking. Time to put my bobby sock and leopard skin flats back on for whatever path I was getting ready to take.