A few days ago when my friend popped by with her toddler, I was on the verge of apologizing for the disaster-state of my house when I realized I’d just finished cleaning it only an hour before. I let go of my need to make excuses, hoped she wasn’t taking silent inventory of the Cheerios I’d missed with the vacuum.
And I was going to give you some long-winded explanation about how I didn’t have time to style my hair before Shaune turned into a paparazzi snapping these terrible pictures of me without warning. But the truth is, I did style it and not only that, I asked him to take some photos of my new haircut for my blog. Sadly these are the best he could do with what I gave him. What can I say? This is how I usually look, with a few rare days of good hair in between.
There’s a feeling that washes over me every few weeks – a feeling which never fails to bring me down. It’s a wagging finger during my busiest times, when balance is elusive, the demands of work and family leaving me exhausted, too spent to indulge in my art. It convinces me that I will never amount to anything writerly, that inspiration when ignored too many times will stop showing up.
It’s the same feeling I get sometimes when I catch a glimpse of my aging 40 year old self - a mix of well it could be worse meets Really - this is what doing my best to eat right and exercise gets me now?
I had hopes of editing the two books I wrote last year on maternity leave, making this blog a regular place you stop by for sweet little stories, inspiration. Back then, I imagined myself this well-rested, working mom, writing on the side, running the odd half marathon.
I’ve been back to work ten months and I have to tell you: It’s hard. This living and working and raising a family - it is hard work. And none of it looks like the picture you had in your head. You know the picture I’m talking about? The GQ corporate life followed by the sweet obedient vegetable-eating children snug in their beds so you can have a few hours to pursue your other self.
But when I watched this old Ted talk a few days ago (I think it was right about the time Oprah demanded we all read Eat Pray Love) where Elizabeth Gilbert discusses the notion of nurturing your creativity, I realized that I could change my mind. Art doesn’t have an expiry date. I could focus guilt free on what’s right in front of me, write when I could. I loved the story she told about Tom Waits – looking up at the heavens after getting some of his best song inspirations while driving on the highway.
Really? When I’m driving and can’t stop to write this down – this is when you’re [inspiration] going to hit me?