Monday, August 17, 2015

Trading "ors" for "ands"... and some other stuff...

My children.

They are the heart and soul of me.

I loved them when I was a child.

I know that sounds impossible.

But I did.

And my husband too.

But I gush about him enough. ;)



I remember when I was a little girl... pretending... dreaming... longing to be a mommy. Maybe it was because I loved my own mom so much. I don't know. But what I do know is that from the time I was very tiny, I wanted to be a wife and a mommy. Once I entered school, teachers would ask what I wanted to be when I grew up. I would always answer, "A mom." And... I would always get asked again, more specifically what career I wanted. I would have to search my mind and soul right there in that moment.... MOMMY was yelling out of every fiber of my being from my hair to my toes... but knowing what the teacher wanted, I would struggle for the "right" answer.... "Ummm..." "Uhhh..." "A teacher!"  or... "A writer." Or the word "Lawyer" even came out a few times. Ewwww..... lawyer? Really? (No offense to any of my lawyer friends, not that I know of any I actually have) but that was NEVER something I ever actually desired to be. I just knew I was smart, and the teachers expected me to say something smart. So I did. And they were happy and moved on.

In the meantime, the horror movie rebel in me was silently chanting.... "I lied to get you to move on. Because I'm smart. BUT I REALLY WANT TO BE A MOMMY!!!! A MOMMY!!! A MOMMY!!!"

Yep. I remember it like yesterday. It would be hard to forget as it repeated itself at least once a year. Every year. It got uglier as the years went on. My inner rebel enjoyed a good debate as I got older. Most of my teachers did not. Especially my liberal, free thinking, feminist teachers. (No offense to any of my liberal, free thinking, feminist friends, of which I have many.} Even as a young girl it amazed me that these ladies were champions of my right to be whatever I dreamed of being. Unless of course, what I dreamed of being was... a wife... and a mommy. It bothered me that they were close minded about my right to be a wife and mommy if that's what I wanted. But in their point of view, I had obviously been brainwashed to be a submissive self-denying waif by my full-time working, artist, progressive mom who made me watch Vietnam War news stories before kindergarten, and read magazine articles on sexual enlightenment when I got my first zit. Her ultimate marriage advice to me when I was a ripe old 9 was from one of Mick Jagger's wife. Mom had read it in a People Magazine, no doubt.... "Be a kitten in the kitchen and a tiger in the bedroom." Not bad advice actually. But that's not the point. And I am glad to have met feminist friends who DO champion my right and choice to be a wife and mommy. It's a new world, folks!

The point is... My desire to be a wife and a mother came from deep within. It was/is part of my very creation. It's like looking at the blue sky, as far as the eye can see, and thinking it is beautiful. It just "is". It's the part of me that would never have been fulfilled by any other love, by any other gift, by any other means. I love my art. I love my writing. Those MUST come out of me. But even those are not the same. Sometimes my husband asks how I can love him so much, and my only answer is that my heart was created to love him. I just said it one day because I didn't know how else to say it. But that's it, isn't it? I could have been happy with another life. I think I would have been a good wife to any man I married. But my heart is home with him. I knew it the first time we held each other. And it was the same with each child. Each one was the one I had waited for all my life. Each one is THE love of my life. Each one fills a part of my heart only for that one. Yet each one fills my whole heart.

How does one explain that?

One doesn't.

But, this brings me to point B...

We often have a "base" desire... a longing to be or do something central to our being, which is connected to other desires, which are equally "us" yet do not tug at our soul quite so strongly... until... it's time. I have always been creative. Art, writing, and drama have always been a part of my every day existence. I was not the natural classic artist that some of my high school contemporaries were, so I didn't quite think that an artist career was for me. And somehow I always ended up in humanities classrooms instead of creative writing classes. I could write for hours about how the school system betrayed me and overlooked my talents and desires, constantly testing me and deciding I was dreaded librarian status. (No offense to any librarian friends, of which I know I have at least one talented and beloved.) But quiet and cataloguing were what I would have considered among my nightmares, not my dreams.


http://www.publicdomainpictures.net/view-image.php?image=50601&picture=books


But... isn't this something??? Just now. Right now.... this minute... while writing this blog post I realized something! What if I was being saved? You see as much as I resent that my guidance counselors forced me to take advanced academics classes rather than attend pottery at the voc school, which would have actually prepared me for a dream career..... If... If I had taken classic art classes and creative writing classes, I may have succumbed to the syndrome of becoming a clone of my teacher at the cost of my own creative spirit. Now... mind you, I am not opposed to formal education in all circumstances. It has it's place. I want my brain surgeon to have a doctorate. I want my architect to understand weight bearing distribution. And yes... a little extra grammar and punctuation wouldn't hurt my writing skills. I will get to that before I finish the novel... I promise.



Can I be candid? Dear Lord, don't let my daughter read my blog... I liked my daughter's singing style better before she got her music degree. I remember her telling me about her various vocal coaches at school. It was obvious to me that they were trying to put her... or KEEP HER in her place. THEY were the teacher, and the student was NOT going to surpass them in talent or performance. It was an ego thing. I didn't press it. My daughter pronounces things very well now. She still sings like an angel. But a bit of her "edge" was trimmed off.  My younger daughter still has lots of edge. She does not pronounce every single word correctly. I pray she never gets a music degree.

I have also listened to many artist friends share about how they left art school. Or maybe they got that degree, but sold a bit of their creative soul to get it. That is not always the case. And thankfully, many artists and singers work hard to forget 90% of what they learned in college to go on and express themselves wholeheartedly in their work, and find great personal and professional success. I have friends who have writing degrees who write stuff I cannot bring myself to finish reading. And I have amateur friends whose writing entertains and delights to no end.

By no means is there an absolute here. But in the spirit of always looking on the bright side, I am going to err with destiny being on my side. I have read time and time again that successful people do not complain or look for excuses. So, rather than blame my late start on the academic system of my youth, I shall focus on fate stepping in, and keeping me 100% original... like a fine wine... I have been aging, and waiting for that perfect moment to be enjoyed by those who would appreciate the full body and intoxicating spirit. ;)


Okay.... Okay.... this was about babies, right? Or Mommying? Or was it about dreams, and what I wanted to be when I grow up.

Here's what this whole story boils down to. I just read an awesome article about "ands" instead of "ors" over at Jen Sincero's blog. It really nails it. (read awesome article here). And I have realized that NOW is that time to trade my "ors" in for "ands" when it comes to my dreams of family AND creativity. Those two sides have existed side by side within me for most of my life. Family was always the stronger pull. And I have certainly given my family 100% of me for a very long time. I have dabbled with my creative dreams for a long time, and enjoyed some success. But... It. Is. Time.

My babies are not babies anymore. My sweet littlest guy just turned 6. He is working on his black belt for crying out loud! If he can be a ninja warrior at the age of 6, then mommy can paint that painting, and write that book! Heck... we can do it all together. Because I want him to see that you don't have to wait until you're all grown up to be what you want to be. And you don't have to have it all figured out at 6, or 16, or 26. There may even be times when one dream rightfully takes center stage... where it belongs and is cherished. But, there comes a time when your "ors" have to be traded in for "ands" or your dreams will become "if onlys".
 
 
So class... Today we learned that I wanted to be a mommy more than anything. I have issues with formal education. And I am still working through things, and figuring out my own life. LOL! I am glad that after all these years I am still learning things about me, and open to seeing my same old story a band new way. My schooling formation will no longer be my excuse for not starting sooner. It will be the miracle that kept my art and writing purely me.... for better or for worse.

Thus begins a new lease on life, moving forward with new eyes! No excuses. Facing fears. Trading in my "ors" for "ands". I am a wife & mother AND an artist & writer!!! I like it. Thanks God. Thanks Jen. Thanks sucky providential education system. I'm not perfect. I'm still growing. And growing beats dying any day.
 

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