Motherhood — it's teaching me to trust myself, to reach somewhere in the depths I never fathomed or knew existed in my being and pull out only the very best parts. Motherhood is reminding me of who I want to become and how I can become that; it's shaping me, molding me, in ways I couldn't expect, and with that, shaping and molding my art too.
I guess you could say that motherhood is doing nothing short of changing me, but also at the same time grounding me, a peculiar balancing act for who I have been designed to be, and how I wish to create myself. Motherhood has quickly become the answer to questions I didn't even know I had or understood. Which brings me to the next paragraph...
There was a time in my life where painting ran its course in my blood, and for quickly passing hours I would spend each day stretching canvas, pushing myself to create, to get into that glorious flow state before I even knew what a flow state was. I was whole when I was at the canvas, completely involved, completely aware, and yet challenging myself to be more in ways that gave me an unexplainable high. This soon transferred and transformed itself through the lens of my camera as I began documenting the people and places I loved and longed for the most. It was the paint drippings and stained hands that acted as my tokens, always taking me back to a certain state of mind — all the while discovering new dimensions and details of what it meant for me to be an artist. But as you grow up, doubts seem to grow with you. In the thoughtless moments that would pass I let the opinions of other people or lack thereof take my art into different directions, and then began the looming self-doubt, and the questioning,
"Do I even have the right to call myself an artist? Is my art even any good to begin with?"
Over the years I let go of color, I played it safe with composition, and considered myself a minimalist because of my understanding and drive to openness, and the delicate balance of positive and negative space in my work which I had always loved — but this was different, this felt sterile. I was trying so hard to fit everyone else's cookie-cutter mold of what masterful paintings actually looked like, what great photography should be, what inspiring content was defined as; although I still loved individuality, I had somehow sadly lost my true north, and the questions grew more daunting, "Am I really an artist? Is my work even art?"
Sadly over the years in the midst of searching for the answers of these self-depreciating questions I shed the title of artist altogether, and began my trek starting somewhere back at square one trying to figure out who I was, and what my identity would be defined as — naturally by crowds of people who could never know myself only the way I can, which is quite possibly the most tragic irony of them all.
During my pregnancy — which I have a lot to say about in general — I started noticing whimsy and reckless abandon courting my creativity once again, shyly at first of course, asking to come back into my ideas and work, begging me to once again take a leap of faith, and dive boldly into making art again. I think it sparked at pregnancy because, well, pregnancy is really other worldly, I'm not sure how else to state it. There is a living being inside of you that isn't you at all, but you can only hope that it contains the best pieces of you, and then at the same time it's also part of someone else, but not just someone else, it's living proof and pieces of the person who you've come to love the most, and yet it really is a life of its own, a person who you will come to love in such unfathomable amounts it seems utterly impossible, yet it is — it's what I would describe as pure magic. That magic that gave me this title of "motherhood" was a window opened to a vision of myself that I thought was long gone, that I didn't even know went missing. I'm not sure how a mere small seven pound person with flesh and blood can give you leaps and bounds of confidence and love with just a blink, or how holding them in your arms is like looking into the soul of eternity — but it does.
As this courting continued with my creativity and my unconstrained whimsy there was a point toward the end of my pregnancy where I began pondering several things, one which was the type of home Brian & I would create for our children, the other my word for the year, and in the middle of it all this Steve Jobs speech fell in my lap, and it was like this light bulb covered in thick layers of dust exploded into a million earth shattering pieces, bursting into a dazzling show of fireworks, and all of a sudden there I was "connecting the dots backwards" as my good friend Steve puts it. Whimsy and creativity were once again in love.
Motherhood has given me the brave heart, the self validation I wanted for so long all while pushing me to discover the new dimensions and details of who I am as a person, who I am an artist — I guess you could say that it's my heart's very own flow state. As I connected the dots backward I saw that life wasn't perfect, nor would it ever be perfect, but it was and could be beautifully satisfying — a glorious kaleidoscope of color, light, shape, love, ideas, and sound, or more plainly put, a work of art. I now find old parts of myself coming back to life with the exciting anticipation and belief that being an individual means always renewing and revolutionizing on such a deeply personal level, perhaps you could say creating this new definition of who I am, tapping into newfound pieces of my identity, my soul, all while welcoming back the fragments that had gone missing — all because of motherhood.