I was writing about self care on one of my other projects this morning (STNJ) and recalled that art used to be a thing for me. If adolescent me had seen a future in which I didn’t do art as a regular outlet, she would have been flabbergasted and possibly horrified.
What happened there? Last year my new year’s resolution was to get back into that, but it didn’t take. I was contemplating the fact that nutrition and fitness can contribute to my mindset if I’m in the right place. Did art somehow slip from being something that builds me to something that drains me?
Looking back, when my son died, I spent a month or so in a psych ward and was on a mood leveller for a year, and then for several more years I didn’t let myself feel very much. And I had kids and that takes a lot of energy. My husband had his own business, and later I worked, and the last couple years I worked the lifestyle angle and now I’m in school full time again.
Throughout that I’ve done a lot of writing. Writing is a builder. It may not be good writing in terms of folks understanding it, but it’s helpful for me. I dig out an idea and dust it off and polish it up. I suppose in my aesthetic frame, I’m figuring out what is true and therefore beautiful, if only to myself.
My grandmother didn’t draw or paint much during her mothering and career years. Maybe it’s just that. Though I don’t plan to retire when I’m 64. I guess the kids will grow and move out, theoretically, by the time I’m 60. People joke about how they never really leave, but if your adult child parenting is as involved as your school aged parenting, I’ll make the judgment that you might have done something wrong. Maybe I’ve done something wrong, that I still have to worry about clothing and feeding people as much as I do. I have no idea what Cedar can wear to church tomorrow.
Mostly when I think about talking to my younger self I have hopeful things to say. It gets better. But I don’t think she’d understand on this. I haven’t abandoned creative endeavors. I think of when my older brother tried to explain what happened at the end of Xenocide, before I’d read it. He said it got weird at the end, about a guy creating a reality where he was well. That’s kind of what it’s been. That wasn’t how I understood the story, but my brother’s description of it is what fits my creative endeavor of the last 2 decades.