Am I a Writer or Mother?

We all experience those moments of feeling inadequate. Of wanting to quit over pushing past something that seems impossible. We all feel it whether we admit it or not. I’m not meaning to sound so egotistical…to know and understand what every person feels….but I’m confident that it is probably true.

When I feel that way…I normally quit. Why spend your life feeling that way? Why put yourself through that when some days it’s hard enough to just get through to the other side?

I had this dream last night that I discovered I had breast cancer. I remember a feeling of pain and giving into the illness realizing I had no other choice. I remember watching random people around me and struggling within myself to decide whether or not I should hide the illness from others or tell everyone I knew to find a positive twist on the inevitable….I sat through my internal version of chemo…having never had anyone all that close to me go through that; the dream was pretty detailed…I remember how it brought my spirit down and yet I struggled to figure out how I could help people within my current situation.

I have my hopes and dreams of the future…I try hard to work on them and make baby steps in the right direction…in some direction that is not just sitting still as a mom…but I feel inadequate. I’m reading a couple of plays this weekend. Preparing for a meeting coming up that will involve discussions and breaking down the structure and character…what makes the writing good? What makes it effective in the dramatic world of theatre? I always wanted to be involved in the theatre. Over the last couple of years I came to believe that it was through my words that I would stay connected….my ego was brighter than my talent…I’ve discovered. Or perhaps I’m experiencing a low right now…I hope so…because I have a lot of ideas….and although I don’t believe I’m going to win any pulitzer prize aware or Dora Mavor Moore Aware…I thought for sure that if I kept writing I could hit one good one….one good piece that would make it to Broadway or hit the big Canadian theatres…just one piece that would make all the writing worth while…

But tonight I’m insecure. I’m writing a blog instead of working on a play. I’m drinking…slowing down my production level in order to find some comfort and release after a hard week. I’ve got my own business, I work on my art, work with my kids’ school, train my dog, make the meals, clean the house….a never ending routine of keeping everyone around me happy. I’m not complaining…I’m happy. I’m willing to put in the work in order to be there for my kids and include many other children into my extended family….there’s something about the laughter and silliness of toddlers that puts life into perspective. I don’t ever want to put myself through an office job, or any other type of 9-5 job that takes me away from my children and my house and away from doing the things that I love to do….

But I struggle. Just like anyone else who is willing to look beyond their noses at what is really going on. I struggle to put in all in balance. I struggle to feed myself as much as I feed the kids. I struggle to have time to learn and explore and be…me.

And so I’m attending the women’s room meeting on Monday. I have to read two plays for the meeting and both I started hating. I hated both because of the lack of connection. I hated both plays because they are both one person shows that I find to be self indulgent and void of intimate connection.

And those opinions bring me back to my feeling of self inadequacy. Both plays have won awards so they are officially good. (The reason behind why we are obligated to read them) But I don’t care. If I don’t enjoy plays that have a legacy of success and acclimation…perhaps I’m the one who is stupid. Perhaps it is motherhood where I belong to be.

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#metoo

I felt bad for him when I first heard about Bill Cosby and all the accusations. I felt bad for him. I grew up loving him so much…feeling so strongly about him as a perfect father figure…that well, it couldn’t have been true. Could it? And if it was, it couldn’t have been his fault right?

#metoo.

So many. So very many.

It’s so much in your face right now…for the first time. It makes me feel guilty, uncomfortable, and at the same time so freaking insane that I am experiencing any of those feelings in the first place. Intellectually I understand, and loathe what has happened for centuries….but emotionally I’m caught within an internal struggle of emotions.

I look back over my past and I see myself as an instigator. I craved attention and praise so strongly that I was willing, over and over again, to put myself into inappropriate, unsafe situations. I even used those situations to my benefit at times….but where did I learn that? Where did I learn that any attention from the male sex was good attention? It didn’t start that way…

I developed early. Grade six was filled with underarm hair and periods…I was embarrassed and afraid to bring attention to my changing body when so many other classmates were not growing the same.

Summer camp that summer was a blur of attention from the ‘cute’ boys as they closely watched, exaggerating the bouncing of my newly developed chest. So uncomfortable. But I went and endured and somehow ended the experience turning it around into attention that none of the other girls at camp were getting…To be able to not let it affect me I must have been smarter and stronger than the others. I made myself believe that I was in control of the situation. I didn’t tell anyone…I just toughened up, took it on the chin and took control….that has been the case now for most, if not all my life.

Perhaps that was my turning point. The moment that I hope to God I can prevent from happening to both of my girls.

I know that I cannot protect them forever. But again, I believe it comes down to our children. Don’t let your children accept bullying, or name calling. Equip them with the tools to communicate their fears and wants. Rape and sexual harassment, labeling and discriminating are NOT ok and should be reported immediately….it’s not glamorous and romantic to be felt up by someone you look up to, no matter how much power they have. Teach our children to not look for approval outside themselves…that love grows from within. That they have control of their lives and no one else….But we also need to teach our children about how to love…what love should feel like, and what it shouldn’t feel like.

My opinions are not new. I’m aware of that. But I’ve been there. I have experiences that even now make me feel like I was the instigator. I was NOT. I will repeat those words to myself every day until I truly believe them. And I will teach my children the same…

I’m inspired by everything women have accomplished this year. It makes me proud to be a woman and hopeful about my daughters’ futures. We have united, spoken out together, and have been heard. It’s a fantastic beginning…

 

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…It’s Almost Time…

And then there are days when things are calm. When all the craziness I’ve created around myself quiets down and I know things are ok. When the energy is settled and the weather changes and I can hear sounds around me that are normally washed away by the never ending words in my head.

There is a lot of change around me now. The change of the seasons, and the weather, the change of routines and moods. Everything is different and yet the same and some days it is suffocating and then other days it is soft and light and…purifying. When everything just falls into place and there is a clearing of the fog and it all seems possible. Things feel possible. And there is relief.

I worry that I create too much, do too much, feel too much. But then I worry about not doing enough.  I have a fear of missing out, of not creating, of missing an opportunity…but then I also fear breaking. Of being wound so tight that I shatter beyond repair. I can do quiet. I can do calm and still to rejuvenate. Everyone needs to rejuvenate. Even superheros need a break…but then it’s off again to the next adventure…to the next possibility that may make or break me.

I often think of successful people. Artistically or otherwise. And I imagine what their crazy days must be like and how they plow through in order to continue and that somewhere back in their history they made that conscious decision. They made a choice to begin the craziness in order to get to where they are today. I think of that and it makes my day feel achievable.

I’ve been told many times to take time for self care. I’m not good at that. I’m not good at stopping and I’m definitely not comfortable in a space of self kindness. Soft encouraging words and embraces are fantastic from time to time, ironically often from a distance. But access of those warm fuzzies tend to make me squirmy. Funny. Because often it’s what I crave most. Obviously there are portions of maturing that I skipped over during my 42 years….what can you do?

Well, it is almost time for my next adventure. I can feel it brewing… You could say that I’ve been working on my latest one this week…He is a beautiful, cuddly little ball of fluff that takes a good portion of my patience and time but his kisses are irreplaceable. I had almost forgotten how it felt to have an obedient, joyful, loving companion.

But I’ve been playing with a new idea for a bit….will work on some sketches maybe this weekend among everything else….and prepare for my next jump…

…it is almost time….

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Deafening Silence is Alive

I had just a few moments today that were quiet. I had forgotten what it felt like to walk alone…to be quiet and alone and eventually even lonely. I think I became lonely quicker than I expected. I had a taste of what it used to be like…when I was alone and I could just be….be without anything or anyone else….it was lonely. I remember that vividly. It was very lonely. It was so lonely that at times I was desperate for anyone…anyone who could break it….even those who I was fully aware would bring me nothing good. They were better than the loneliness.

I felt it today and I struggled to put it into perspective. I wanted to run away crying for the life I have built for myself. But I didn’t. I sat, or stood, in that loneliness…and it fit ok. It fit like a dress that I thought I was too old for…a dress that made me feel younger and alive…and I fought with myself to allow that dress to sit on me even though I knew I had outgrown it.

So, what do you do when your inspiration has failed you and you’re afraid of starting any project? You fear failure so strongly that it’s easier to push all creative urges aside….hmmmm…it’s familiar…I think I may have been here before…

I’m tired. And I’m not sure if I’ve ever owned any of my creativity…perhaps it’s all been part of the effects of outer influences…..and if those influences didn’t exist…then perhaps I would have no talent at all.

Now that’s scary.

I had a good day. But I missed. I missed many and no one at all. I missed your thoughts and laughter and your silence. I missed your face, my face…our face together….

I missed the silence.

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Fucking Exhausted

I struggle with a lot of self loathing.

Sometimes I feel like a monster…sometimes that is an emotional feeling and other days it is physical…

There is a large gap between how I feel when I look in the mirror…on a good day…and how I feel when I’ve yelled at my girls and am feeling exhausted and used.

I can sense myself sometimes sit and almost enjoy the anger and frustration that comes out through my words. Like I’m giving into it as if it’s a guilty pleasure….

I think I’m only trying to give words to what many parents experience…or at least I hope I’m not the only one….

There are many super great days that brings tears to my eyes and fills my heart with more love than imaginable….but there are other days when I hate. I hate the choices that brought me to where I am, I hate the words that fly out of my mouth before I have a chance to approve them, I hate the sound of my children’s voices as they knowingly push my buttons…

Parenthood. A blessing and a curse. Maybe that’s too harsh…a blessing and a pain in the ass.

Please understand that I’m using this platform to express my current state of being…I wouldn’t change a single thing. My girls are beautiful, wonderful, kind and amazingly smart little people who look like me and who follow me around and crave my attention and are generally, in many ways, better versions of myself.

As any other parent…I’m struggling…but without the struggle the result doesn’t feel quite as fruitfull so….It happens. Right?

I can’t remember playing as hard as they do. I can’t remember being so…distracted by a thought in my mind….I can call my oldest daughter’s name three or four times before she hears me if she’s focused on something else. I don’t remember feeling that way…It pisses me the fuck off as a parent but….as a child….I’m amazed how she can tunnel vision her way out of anything I want her to do.

There’s no moral to this entry…I love my kids, they piss me off. That’s it. I guess if anything…I miss being one myself. Of being the one who gets away with things…who can experience the consequences of my actions by being sent to my room. I miss that being the extent of my consequences. I miss that state of being. When playing games, or ordering my younger sibling around was all I had to do in a day. All that occupied my thoughts.

I want to teach them by example. I can’t sit on my ass and expect them to be good people. I have to do it first. Show them the way, not tell them. So I’m tired. I’m exhausted and when I’m that tired I feel the self doubt and loathing take over. It’s not ideal by any means but I think it’s a pretty natural response to being over worked, over stretched…by constantly struggling to be the supermom I strive to be.

The days when I achieve that status are freaking fantastic. But they are few and far between.

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I Dare You to Make a Difference

Football.

I’m not a fan…To be quite honest I don’t really get the game at all. I don’t really fancy the uniforms or the big burly men….there’s really nothing there that does anything for me.

Except for Colin Kaepernick.

I get extremely emotional when it comes to a large group of people coming together for…well, really anything. I remember working tennis every year in Toronto and getting a chance to watch part of a match…the silent support of the crowd, the guttural sounds that each player releases as they attack the ball, the cheering, the scattered shouts of encouragement from the fans…it brings tears to my eyes when people can come together like that in support and love. It’s the same when an entire congregation sings together, or a gym full of grade school students cheers one of their own on…waterworks.

Today was the same. I refused to watch but on social media I saw it. I saw many teams take to their knee, a couple of teams show support by locking arms, and another two by staying in their locker rooms…all during the national anthem.

(I realize the political conflict that is created by not ‘respecting’ the anthem of the country…but he spoke of his reasons…and his reasons are very patriotic…the freedom of all Americans…the demand for respect and freedom of all American citizens…that’s full of respect and patriotism.)

The first time Colin took a knee was September 1st 2016. That was over a year ago. It took one year, and some pretty stupid statements by the leader of the free world for others to publicly back him up. One year. He’s been a free agent for about six months…because he decided to stand up and ‘voice’ what he stood for through his actions…and it’s not like what he believes in is way ‘out there’ by any means…he knelt to protest police brutality against minorities. He didn’t have to. It didn’t affect him personally….but yet it did. And I admire his bravery and his choice…his ability to make a public statement that he knew would be seen by thousands.

This is another chance for us all to see how one person can really make a difference. He took a risk. He stood, or knelt for what he truly believed in…and today he finally saw real support for that choice. One man made a choice and just over a year later others followed.

Over and over again I come across people who say you can’t make a difference. Woman’s March on Washington. What’s the point? Why would it matter if you, one extra woman attended or not? Well, let’s look at that. If Colin, just one man, didn’t take to his knee just over one year before now….well then maybe dickhead trump’s popularity wouldn’t be sliding…perhaps people would forget about the 309 black people killed by police in 2016, perhaps we would slowly lose our inspiration to make better choices for ourselves and the United States in a time that smarter, stronger choices are desperately needed.

Make a choice. Make a difference. And stick to it…even when no one is willing to back you up.

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Fighting the Norm

I’ve been watching one of my all time favourite movies; Moulin Rouge tonight. I remember going to see it in the theater at least three times when it came out back in 2001 when I was still living in one of the greatest cities in the world.

I was obsessed with the play on popular songs, the passion of the characters, the mystical world of creativity and how it was displayed as both almost a cartoon and a tragedy. It’s a beautiful film that pulls you into its reality not with great effort really…because honestly it’s appealing in a ‘topsy-turvy’ kind of way.

But if you really look at it…a bunch of women who sell their bodies…specifically one who sells her body for the sake of being able to perform on a stage…and somehow that situation is made so romantic and appealing…that your soul cries for her success with both fame and love while she is dramatically dying for both. It’s a lovely story but…why does it appeal to me? Think beyond the surface of an entertaining film and we have a great example of misogyny that is being fed to young, female minds…and it scares the fuck out of me.

I watch this film and empathize, even long to experience what Nicole Kidman’s character experiences. Ok…so I would like to experience selling my body for the sake of my art until I find that one man willing to overlook my occupation and really love me for…I’m not sure what…my beauty? Talent? Or perhaps its the thrill to love something unattainable. Great choice for me.

No wonder we bring up girls with so many confused emotions about their place in the world. Yes, it is art. And it’s lovely art at that but…when you continue to see death day in and day out you become accustomed and then that becomes your norm. Same thing for misogynistic ideas on the screen.

They start young with lovely, helpless disney princesses…although I admit the princesses have gotten better; no longer requiring the love of a prince to find herself or happiness…and from there we move on to sweet after school specials, tween shows about discovering boys, experiencing their first kisses, highschool pressures, etc. We don’t have much of a chance.

My four year old daughter has already decided that she is fat. Although she does not yet fully comprehend the idea of that word yet…she is well on her way…and that is heartbreaking. My seven year old is aware of her appearance and can be found changing her outfit over and over again infront of the mirror. My hope is that she is experiencing her expressions and that somehow translates into a performance bug. But that hope emerges from my own selfish agenda…and I would just prefer that she be more into playing in the dirt and making crafts.

We can’t stop it from entering their world any more than we can stop shitty American politics from crossing the border. It’s going to happen…eventually.

I just wish we could find a way to prevent our girls from needing to be pleasing, and sacrificial…I wish we could teach them more about speaking up and finding happiness within themselves, for being brave enough to follow their dreams and not what society pressures them to want to do.

I’m not perfect. But I love my girls more than anything in the whole world…and more than anything my goal is to teach through example. I’m not always the best example. Infact sometimes I suck. But I wish that it could be a little easier with the assistance of our societal norm…and so far…I feel like I am struggling to fight against it every way that I can.

I love this movie….but I really wish…..that it could be….different.

DARE TO Change.

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