Thursday, March 4

thorns and rivers

For over 6-7 years I have been battling, taming, soothing, or healing the shadows around my head. The ones that whisper to me, 'It needs to be better', 'It's not good enough', 'no point in doing it with your mediocre skills'.... and on and on about perfection.

It's a constant tinnitus of doubt in my ear that I had quietened. Or so I thought. Well, I did really, it's just that there was a big chunk left hanging around and it was so buried that I hadn't noticed. Or when I spotted a little corner potruding out I simply dismissed it as unimportant.

Anyway, I wanted to share with you where I am these days.

Face the Unknown, Me

I'm tired. Usually exhausted.
Yes, I know, a broken record. But it's so constant that it effects everything. And unless you are going, or have gone, through it, it's difficult to truly appreciate the impact something so ordinary can have on a person.
Currently going to bed with her at about 1am, up at about 9am, and wakes 3-5 times through the night.
Last night she woke EVERY. SINGLE. HOUR. Today I cried.

I'm content.
Despite the tiredness, I've given myself permission to be creative. To do non-practical art. Husband is supporting me. And although I'm at a place now where I no longer need his support, I'm very glad to have it.
I can do bits between attending to the Wildflower's needs. There's paint on my clothes and my fingers are black at the end of almost every day. The art is gushing out of me. And it's imperfect and clumsy and amateurish and I adore it.

Oh, and if you're interested in journaling, creating, even blogging, with Full Moon questions/prompts, take a look over at my other place.

I'm quieting the inner critic.
Slowly, sometimes painfully, I'm learning to let go, to let loose, to be free with my creativity. It's opening up wounds, but in a good way. Or at least, I'm at a place that I can see it as good. The wounds were festering. In reopening them I can begin to heal them properly. So emotionally, it's a bit odd right now. Lots of frowning and tons of grins.

But my recent mind-decluttering, and my continual softening of what Time means, has me much less anxious. I can't do it all. I no longer want to do it all. Sometimes I cook and sometimes I don't. Sometimes I clean and sometimes I don't. Sometimes I follow a lead on an interesting subject and sometimes I don't. And when I don't, there's no regrets (mostly, still a process), and I simply chalk it up to choosing a better life for myself.

I used to believe I was choosing less. Now I know I'm choosing more. Quality over quantity.

I'm feeling claustrophobic.
I'm desperate to get out of this apartment. We have controlled the mould situation. I lost count of how many loads of washing I did in just two days! Trying to squeeze the most out of the only day of sunshine. So at least I'm not depressed or ill.
Having most of our boxes and stuff strewn all over the place (because we're not using the mouldy rooms) and thereby feeling cluttered, can't be helping.

But I want to get up that mountain, amongst those woods, in a tranquil village. I want to open my windows wide and breathe in the distant muskiness of goats and the crispness of snow-capped peaks. I need to stretch.

I will not mention the unfixed leaks at the house.....

I'm feeling disconnected from those around me.
I fully realise this is largely due to circumstances (sahm w/ high-needs child) and largely of my own making as I'm not very social. While I enjoy meeting up with others - my favourite being a cup of chai and a 1-2-1 engrossing dialogue, that doesn't present itself too often. But my day revolves around the Wildflower's needs - when she wakes, when she'll need to nap, go to bed, have a bath...... or I'm beyond tired and am lucky I can manage to dress myself let alone attend anything.

Instead I watch from the sidelines as parties, weddings, cultural events, and general get-togethers happen around me. Even a baby shower that nobody invited me to. Did they forget 'cause I'm so non-existent?
Odd feelings around this as well. I'm not upset at all or feel excluded. Just observations. Probably more amused than anything. Like, wow, look at me, I've become the Invisible Woman!
I do prefer my privacy and quiet alone time, yet feel a twinge when human contact seems to be occuring from behind a curtain. So what's that about?

And yet again - parallel to that, I have been gifted with the online company of a few of the most amazing and inspiring women I have ever known. We just happen to have never met face-to-face. With them I get to be me, I am supported, I have the best conversations EVER, I am filled with love, acceptance.... oh dear, seems gushy? Well, you get the idea.

So really, I'm getting what I want, no? My personal space and privacy, and meaningful contact when I want it. The Pisces energy against the Virgo moon does amazingly roller-coaster things with your heart.

So a topsy-turvy month. But like I said to a friend earlier - we're doing great in the areas that matter.

Did you realise that the Pisces month is the end of the astro cycle? ... we can often feel around this time a lot of vague discontent. You see, we have been given lots of opportunities during the cycle to sort out our stuff, to let go, to free up, to cut off, to grow, to move forward. Anything we didn't choose to face will carry over. And that's ok, it isn't doom-and-gloom. Not everything takes one cycle.

But it does mean we're feeling vulnerable. Despite weird emotions of late, I'm glad I've dealt with the worst, last year, so I'm going into the new one hopeful and excited.... if sleepy.

I hope similar joy for you as well. If not, then I hope for the strength to face further challenges.


  1. Good for you! Love your Alice in Wonderland art here and on your other blog.

  2. So much in here... I'm going to be thoughtful and catch you elsewhere. I think what you are doing creatively is amazing... X

  3. I have no advice for you - how unusual! ;-) Only sympathy. Lack of sleep can be utterly blistering to the soul. And feeling isolated - no, you're not feeling it, you ARE it. People can be so self-absorbed sometimes, and not see the person isolated in their very midst. It happens so often to mothers of young children. And while it is great to have wonderful online communities (so incredibly great!) that doesn't answer the need to sit in a room with someone and speak with words and eyes and silence.

    Now I have a question for you, I will ask it elsewhere.

  4. My sympathies also on the lack of sleep. I really cannot imagine. My children push me to my limit often, but I am fortunate they are good sleepers (is that a Leo moon thing I wonder?? Or water sun? since they are all three both of these things.) The first few months of no-sleep were truly my limit, it seems.
    But I love what is happening with you creatively, that it is gushing out. I am working towards trying this. Maybe. I have been on a mandala kick, and then saw a book by Jung on mandalas at the library and got it. I didn't really read it, but loved the actual mandalas, done by him and his patients as a means of therapy. That really hit home for me. So I am thinking this is what I will try, some mandalas at first.

  5. Wow. Why is it that I seem to say the same thing at the start of every reply to a post of yours lately?

    I cannot sympathize enough on the loss of your...sleep. I seriously think that has a lot to do with your wanting to be alone Mon or at least not in the thick of social situations, which are loud and chaotic...and all the moreso when you're exhausted.

    Have you found any answers as to why the little one is such a fitful sleeper? Though I remember the first few months being tough, she's almost two and theoretically should be getting better (I use that term very loosely as all children are different). Is she really actually waking that often or is she changing position/talking in her sleep and you maybe are just a very light sleeper? Have you ruled out any underlying medical conditions (I remember you mentioning once about some research you had found)? I'm sure you've likely gone through everything but trying to throw some things at the wall without giving advice. Is this advice? If it is, I take it back. Just sincerely hoping to somehow be helpful cuz God I can't imagine what it must be like. Mothers want to fix things...ha! (or at least this one does)!

    Back to the social stuff. People DO tend to write you off/forget about you after enough "No's". I've had it happen to me at various times in my life and looking back, I regret it. But I also didn't have utter exhaustion to deal with. I was simply consumed in a relationship at the time and missed out on too much due to my insecurities.

    I just wish I were there right now so I could come knocking on your door and force myself into your sanctuary for some 1-on-1.

    As for your art, loves it! But loves it more that you've found the freedom to express yourself artistically again.

  6. Thanks everyone.

    Lisa - yes, mandalas are really great, and therapeutic.

    Jenn - I really miss our every-other-day phone chats!

  7. 'vague discontent'...I'm feeling that! Although it kind of feels like brain fog and confusion, and maybe a bit bipolar? I seriously can't tell if I'm happy or sad right now.

    The fatigue...okay, I know I usually get enough sleep, but when I don't...extra pain, no patience, totally exhausted and want to just lay down while my son crawls all over me. It's so hard to get through just one day like that, so maybe I don't really know, but I can imagine it's awful!

    Your artwork is amazing. I just peeked over at your little journaling site, and I think it's all beautiful!

  8. I was just writing to Erin @Wild as Weeds about the lack of like-minded mamas in my current location. I think it must be pandemic because she is experiencing the same!

    Maybe it's the transition of all of this, Mon. The night waking takes away the transition of night into day, the move postponing is also about transition, as is the person you once were being a bit apart from the mama you've transitioned into.

    Don't know if that thought makes sense really, I also am feeling the exhaustion tonight, and about to head to bed.

    Anytime you want to showcase that art of yours in a Georgia living room, just send it right on down. I'll hang a sign out front that says Cam's Gallery, if that sweetens the deal any...

  9. I love reading you for many reasons, one of them is the fact that some of our experiences are similar, and i feel identified and also you are so good and clear at expressing it, i just don´t ever get tired of reading you.
    I feel sorry for you being soooo tired these days and i absolutely understand because has happened to me sometimes, i know how overwhelming it can be, so please receive my support and hugs and the best wishes for you always.
    Thanks also for sharing your art, it takes courage to express our creativity and stop paying attention to those lousy voices that are never satisfied with our performance.
    I´m feeling tired too, sometimes full of energy and desire of cleaning and moving everything around me but with very lows posibilities of doing it because my son´s needs.
    And sometimes i´m ok with that, go with the flow and enjoy every bit of it, but there are other times when i feel frustrated and angry and then guilty for my feelings, aaghhh!
    Thanks to the universe for the existence of blogs like this that unite likeminded souls and let us connect profoundly even at a long distances.
    Hugs and blessings!

  10. Am sooo incredibly ecstatic for you re the doing art Mon. And I loove your little lady head, it's you, I love it. I love your Face the Unknown, um, can I buy it? Is that a wee mandala you have got going on there? would love a closer look at that. I will get something up on blog asap artwise (I have ideas now of maybe we could have our own online exhibition one day, or co-create a blog with our art and any other's who want to participate, with a mama's art focus) It is the most exciting thing! I can feel how incredibly wonderful this must be for you.
    And I'm with you on the sleep exhaustion. But, do you find that by doing art, it somehow rejuvenates you? Even though you would think you wouldn't have anything left to rejuvenate? Therapy for the sleep deprivation. I find my own experience of letting loose and doing art just the most amazing thing, at one with the force of creation for sure.
    oooh, sooo excited about this for you, can't wait to see more.

  11. there is another mama out in the world, far far away...who has a joyful, spirited child, a sometimes leaky roof, an intense longing for sleep, a similar frustration with social challenges, and a heightened desire to create. join me?

  12. reading your words, i too have been experiencing a sense of isolation from those physically around me and yet craving my alone time to nurture what is gushing up inside. it is an interesting pull/push - the need for support, companionship and the need to delve deeper within, learning to find that support within myself. It seems like mothering and creating demand we discover our own wellsprings, learning to rely upon our wisdom in each moment to do what is best for our spirit and the spirit of our child/creation.

    spring is slowly emerging and i wonder how many of us will find a thawing out that results in bigger floods of energy, ideas, and lots of play. go gently and thank you for so much inspiration generously shared :)


  13. It always amazes me when I see other people's creations and hear them call it "strictly amateur" or something like that. First of all, how much better can it look? Looking at your art, I'm taken to the most magical place in my imagination, and isn't that the most you can ask from a creation?

    Secondly, and selfishly, it makes me feel better, because if other people think their brilliant creations aren't that great, then maybe the creations I made that I think aren't so great, are really pretty great, indeed. ;)

  14. Thank you all for your truly lovely words. It really brightened up my rather blueish day.

    lol @ greenspell
    I'm not being super critical of myself though, honest. What I mean to get at is even if I see them as mediocre that's VERY ok because the process is the important magical part. But thanks! :D

  15. Oh Ruth, I meant to add, that it's a journal page! :D
    And that's a zendoodle.

  16. Yes, I totally know what you mean. But seriously - those pieces are AMAZING.

  17. I fell for you ;) U really are gifted in being able to express yourself in art the way that you do. From what I've read, you seem to be a really wonderful mother. I'm just happy that you are able to cry and then rejoice again. I dont always have airtime to connect to the internet, but when I do, I always check what you've been up to and what I can learn. Lotta love ... you're a blessing and a half :)

  18. Thank you Renecia. Makes me feel reeeal good. :)

  19. Sleep deprivation almost drove me crazy when my son was a baby - it seemed to be forever before he slept through the night. Take care, be good to yourself and you know it already - but change is envitable - spring is upon us as another commenter here has noted and there will be a thaw!

  20. Hello, I am a frequent reader, but don't comment much. I just wanted to throw this out there for you.... Your daughter's night-waking so reminds me of my daughter a few years ago. We helped her through it with calcium and magnesium supplements and Hyland's homeopathic "Calms Forte." She sleeps WONDERFULLY now. I can sympathize with your being so tired you could cry... I was there!

  21. Thank you both.

    mommysgems - My girsl is so young so haven't wanted to give her anything. But she hits 2 soon and that's usually the safe age. I will likely try that.

    Iron has been on my mind as well. Thanks!

  22. Oh Mon! Your posts always connect with my soul, and this one nearly had me in tears!

    Your art is fantastic. I love how you've embraced art journalling, and just run with it. You've poured your heart and soul into evry piece and it shows.

    I'm totally in awe at how well you cope with the Wildflower's sleep issues. I honestly don't know how you do it. I'm a wreck after a couple of bad nights, and you've dealt with it for so long! I hope you have a good self care system going so you don't run yourself into the ground completely while this is going on. Does the art help release some of the tension/ rejuvenate? I hope so.

  23. You have my greatest sympathies with regard to the sleep deprivation - remember it is used as a form of torture in conflicts for a reason. I too found it so hard when Amelia didn't sleep to get out - it seems like such an effort, and frequently, even if I did go out, with or without her, I would only be thinking about the fact that I was spending time I could otherwise be sleeping in, doing something which was draining. I think as well it can be so hard when you find an online community that you really connect with; that you get and that gets you, to want to go out and be with people who you are not necessarily going to relate to on anything more than a superficial level. And yet, that personal physical contact, the laughter and sharing of eye contact and gesture, that is very special and uplifting too. I find now, it's an ebb and flow, sometimes I want to hibernate and stay at home, with my online connections, othertimes I want to be out and about making "real-world" connections - I try to force myself to do a bit of the latter even when I don't want to, so that it's available to me when I do (and because, for me, staying in can become a bit too much of a habit that is too hard to break out of, and I know for my own welfare I do need other people to lift me up) but I don't push it too far and am easy on myself for not making plans, knowing that the more outward phase will follow in good time.

  24. Your voice is so authentic and uninhibited here. You give us everything you got. Thanks Mon. I'm with you when it comes to quieting the inner critic. I need to switch off that channel in my head. I've been babysitting my nephew for 6 months. I'm feeling major stir crazy. I can't wait to get out in the open air and breathe again!

  25. hey, thank you so much for your gift of sharing - raw, real and close to the heart...your story is partly mine too and hearing you 'talk' about it reminds me of what challenges i have going on and to keep doing the creative things that feed me. Its quite the spiritual and transformative journey this parenting holistically huh!? many thanks for your words


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