It would seem that I have a lot to say. Some days it just so happens that I have more to say than other days, and some days it just so happens that I have more to say than most people. I can’t help it. Or more accurately I don’t want to help it.
Since becoming a Mother I seem to have misplaced my internal mute button. It’s not that it no longer exists, it’s just that I’ve chosen to disregard it. Mind you, in disregarding it, I have felt stronger and more empowered than I’ve ever felt in my life. Let me count the ways.
Once upon a time I lead a fairly happy-go-lucky sort of life. I didn’t have any “real” problems to speak of, I simply lead my life. If I wanted to do something, I did it without so much of a care as to whom it impacted. This is not to say that I wantonly disregarded other people’s lives, but rather to say that I assumed that living my life in the way that I saw fit was similar to a person living their life in the way that they saw fit. I did not willingly cast aspersions or assumptions onto the lives of other people, even though they might have done the same to me. I did not act in a hostile manner towards people or situations that I deemed inappropriate to my own situation, but like many people, I had opinions which I kept to myself. In many ways I was “silenced” by popular opinion because deep down even though I didn’t feel the “same” way, I was mindful of the controversy potentially expressing an unpopular opinion could create. And so I kept quiet.
Parenthood has taught me that keeping silent is not an option. Parenthood has taught me that advocating for personal rights is tantamount to personal happiness and productivity. When we are held hostage by popular opinion, we are somehow immobilized and compromised, nay imprisoned by ideas and solutions that don’t sit well with our inner core. Now, living life as a parent, I reject that notion wholesale.
I have the blessed good fortune to be able to articulate my feelings through writing. Being sensitive and passionate, I’m not one to mince words. I’d like to think that I have a self-deprecating sense of humour, and I fully understand and take responsibility for the fact that others may not see it as such. This is the risk I take each time I put thoughts to pen to paper and hit the send button.
On Being Misunderstood
An occupational hazard of writing and chronicling one’s own personal truth is being misunderstood. It comes with the territory. It is for this reason that writers will write umpteen drafts of a single essay to ensure that at best we are not compromising our personal integrity, and at worst we are not eviscerating an “innocent” bystander in the process. I place innocent in quotes because as you and I know, “it takes two to tango;” but alas, someone must take the proverbial lead. In other words, the individual for whom the gift of writing has been bestowed inevitably has the upper hand. It is what the writer with the good hand does with her hand that creates the indelible impression. Such is life.
Much personal writing these days seems to privilege a “take no prisoners” narrative. I won’t say that I don’t believe in this, or that I don’t support it—I do—but the fall-out from such a position can be dangerous to one’s reputation, not to mention others in the writer’s circle. I know because it’s something I flirt with on a daily basis.
Creativity At What Cost?
The dilemma is this: Who gets to tell the creative person what to create? Artists by their very nature are not game-players. They march to the beat of their own drummer often creating the very drums on which they beat. But they don’t do so in a vacuum, because ultimately the goal of art-making is to engage, discuss and create more art. When the artist for whom art-making is as necessary as the breath of life, many engage in a symbolic cutting off of the ear. It’s THAT serious, folks!
Personally-speaking I loathe the concept of creative-art-making and design by committee. I get “why” it may “need” to happen; but it makes me uncomfortable. Artists and art-makers are so-called experts in their field and in their [own] creative process, so why do we ever attempt to legislate that? Do we tell the surgeon where to cut? Do we tell the herbalist which herbs to prescribe? Do we tell the musician how to compose?
These are some of the many things I’ve been ruminating on lately. I’m a busy mom with a head full of stories and not a lot of time to write. I think I need to flip the script. Will you join me on this ride?