blank flank

for christmas this year i received an envelope with cash and a cartoon of myself with a sleeve of tattoos.  something odd happened inside me when i opened it, a sort-of gleeful/fearful feeling, an “oh fun… uh-oh!” response.  that’s because i love tattoos… but up to that moment i guess i only really loved the idea of tattoos.  darn it, now that the opportunity stared me in the face i had to quickly think it through and moderate what emotion to expose to my husband who was anxiously awaiting my reaction.  he knew it would be a loaded gift, but he was right to risk it… the excited side of me eventually won out.

so, feb 9 is the day!  this unmarked skin of mine will bear an image of my choosing.  although i have always reasoned with myself that there would never be a design i would want to bear for a lifetime, i decided right away that i could get something that represented my girls.  no possible regrets there… right?

ok, ok portraits aren’t the way to go… but what should the image be?  darn it!  such a huge decision! when i start thinking too deeply about it, it scares the perfectionist in me to death!  oooh, that perfectionist side of myself ruins everything!  or not…

yes, there is a LOT of evidence out there of unfortunate tattoos (take a look at “ugliest tattoos” for a giggle), but there are also few that are quite beautiful and meaningful… i definitely prefer to be on that side of things.

but i have to ask myself… why?  why am i considering doing this to myself?  i am terrified that i will regret the final product, and given my critical side i will likely analyse the thing until it warps into something horrible.  it’s true!  i do that to myself!  i’m a terrible candidate for a tattoo, right?  BUT, i want to challenge it – i want to get a tattoo in spite of the perfectionist, as a part of my journey to overcome/accept those parts of myself.  plus *some* tattoos are cool, darn it!  🙂

so!  the tattoo i’ve decided on may be a tad overloaded with meaning… when i look at it, i want to be reminded of freedom, of releasing control, and of my two beautiful girls – the style of the image will represent my character as a maker and my connection to the creative community and to the creator.  ya, that’s loaded…

i’m leaving a cliff hanger here… but will post pics of the process on feb 9, the fateful day.  say a prayer for me ok?  once the virgin skin is broken, i’m sure i’ll get all de-sensitized and decide on a portrait of my cat next!

do you have a tattoo?  why did you get it?  what would you get if you don’t have one already?

ramblings of one tired mama

as a chronic maker, i can’t help but have my head and hands focussed on the next project.  i am just beginning to understand that it is at the essence of my being… it is something that builds and replenishes me, a core desire.  cool!  problem.  the wisdom of motherhood has only allowed me to understand this about myself because i have so much less time (and as if to prove this point, as i italicized ‘time’ my daughter just popped out of bed!) to create.  i’m really feeling the effects of running ragged after the chaotic whims of a 1.5 & 3 year old, working a day job, husband working nights, night after night of broken sleeps and not having time to focus on getting my creative energies out.  i’m really not whining (really?!) – i just wonder if it is possible to find a heathy balance in family, work & recreation with young ones?

it is important to think about this holistically.  it isn’t selfish to consider the needs of the mother (&/or father!) when raising crazy little people, no matter how much the martyr syndrom nags you otherwise.  if the mother isn’t healthy & happy, how can she fully attend to the needs of her children, let alone create an environment where the family can flourish?  so! it is critical that the mother set aside time to replenish and address her core needs, which will be different for everyone (and i now know mine to be creating).

point understood!  but, but, but… how?  i’m chronically sleep-deprived and my time is booked solid.  argh!  my naturopath told me of a study undertaken in a few communities on the other side of the globe where people experience far less stress-related diseases.  conclusion: they live in extended family units, eat from the land, and spend their evenings sitting around the table eating wonderful meals, drinking wine and yacking until the sun sets (my words, but same content!).  and i imagine that the task of raising kids is undertaken by all involved, too.  sigh… the way we do things over here is so wrong!  i don’t know about you, but i feel the pressure to be strong, independent, need-no-help-from-nobody, raise kids, work job, stay in perfect health, and not screw my kids along the way?!  it’s ridiculous… and frankly i’m falling apart trying to manage it all.

solutions?  i definitely want to change the way i live – i want to be in community, i want to eat food i grow, enjoy life at a slower pace, live with less, take deep breaths & be “in the moment”.  but while i work towards those ideals, i have to look for outlets in the hurricane of present day.  these are a few things i’m going to implement:

1. teach my kids how to play by themselves for an hour each day.

it’s true!  isla is 3 and she has trouble occupying herself without my intervention… i’m sure i just didn’t give her the opportunity to learn, maybe because she was the first.  juniper, who is 1.5, is already much more adept at playing solo for the odd moment & i’m hoping that by the time she’s a little older i will be able to say “play time!” and both the girls can occupy themselves without my direct involvement… maybe i could just knit while supervising!

2. get my girls to participate in my projects.

isla helping me felt

this is more of an investment plan… i know they already love to “help”, but i end up turning into a dragon protecting my gold, puffing smoke outta my nostrils.  this is because my intentions are wrong, my intention is to actually get something done!  what i plan on doing is changing my perspective to focus on them and not the project, so that they adopt the love of craft time and then, eventually, we can create together or work on our own projects together (for more then 5 seconds i mean).

3. take the work out of creating.

juniper just having fun – there is a lot for me to learn from her

for me this means when i fit in creative making time, i won’t spend that time doing it as work.  i currently run an etsy store with some of my creations and i love doing it; however, when i create for business rather than for pleasure i find myself stressing about how much time it’s taking, if it’s exactly what the customer wants, how much it will cost, etc.  i need the freedom to fill that small window of time with the fun of making for the sake of exploration.  to apply this in a different way, if your passion is, say, running don’t run to lose weight, run for the exhilaration!  restore the passion of whatever you do to fill your tank by rediscovering it like a 5 year old – with wonder & without expectation.

what is your core passion?  what do you do to feed it during busy times when it can get neglected?