My last blog, when questioning how we reconcile being grateful for what we have, yet striving for more, brought up a time management question. Since then, I’ve been writing down everything I do in a day and I realize I put in, on average, ten hour work days when you count dancing, writing, parenting, and household chores. Not bad for a working mother of two. I know many who put in a lot more hours. But it also explains why when 9pm comes, I’m all too ready to pour that glass of wine;)
That’s a good chunk of my day devoted to work/improvement in some way. Something to be proud of. I’m also proud I took the time to socialize this last week. I made it a point to spend time with friends, family, and my favorite person: my husband. I had a lot of quality time with people who make me smile - for which I will always be grateful:) I know a week is too short a time to study, which is why I will continue my research, but I believe this week was a pretty normal look at my life - so we’ll start with what we’ve got.
Additionally, this past week, I started listening to more podcasts while I cook or clean. Let me tell ya’ - I know why people love those now! Though while cooking, they may be dangerous:) How? Well, a friend recommended “Magic Lessons” by Elizabeth Gilbert which deals with the creative process. The first episode was an interview with a mom who felt guilty about wanting to be something more than a mother and I almost chopped my finger off - cause woman, can I relate?!
I do feel guilty for wanting more than a job I adore, two healthy children, and a husband that loves me. On paper, it seems I have it all! And I am grateful for each of those things every single day. However, I want more. Insert guilt here. My sister says guilt is “a call to change some behavior”. That infuriates me, honestly! (I just spoke with a friend who said, “Yes. The behavior you should change is to stop being racked with guilt:) It’s the same sister who, when asked to describe me in one word, (a silly practice anyway) said “mother”. As all-encompassing and wonderful as that word is - it attaches my value to something outside my body/control - which I think very dangerous indeed.
If all I am is a mother, who was I before I had children? A daughter? A wife? A sister? These are all parts of me, yes, but if they were all taken from me - who would I be then?? A dancer? That has been taken from me before. It wasn’t my best year, that’s for sure. But when that was taken from me, I got my first paycheck as a writer - which was pretty exciting. So, maybe I’m an artist? I’ve always hesitated to call myself that. For three reasons:
But for now, let me fight the cringe and say, “I’m an artist”. Huh… The freedom that comes from saying that out loud is surprising. No one can take that away from me... but me. Only if I let guilt stop me from saying what I need to say, will I not be an artist. By creating and expressing myself, won’t I be happier and more satisfied? And therefore a better mother, wife, daughter, etc? That consistently proves itself true. After choreographing a routine and hearing the joy the performance brought to people - I’m always on cloud 99! And by being true to who I want to be, I show my children they can do the same. I’d say that’s a pretty stellar example for any kid, wouldn’t you?
I recently heard Oprah say, “our job is to find the voice inside us and follow it.” I foolishly thought I already did that. Now I realize, as I became more things to more people, my voice became quieter and quieter. Or maybe not quieter… maybe it just got drown out. Which is perhaps why I find myself in wanting. When you consider the desire for more is merely a desire to follow that inner voice - you see there’s nothing to feel guilty about. It’s my job to make sure that voice doesn’t fade. Nay... that it thrives!
How does this relate to dancing? Obviously leads can find their own voice with the moves they do and the rhythm they decide to accentuate. But follows? Are we doomed to dance to someone else's beat? No! We have freedom within the frame. After all, creativity needs limits. We choose how we fill his frame. We choose what tone we bring to the conversation. We can let our voice be heard. Obviously we don't need to yell (the whole time;) but speak up ladies! See you on the hardwood:)
Allison loves to write almost as much as she loves to dance, so no one had to twist her arm to get her to write about dancing!