Friday, February 6, 2009

Secret 5: Committing to Self-Focus

“Many women fear appearing or actually being selfish if they commit to their creative work.”

I can understand why many women may feel this way. Females are often raised to serve others, as Gail McMeekin points out in the fifth chapter of the 12 Secrets of Highly Creative Women: A Portable Mentor. She also points out that a creative outlet while raising children protects her and her children from great unhappiness and stress. I would argue that the same holds true for one’s spouse.

When I was on a creative hiatus, I found myself looking to my husband for my overall happiness, entertainment, physical and mental stimulation. On days when he was tired or simply wanted to be alone, I found myself twiddling my thumbs and eventually harassing him, “Are you ready to talk? What do you want to do? Lets do something.” If he didn’t feel like talking or going out, I became bored and annoyed. Not only was I frustrated, but I was aggravating him as well. I learned a valuable lesson: never depend on someone for your overall happiness. Through my writing, especially poetry, I am mentally stimulated, entertained, and often able to release bottled up hurt feelings from my childhood. Who knew, something as simple as writing, could be such a wonderful and healthy outlet.

McMeekin mentions “putting yourself on top of the priority list.” This is the first time in my reading the book that I disagree with the author. As a wife and mother, I don’t deem myself as the “priority.” Instead, I hold each role (mother, wife, individual) with equal weight – each are equally number one priorities. Thus, I ensure that I maintain a healthy balance of mommy-child, husband-wife, and me time. And on occasions when there’s imbalance, my husband and children are sure to alert me, as well they should. Nothing like checks and balances!