I find myself asking this at times. My whole life has become motherhood; sometimes I completely forget that I was once a completely different version of myself.
I have always wanted to be a mother so it’s not like I have regrets about this new life or anything. I just wonder what happened to that different kind of self that I used to be; the Sydney that stayed up until midnight laying in a large grassy field just watching the stars float by or the Sydney that created multi-media performance art collaborations. I love that part of myself and I don’t want to loose her amidst the day-to-day mother and housewife routine. So I have been keeping tabs lately on what makes me feel like “mama” and what makes me feel like “goddess-woman.” When newly married I had to learn how to keep that part of my self alive and now that I am a mother I must relearn how to integrate my past passions into my current role. I am new to this (mother for only 20 months) so it’s a work in progress.
What makes me feel alive?
DANCE: Once upon a time I was really into modern dance. I danced in classes; I danced at home; I danced on my way to the bus. Everywhere I moved I had grace and beauty emanating from me. I would listen to music and feel the movement in my body. Even in my housework I’d find a sense of flow and rhythm. I must keep this alive.
PHOTOGRAPHY AND VIDEO ART: I was once a video/installation artist and photographer. I’m not sure if this is a path I shall pursue again, but I want to remember her; remember the girl who loved Ann Hamilton and Bill Viola; remember the girl obsessed with Margaret Bourke-White and Cindy Sherman. I still love photography, especially because now I have such an adorable and willing subject. ;)
GARDENING: It’s one thing to share in the joy of gardening with children, but a completely differnt experience to garden on my own. At dusk, I’ll kneel in my garden and dig my bare hands into the soil to make space for new seeds…new life! I always feel so close to the spiritual world while working with the elements of the earth. Dirt has such magic.
PAINTING: I used to ‘paint my feelings;’ I would pick vibrant colors and splash them onto the paper, Jackson Pollock style. I’d paint with my hands and feel the colors streaming across the canvas. I haven’t done this in years but I intend to; I actually just installed a paint workshop in my garage. I can’t wait to paint again.
IMPROV: I absolutely love doing improv. I love being completely crazy and our of control! I LOVE laughing! My husband and I used to take improv classes and these classes opened me up to a new kind of freedom in my social life. I’m shy by the way, so doing something completely out of my norm was so very refreshing and exhilarating. I must continue to push myself in this way! BTW, I even have a few videos online of my silly antics, see if you can find them. ;)
STARGAZING: In my teens and early 20’s, stargazing was my thing to do! I cannot even count the number of times I’ve simply sat and watched the stars for hours. So many great epiphanies have popped into my head after watching the great expanse of the universe. I’m fortunate to have a large backyard to stargaze so the only thing keeping me inside after dark is myself! I shall gaze at the stars more often.
These are just a few things that I want to find a place for in my new life as ‘mother.’ Over the years I will continually change and grow. I mean, what’s life without change? But I must remember these light and carefree things that make me feel like…well, me! One day my children will grow up and move on to pursue their own lives and I hope that when that happens, I am still grounded in my sense of self. Twenty years from now, I still hope to dance…
What do YOU do to keep your sense of self or womanhood as a mother? We are often wearing sweatpants covered in snot while we negotiate with a child about dinner. What happens after they go to bed? What makes YOU come alive?