On Saturday I began my third journal of Morning Pages – two 8×11 pages that I fill with (relatively) unfiltered thought each morning. It has been an incredible process for me as a human. God has revealed so much to me and about me in this way. And as a writer… well, I had no idea what a well of words, thoughts, ideas, and desires I had springing up within me. Since I began this journey in November, I have come to identify myself as a creative. An artist. A writer.
In black and white, I saw my anxieties, frustration, and grief. I asked myself over and over in different ways: what matters? What really matters? I cut out, piece by piece, commitments, and habits that no longer served me and by March 1st, I woke up with the remnants of a remarkably vivid dream. Rolling out of bed, I padded toward my notebook and began writing a novel.
After almost three months of writing quietly and fervently in the dark, (ideas blooming from blank pages, plot points sweeping me away) I brought it to a writing circle, and then a workshop a month later, where I revisited the idea of pursuing an MFA in Creative Writing. A dream I had tucked deep inside myself and shhhh-ed up as impractical and selfish and completely out of my depth. A few people shook my chains enough to show me I was the one holding my dreams under lock and key.
I spent June asking myself if I was worth that investment, if I could cut it, if I was good enough. What if I was rejected (most likely), what if I wasn’t (most terrifying). Finally, I decided – with Dan’s support – to apply. Simultaneously, my heart tipped off its axis. My mind went into a fog of stress and depression. I began therapy.
I clung onto my writing as though it was the edge of a cliff I was hanging from. I pushed through the applications in July and August – nearly giving up at points, wondering who on earth I was and whether I could possibly know what was good for me when I felt that way.
It’s odd to skim through these midnight emotions that held me captive just a short time ago.
In late August there was a break in the clouds. Life fit better, felt more familiar. I sent off the last application and was promptly swept into the swift pace of fall: new routines, new developmental stage for Penny, new schedule for Dan.
And then the calls came. Four days apart. Accepted into both programs. God is so good. His hand in all this is clear, his gentle direction tracked carefully, unwittingly in my Morning Pages.
Today I came across this article examining the effect of motherhood on creativity, which aligns with my own experience: they thrive together. They nurture each other, really. For Christmas, Dan gave me access to a year-long course celebrating creativity in motherhood. I’m in good company with the women there, who are tapping their next essay idea into their phone as they nurse an infant, sketching out their dreams with a chewed-up crayon, and finding solace in the wee hours where they can shed the garb of motherhood for a few moments and create.
Creativity has been a life raft for me this year as the political winds turned and my own personal sea became choppy and unpredictable. Motherhood has shown me the power of nurture and presence that, when applied consistently and in love, can grow wonderful things.