Time Sensitive

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“You may delay, but time will not.”  -Benjamin Franklin

I swear, if sleep didn’t get in the way, I would get so much more done.  I want to get so much more done.

Like this.

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I was talking to a friend of mine, recently.  We went to art school together.  Both painters.  I met her when I was a sophomore.  Years later, we both came back and worked for that same art school together.  Even later, she succeeded me in my position at the college when I decided to go back to school for my MFA.  Not long after, I learned she and her husband were expecting.  Naturally, I was really excited for her.  But at the same time, I couldn’t help but feel a little bit of pain because when we met, I was already a mother and I knew what that decision would mean for her.

It’s not like you can’t do anything once you have children.  It’s a choice that is made and it’s one that you make with delight, certainly.  But, there is that part of the decision that stings for an artist:  The season where it’s all about you is over.

We talked kids and husbands and joked about our lack of painting productivity.  “He [her husband] made me a desk where I can work and I walk by it every now and again thinking, ‘Yeah, that would be nice…Remember painting?  What’s that?!”  We laughed over this, of course.  But, there’s a little too much truth in that.

When I left, I couldn’t help but reflect on it.  I’m just not satisfied with that.  There’s just too much I want to do.  People ask me all the time, “How do you get so much done?”,  and all the while I’m thinking, “This isn’t even half of what I want to get done.”

There’s a certain truth to taking life as it comes.  Slowing down to be able to smell those roses you’re growing.  But, there’s also a certain truth to not letting time slip away from you without bothering it at least a little.  Tomorrow is never promised, but if and when it comes, I really don’t want to have to say, “I wish I had done that.”

A couple years ago, I decided that I needed to work on things like that.  And every so often, I take another look to be sure that I’m staying on task.

Learning to spin was one of those things I always wanted to do.  The summer that I learned was my way of fulfilling a need to do anything and everything that will knock one more thing off my “I want to do that” list.  I suppose I feel like you have to knock things off that list as fast as you can.  Hindsight really is 20/20 and regret is just never a good look.  And, for me having to make peace with a lackluster past some day, knowing that I could have [insert whatever here], would be a painful pill to have to swallow.

Going from being a reclusive, anti-social kind of person to becoming part of a fiber community of late has been such a refreshing change.

I’ve met fantastic spinners.

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Awe-inspiring weavers.

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And they’re all SO talented.

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Just amazing, warm people.

They spin the fluff of beloved dogs.

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Spin tons of fluff for good causes.

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Even collaborate for good causes.  How often do you find artists of any kind collaborating-happily?

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And I’m actually part of the group.  The Stacey of yesteryear wouldn’t have dared.  She would’ve dreamed.  But never dared.

This is still the season of motherhood for me.  I love having a family to love.  I love telling the stories about how the little one got into my yarn and how proud the oldest one made me in his last basketball game…and even how the hubby finally did the dishes last night.

But I am also so grateful when I was at that same art college that I got to hear a female artist talk about her years raising a family, her then-recent, painful divorce, her return to her painting, and her successes in reviving her art career and subsequent sold-out show.  She now works at a well-recognized school I greatly admire in Philadelphia.  She had a life and it didn’t end when she decided to have a family.  Sure, there was a season where she didn’t get to produce the work she wanted to.  But it was there the whole time.  Just under the surface.

Another time, though I don’t remember the artist’s name…I recall, at that same school, hearing about an artist being asked if his studio, where all his life’s work was held, was on fire, what would he do.  He said, “I’d save the cat.”

Life’s so precious.  I’d save the cat too.

And I’ll never forget how my first art teacher at that school gave me a copy of Virginia Woolfe’s A Room Of One’s Own.  Ever since, I read it once a year.

There’s a season and time for everything.

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This is the season of my motherhood and I’m spinning my wheels.  Preparing.

I heard from another friend I hadn’t heard from in a good while just today.  She’s such a peaceful spirit.  Love hearing from her.  And I love how she takes life in stride.  But, I think I may not have been built that way.  If I have to go down, I’m going down kicking and screaming. And I do believe when the time comes around for a mother to pick up things she left behind, that they are that much more enriched by her experiences during her silent years.  Yes.  But, I think having a certain amount of restlessness just under the surface-sort of chomping at the bit for when your time comes back around, isn’t such a bad thing either.

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Because, at the end of the day, I just want to be able to say, “I was here.”

“Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin.”  - Mother Teresa

Comments

  1. Gorgeous spinning and the colors are awesome!!! I love all the photos you shared too, very talented women.

  2. I’m not a mother or a wife, but this post speaks to me in so many ways. Thank you so much for sharing.

    Off to read that Virginia Wolfe book.

    • Hi Nicky! You’re welcome and I am so glad it didn’t depress you, lol. That’s never my intent. Just sharing some thoughts that came up over the week. A little heavier than my usual offerings on this blog, I think. Always scary sharing these kinds of topics! I’m really relieved that you weren’t put off by it. :)

      • I love it. Very authentic and a great reminder to this scaredy cat ( :P ) that I’m not alone in the thoughts I have, in the plans that I make, in the ways I really want to live.

        So thanks again!

  3. Reblogged this on D'NALI and commented:
    So many points apply to me and my current perspective. Thanks for sharing Stacey.

  4. That was a very thoughtful and thought-provoking post. It is hard to do things for oneself instead of for the family. I remember thinking how selfish I sounded when I began taking Chinese language classes and saying “it’s something I do just for me.” Those Saturday mornings sitting around with other people struggling to contort their mouths a certain way fulfills the part of me that still wants to learn new things. I think in the end, it makes me a better parent. I know it makes me a happier person. Kudos to you for sharing this post and your spinning prowess!

    • My first painting teacher said once that I needed to be a little more selfish sometimes, lol. I saw her that day too. She’s moving after 15 years of teaching there. She gave me a drawing I did while I was there that she had kept to show other students. And she reminded me of some things she thought about me (all very good…and sometimes that can be intimidating trying to live up to all that). I love her and I am so glad she gave me that advice.

      I think going back to your family a revived and whole person makes a huge difference in keeping a family happy and healthy. You know what they say. “If mom’s not happy, NOBODY is!” :)

  5. I’ve been meaning to read that for ages. I guess I’d better pick it up :)

  6. I’ve just spent my weekend raising my 4 year old and my 9 month old. I love them but I miss having the time to knit, to create, to extend my skills (and to just be and drink coffee). Its good to hear echoes of my feelings in your post, to know that it’s not just me. Thank you.

    • Isn’t it good to know that at some point, the kids get older and you will get your time to yourself again-only with lots of great memories of spending time with your kids and no regrets? :) Just don’t forget to take care of you along the way.

      Thanks for visiting my blog!

  7. What you’ve written is so on point. But you are definitely not alone. I hear a lot of mothers say this. But I find it true even as a single person. No, it’s not kids getting in the way but a full time job and so many other responsibilities that fall onto my plate. My mind always moves much faster than my hands. I reassess my “to do” or queue on Ravelry all the time and see if I really have to make that item. Sometimes I think you have to take a step back and cherish the moments passed. Case in point, I used to cross stitch. I thoroughly enjoyed it, but once I moved on to another craft, cross stitch became a thing of the past. I still admire that and embroidery and if push came to shove, I could pick it back up to adorn something else I made, but that in itself is peace enough for me. There’s no way one person can do everything, but just enjoy what you’re doing while you’re doing it. At least you can say, “I tried that.”

    • I find this to be true more often than not. My (unsolicited :) ) advice to any single person though, is if there are things you still want to see and do and are able, make any adjustments you need to to do them as soon as possible. Life always gets in the way. But, if it’s you by yourself, why wait? I would never trade the experience of being a mother. But, it wasn’t until after I had my kids that I realized there was a whole world of things to do out there that I hadn’t yet tapped into. I didn’t understand or appreciate the kind of freedom I had at that time. I think, in my case, the restrictions I had may have been more imagined at that time (mental obstacles) rather than actual restrictions. I was once a very timid person. Many of the restrictions I placed on myself could have even been excuses (I don’t know how, or I’ve never tried anything like that before, or I’m scared to try that, or something else equally excuse-like). It took a while to learn that I had to go get the life I wanted (still in the middle of that quest, but it has at least begun). I still think that idea of imagined obstacles is partly true now, though I actually do have the family to care for at the moment and certain financial obligations. So, I suppose it’s just as important to determine which kind of obstacle you’re dealing with. I can’t up and travel the world with my family at the moment (should that have ever been a desire). But, if it were just me, I suppose I could find creative ways to do that. Stranger things have happened.

      It is definitely necessary to enjoy the moment. A peaceful life is non-negotiable. But, I think it’s not a horrible thing, should you find yourself at a point where you need more from life, to want more and pursue that as well. And there is this piece of me that still wants a little more. :) And I have dared enough to believe that I am (gasp) capable of it, lol. The friend I had heard from that day holds a belief I tend to agree with: we all have greatness inside of us. I think we know inside ourselves when we have connected with that and when we feel there is more to be done yet. I think if we feel we haven’t reached our full potential, and find ourselves delayed in some ways, it’s okay as long as we keep pursuing it. Once those obstacles do shift, there will be others, surely. But I think the constant forward thrust makes them give way eventually. It’s like a constant drip of water. It can force it’s way through rock if need be, as long as it doesn’t run dry waiting to get through.

      That day I saw my friend at that job, I also saw my first painting teacher too. She gave me a drawing that I had done in her class years ago. She told me she showed it to her students over the years and said, “You know you were one of our brightest talents.” It’s a fairly young art school, and she called me their break-out student. I was only in the second graduating class and upon graduating, I was accepted at a prestigious art school (I had only applied there to stay closer to home with my kid…but the fact that I got in was a huge success for the program). Every time I see her, I think she tries to remind me of that. She understood my situation before I ever did! I haven’t given up on those dreams either. I just allowed room for some others (like raising a family, spinning, etc.). When the time is right for those things to resurface, I’ll know.

      Have I just written an entire new post? Sheesh!

  8. What lovely sentiments, and beautifully expressed.
    While priorities have definitely changed for me, I’m happy for any experience life cares to throw my way. Motherhood included.

  9. Excellent post. My daughters are 8 and 16 and I am starting to feel that I can really start putting myself “into” my fibre. I have always been creative, but went in a different direction at university, (why did I study what I though would be best, and not what I loved and was good at?!) It wasn’t until after my first daughter was born that I found spinning and everything that can be done with yarn. I have been able to spin/knit/weave with family, but it is a rare time when I can lose myself in it, (like I used to do with painting before I was married).

    There is always the lunches to be made, the school drop-offs and pick-ups, the laundry and all the other household jobs. Always a clock to watch, I can’t just spin and forget time. Of course I wouldn’t change a thing, but it is nice to know that my time will come around again, and I will be better prepared.

    I once discussed this with my Mom; I said it must be almost impossible to be a mother and an artist, (at least with young kids). How can you put energy and passion into both your art and your children. My Mom said you just do it, lots of people do. I am not so sure. She is not an artist, not sure if I am, but I am trying, and so far I can’t lose myself in creating, which sometimes I think is necessary, at least for part of the process.

    As artist, or spinners, or weavers, or painters or whatever it is that we create, I think it is important that we share these feelings, desires, wishes, and fears. So don’t worry about getting a bit serous, we all think about these things, great post and comments.

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