“As an artist, I can literally die from boredom. I kill myself when I fail to nurture my artist child because I am acting like somebody else’s idea of an adult.”
My first marriage ended in divorce. I’m hesitant to discuss it in detail here for a variety of reasons; there is my story, there is his story, and there is my daughter’s story. Then there is the story of my daughter’s parents plural, of when we were together. I can say that there was love in that story, and she was conceived as a result of that love.
On Memorial Day 2002, my ex-husband, our toddler, and I moved into my parents’ home. We were in the middle of building a new house and had sold our previous one. It was a modest starter home I loved, but we had outgrown it. So we bought a cookie cutter, suburban, brand-new home that lacked character but was big on square footage.
While our new house was being built, we needed a place to live. So we arranged to stay with my parents at their ranch house for three months. It wasn’t easy, as grateful as I was to my parents for graciously opening their home to us. Each of us had our own adult routines, and getting them all to work together wasn’t simple. My ex-husband didn’t get along very well with my parents, and as a result, it was emotionally stressful.
By the Fourth of July, I had filed for divorce from my husband.
The living situation was not the cause of my divorce. I’m confident it didn’t help my mental state, and it may have influenced my decision making in some manner, but the eventual demise of our marriage had nothing to do with that summer.
I was reading The Artist’s Way and had no plans of writing this post, but as anyone who has read this book knows, the writing comes to you. It’s not up to you. One morning while reading the book and writing my “morning pages,” I had an epiphany. I was struck by the quote at the beginning of this post. Specifically, “acting like somebody else’s idea of an adult.”
I’d never been able to put it into words before. That was how I felt when I moved into my parents’ house that summer. When I finally read the words in front of me, I felt as if someone punched me in the gut.
When my roles as a wife and mother, as well as having a house to maintain, were stripped away that summer, I realized I was “acting like somebody else’s idea of an adult.”
I don’t think the life I was living was what I imagined an adult would be like. Or perhaps it was, and then it became disenchanting. Being liberated from my daily routine provided me with a glimpse of what my newfound life could be if I built it. It sounds selfish as I write it, and it very well may have been. I was the mother of a two-year-old daughter. I should have thought about that ahead of time.
“Creativity is oxygen for our souls. Cutting off our creativity makes us savage. We react like we are being choked. There is a real rage that surfaces when we are interfered with on a level that involves picking lint off of us and fixing us up…we will react as if we are fighting for our lives-we are.”
For a long time, I tried to fit in a mold of who I felt I should be.
I’m an employee.
I’m a wife.
I’m a mother.
Work full-time. Save my money. Get married. Stay at home with the children. Get a job to help with expenses. Maybe work part time to make “fun money.”
I never considered what I might love doing. Like taking a reiki course for fun or embarking on a trip by myself. Or writing a book or screenplay with no expectation of profit.
I felt guilt, sorrow, and shame for many years after the divorce. I carried that on my body for a long time before I believed I was finally able to let it go. This year, I finally did let it go.
Becoming my own therapist has been the best thing I’ve ever done in my life. Through this self-discovery, I’ve realized that doing the things in life that make me happy isn’t selfish. That sometimes I have to put those things ahead of being a parent, being a partner, being a part of a corporation.
Wanting to be happy is never selfish.
“To kill your dreams because they are irresponsible is to be irresponsible to yourself…The creator made us creative. Our creativity is our gift from God. Our use of it is our gift to God. Accepting this bargain is the beginning of true self-acceptance.”