In The Cracks

Well, I’ve skipped tabs enough times that I know I’m purposefully avoiding a good subject.

It’s hard to start talking about because it’s a subject that I haven’t fully accepted yet, and I’m working some stuff out, so know that I’m embarking on this conversation with mild trepidation. Oh and I’m also avoiding ordering an Ikea kitchen. And by writing this, I’m assured to be late for my next meeting.

But that is my choice.

I remember being outcasted from a group of girls, in junior high. It was a pretty traumatic event, that I’ve written about in my journals, but haven’t yet approached here on the blog. I’m not all that ready yet.

But what happened after the ex-communion of that group (the entire and only grade 8 class in my school) is important.  I was forced to rely on nobody. My friends became Jim Morrison poetry books and Pearl Jam tapes, Kurt Cobain posters and my beloved horse, Allegro.  Half blind, this horse was part-boarded and my mother drove me out 4 days a week to my safe place.

Driving up the gates of the barn, my anxieties melted away and by the time I was on Allegro’s back, I had forgotten my name.

All that mattered was walk, trot, canter, cavelleti, three strides to that fence and sit up straight. I had no friends at the stable, but it didn’t matter. All I needed was the feeling of the air as I rode on.

That feeling of forgetting your relationship to the world outside is something that I believe we deeply crave and need. It offers us an opportunity to tap into another part of our brain and it helps shut off from the chaos. I’m calling that The Gap.

When Annabelle and I were pitching our business for investment, we talked a lot about this need to re-connect to craft, to engage in an activity that lets you slip into The Gap. And as we received people in the shop, we saw that we were right. People need to make, they need to connect their hands to their brains. Music, writing, crocheting,  painting, cooking, sculpting, gardening, woodworking… whatever the medium is, The Gap is the place that you slowly slip into when you practice.

The more you practice, guess what? The easier it is to fall deeper in that gap. Eventually, it becomes a meditative practice (albeit a difficult one at times!) and you need to engage in it to be ok in this world. I see this come up again and again. This need to create, or something withers away inside.

But it’s sad that I’ve taken up 425 words and haven’t even gotten to the point. Need to refine my editing skills. Noted.

The point is this: I know of my own need to create (write here, paint, engage in projects with other people, read, sew… whatever). I also suffer from terrible guilt when I need to account for the time I invest in creating. And I chose that word carefully, because at the core, I know it’s an investment in me.

This is something else I see coming up again and again, the guilt we experience as women, and more specifically as women creatives, when we use our time for activities other than monetization or fulfillement of motherly+domestic roles.

It seems like we should have time for some things:(making money,  picking up the kids, doing the laundry, cleaning the house, exercising and looking amazing ALWAYS, taking care of our parents) and we really shouldn’t have time for anything else, and if we do, it’s because it comes easily and you have someone else doing all the work for you, because how else can you get it all done AND … meditate, take a classe, make art, read, pursue an interest or a faith. DUH.

Every time I hear  I don’t have time for {…..}, my heart seizes up and I feel like someone is launching a judgement grenade at me. Like a crazy person, I immediately start internally listing all the things I DO. I justify (or at least try) the time I spend painting or drawing, or really just making sure I’m ok and not crying on the sidewalk, in the arms of a stranger. I even lie about it sometimes, so that nobody thinks I have too much time on my hands.

Cause really.. I should be hustling, I should be making more money, I should be able to get the kids, keep the house and double our income all in the time the kids are at school… in the cracks of the days.. I should.

Maybe I just don’t try hard enough.

And with that guilt, and pressure, we relinquish the things that truly feed us to the cusps of the day. I don’t have a lot of time to paint, draw, meditate, journal… I really don’t have it. I make it in the cracks. As not to disturb anyone.

Someone told me recently that she had realized that the last 10 years had been spent making her spouse’s life easier. That line echoed in my head until today, where I am trying to sort out my feelings about it all.

We try so hard to make it easy for the people around us, that we feel guilt when we finally demand the time.

Without apology.

Without the fear of inconveniencing anyone

Without the dread of being outcasted

During those cracks of time, I am back on Allegro, feeling the air against my face and not remembering what the world means to me.










5 thoughts on “In The Cracks

  1. “That feeling of forgetting your relationship to the world outside is something that I believe we deeply crave and need.” So true!!! SO much rings true in your post. It’s so easy to fall into ‘roles’ and pleasing everyone. about the only thing I miss about my 20s, when it was only about me (sounds so selfish, but it’s easy to get lost in the mix of wife/mother role). I think it is AMAZING that you have made the time to do what you have done. It’s so easy to say “I don’t have time for…” – but is it really true? Maybe we don’t have the *amount* of time we might want to do those things we want to fill in the cracks, so it’s easier to say “I don’t have time for…” Or we don’t want to ‘fail’ so it’s easier to say, I don’t have time for it. It will never be something you regret – and it’s too bad the internal dialogue gets so loud sometimes. p.s. I really miss the shop… Can you open a watercolor shop/studio, please?

    1. retail space… NEVER AGAIN!! Fool me once, shame on you… fool me twice shame on me!
      I think at the end of the day, it comes back to what we value to be important and what we think we deserve. I truly believed, up until last year, that I was too busy to take care of myself… but really, I just didn’t think I was important enough to take care of, if that makes any sense. Mindset regarding ‘all or nothingness’ is also a huge factor (for me, anyways) that I need to do X and have Y outcome or it’s not worth doing at all. Even with the tracker, I’m forcing myself to see the days where I DID cross those boxes, instead of focusing on the uncrossed boxes all the time.

  2. I often feel it’s sad that nothing seems as highly regarded as work in society. Why we feel guilty about time spent doing almost anything else (except maybe exercise, but that’s work too!). In the last month, I have been sick twice, had salmonella poisoning once and two giant cold sores from nose blowing (I hadn’t been ill since early 2014 otherwise!) My body is the one saying – enough! Time for me! Everyone knows life is a balance and yet it’s so hard to get just right. I love your words.

    1. Thanks Wendy, i totally hear you. Isn’t it frustrating how we know we need to balance things out, yet we never realize that in order to gain things, we have to let other things go (or slide, like laundry!) .
      I just did it today! Totally nailed all this work stuff and came home and lost my mind at all the stuff that hadn’t been done!

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