Monday, February 7, 2011

Craving Creativity

I once let my feminine side go- no primping, no ironed clothes, no hair doing, etc. It got kind of bad. I was my anti-college roommate phase. I lived with a few girls who spent hours in the bathroom, day in and day out. In Florida's steamy sun and sweltering heat, they had picture perfect hair (thanks to cans of hair spray), bathing suits that you couldn't get wet (leather), and a lot of guys calling and stopping over to see if they were home. I found it beyond annoying- admittedly because I couldn't understand why the guys where drooling over the space cadets studying interior design. I was serious minded and full of big thoughts to my estimation. College guys clearly went/go for well groomed chics and probably prefer girls who don't challenge them too much, but it took me a long time to realize this. So my response was to smoke cigars on my front porch, grunt at the fellows queuing up for my roommates, skip a lot of showers (seriously I could never get in the damned bathroom), and sit about in sweat pants. My recent fondness for a pair of comfortable anti-fashionable fleecer pants reminded me of those long ago college days- my winter wardrobe is sliding; however, I am not as cranky as I was back then.

Today I enjoyed a pleasant lunch with a friend in my favorite fleecer pants- basking in the warmth of the noon time sun that some how managed to actually be warming. My friend brought out beach chairs and after giving me a cool mug of mughicha (barley tea) she left me to make lunch. I don't sit still much at home so it felt momentarily unnatural and then the sun's rays reminded me that it was time to take a moment to relax and just be. It is so pleasant to have an unexpected treat- from the friend's offer of care taking to sitting outside on a winter's day. We chatted a bit about kids, life, and creating things. It stirred a longing in me to write something again so here I sit and try.

Before I came to Japan I worked a lot. I had young children. I volunteered at church to do various things. I worked in a very small yard to keep flowers, herbs and leaves in order. I was in graduate school for several of those years. I didn't have much free time and it didn't occur to me how much I craved creativity.

Having let go of my job and zeroing in on caring for home and family, the creative desire has reared in an overwhelming way. I have been inspired to work more with making things from yeast bread and jam, to knitting scarves, to making photo books, and always, always reading. I would not call myself an artist, but it has been fulfilling to do these things even to the point that I want time to do more. And that is the conundrum I find- doing more creative work makes me want to do more and more, but I struggle to find blocks of time. I barely juggle all my daily tasks. It is obvious when I have spent time working on photo books or writing as the toys are scattered everywhere (since I chose to ignore the children instead of policing them to clean up), the laundry is hanging all over the house (no dryers in Japan so laundry is hung up and taken down or not daily), and the sink is full of dishes (since I opted to write instead of wash). It is so frustrating that I cannot have it all- clean house, well nurtured children, home cooked meals, jars of jams in my cabinet, and books created and completed.

I read a British newspaper article about a woman who said she had a career and raised children, but when asked how she did it, she said she didn't change her drapes for forty years or have a pedicure, or change her hair style, etc. I thought wow! that woman actually speaks the truth- you have to let something go is what I am experiencing anyway. It's kind of like when I finally realized that I had handed over my feminine side to those bathroom hog roommates. I may not be the girliest girl, but I had given up too much. It dawned on me that I didn't have to be like them (in the bathroom for hours daily) to be feminine, but that I could find my own way to it. I didn't have to travel the same way to get to the same destination so to speak. This artistic and creative drive is taking me to another place in the same way- I may not be another someone else, but I can find a way to feed my creative desire and be a creative me if I can just keep chopping at the little blocks of time I find.