Sometimes I’m unable to sleep because I’m so jazzed about something I’m working on that sleep seems like a waste of time. However, this time it’s something else. I’m pretty sure it has to do with closing in on fifty-one, hormones, grief, puzzling rage, extraordinary joy, occasional alien identity theft and letting go.
Sometimes it all actually feels this alien to me and I barely recognize myself. I know that non middle-aged women tend to believe (at least from my experience) that menopause is an excuse to explain away shitty behavior, lack of energy or out of the blue tears. It’s really not an excuse and it’s often as confusing to me as it is to my poor family.
A generation ago, it was less frequent that Moms would be going through menopause with teenagers still in the house. Not that it didn’t happen, but it was less common. I feel sort of sorry for my twin daughters right now. My relationship was different with their brother. He was not twins. He was never a 17-year-old girl. He’s not living at home right now. He was not a mirror to me the way my girls are.
My girls are living with the Many Faces of Mom during their stressful last year of high school. Sometimes I freak out thinking that I haven’t taught them what they need to know before they head off to college in a year. I have to trust that I have and allow them to learn the rest on their own. It’s time to let go a little bit more.
However, I feel like after going through pregnancies, nursing and giving up my sense of self to care for these little monsters (that I heart breakingly love) that I’m due a little break now. Is that so wrong? Isn’t that what menopause is? Transition from one stage to another.
Nothing in my life has been as dramatic of a shift as becoming a Mom…and now in some weird way, when my girls are a year away from leaving home, my body is making me feel like I’m in the first trimester of my pregnancy.
Fatigue. Uncertainty. Cravings. More fatigue. Headaches and more even uncertainty.
Nature’s cruel joke or a reminder of how tied to them I am on a cellular level?
One of my favorite books is Elizabeth Gilbert’s BIG MAGIC. She writes about creativity and what type of energy we let dominate our lives. She boils it down to two types.
The martyr OR the trickster?
“Martyr energy is dark, solemn, macho, hierarchical, fundamentalist, austere, unforgiving, and profoundly rigid.
“Trickster energy is light, sly, transgender, transgression, animist, seditious, primal, and endlessly shape-shifting.”
“I believe that the original human impulse for creativity was born out of pure trickster energy. …Creativity wants to flip the mundane world upside down and turn it inside out, and that’s exactly what a trickster does best. The trickster is obviously a charming and subversive figure.
—Elizabeth Gilbert/BIG MAGIC
Martyr energy is a total bummer.
If the universe is meant to be played with, then we must PLAY. This doesn’t mean we can escape the mundane parts of daily life, grief or death. However, deploying our creative trickster energy when needed (even in very difficult passages of our lives) gives us more options and lets us access more creativity.
The trickster trusts and doesn’t let doubt or paranoia get in the way of a good time.
to my VIDA collection. I hope you like these as much I loved creating them.
Here’s the link to my page.
I love it when an idea won’t let me go…it seems that it’s demanding more of me. I have some travel time to sketch and write today on my way to my niece’s wedding in South Dakota and maybe some thoughts will take root. I’m pretty sure these images are in reaction to my “shitty roommate” post from last week. Perhaps these images represent the flip side of our lousy inner voice? I thought of this quote as I worked on these photographs.
“Courage is like—it’s a habitus, a habit, a virtue: You get it by courageous acts. It’s like you learn to swim by swimming. You learn courage by couraging.”
Below is the link to the post I”m referencing.
Lately I’ve been thinking about my “shitty roommate”. This is my personal inner voice—she makes me doubt myself all the time. She puts those snarky thoughts in my head that I’m “not good enough”, “not reaching my potential” or “if only you were more like…”.
Shame is the inner language of self-attack and self-blame AND shame is my shitty roommate’s jam.
Instead of trying to kick her out (which is exhausting and nearly impossible), I’ve decided to get more curious about her…even love her up a bit. Yes, she’s manipulative AND she also has pushed me. We’re really quite competitive. When she has my ear, she’s granted me the opportunity to self-correct behavior that doesn’t line up with my values, seek forgiveness from those I’ve wronged or offer myself a little grace.
But now, it’s time to change the rules of engagement using one short sentence.
The more I say it, the more power it has for all sorts of situations in my life.
When I question her language, my shitty roommate just puts her headphones on and leaves me alone until the next time…and there will always be a next time. She hates those three words, however, we do seem to be getting along a little better lately.