Self-care as a musician and a mother, Part 1 of ???
I have no answers, only thoughts and questions. All I know is that sometimes everything piles up and you can’t get past the frustration, the feeling that trying to maintain any level of sanity, order, or creative practice is futile, and the feeling that it will never end.
I had a wake-up call a few weeks ago when ended up in the ER with shortness of breath and pain in my rib cage. After learning that nothing serious was happening, I realized the main cause was probably my lack of self-care over the last year and a half. So I’ve been making more of an effort. For me, the most crucial thing is to practice yoga, so I can take care of myself and others, and so I can play the flute without injury. Earlier this week I had the chance to enjoy some “restorative pine needle time”—being in the woods with the smell of pine, the cool shade, and the sounds of the forest grounds me and helps me slow down and relax. Making things is a big part of self-care for me, as well. I definitely have a mental health sewing practice, but it’s also good for my physical health—wearing clothes that I’ve made makes me feel good in my own body.
One of my favorite things about being an artist is that sometimes, making your art can also be self-care. Sometimes it’s a struggle, of course, and something you need a break from, but sometimes it’s exactly what you need to feel whole and at ease. This video that I made last week was an example of exactly that. I had been struggling the entire day with wanting to record something that had been simmering in my mind for weeks, but not having the time. I finally sent my kids and husband out for dinner and made the recording. It felt like tearing through the layers of frustration and self-doubt that had wrapped themselves all around me.
Like many babies born shortly before or during COVID, my little Erl is slow to talk. At 21 months he says Mama, Dada, and Edie, but mostly “yeah”. I love the joy on his face as he shows me his painting, the delight from creating something beautiful, and the surprise that something that came from his little head and heart and hand is now visible on the paper. I hope in this moment he also felt like he was tearing through the frustration I sometimes see in him of not being able to talk, and that he felt free and able to express both words and things he might never have words for.