life noun1. the existence of an individual human being or animal.
Really? That's the dictionary definition of life? "the existence" That doesn't help much when you are pondering the meaning of life as your 2 year old clings to you with teary eyes crying, "I'm scared, I'm too scared to go to school. Please stay with me, please!" My little guy was excited to run in to class the first day of school, but reported home that he missed me all day and cried for me all day. On the second day of school he cried and protested and had to be carried in to class. It was so hard making him go, but I knew he wanted to be there and waited outside his room so I could peek in a minute later to see him playing happily with his cousin. The next day we talked a lot about why he had to go to school (he doesn't have to, he goes because he wants to play with his friends and sing and dance,) why mommy wouldn't stay (because it's against the rules,) and most importantly about being scared and being brave. On day 3 of school he didn't cry but he did have tears in his eyes, as he hugged me goodbye he said he would have courage and be brave.
He was motivated beyond his fears to walk in to class. He was intrinsically motivated to be brave. He wasn't doing it for me, he was doing it for himself. He wants to go to school, he loves playing with his friends. Being away from me for the first time in his life (outside of staying with other family members) was terrifying. They call it separation anxiety, but somehow he managed with his tiny little self and his teary eyes to push through it in order to do something he really wanted to do.
My children amaze me constantly, but more than that they teach me about myself and about life. Sure, I knew life was about existence but today my son taught me that life is defined by fear, motivation and ultimately for me, art and for you whatever you are motivated past fear to do.
At the beginning of the year I wrote in this blog that my goal was to make more art this year. A sweet friend chastised me immediately and reminded me that I made art everyday and that no one should ever tell me different. What I meant was that I wanted to paint and draw more, I do view the dolls I create as art but I often forget that sewing and stitching together a doll is creating art. It was a really nice reminder to get but my fear was that I was not actually an artist, I was just a crafter. I don't believe that and I was motivated to make myself feel differently.
I often hear my friends say, "I'm not crafty" "I could never do that." "I can do crafts, but I'm not an artist." I will tell you everyone is an artist, we are all artists. As homemakers we express ourselves in different ways, wether it is a beautifully decorated home or a meal that is worthy of a 5 star restaurant. My home is not expertly decorated, my cooking will never be called cuisine. Why do I fail so miserably in these areas? I want to be a great cook, I would love to have a nice home, but what it comes down to is the lack of motivation and beneath that the lack of fear. When I picked the colors to paint the rooms, I had no fear or anxieties that I was choosing the wrong colors. I just didn't care enough to be scared. It would be okay no matter what because I wasn't motivated to make it wonderful. When I'm cooking dinner I usually just toss all the ingredients in the pot, as in I don't even read the directions... the most effort I can give is gathering all of the ingredients from the top of the list. I don't worry about it. My lack of fear is because I know it will be edible and I have no fear of failing or motivation to make it amazing. I just want to eat (sorry family,) we will continue to eat the same 5 mediocre meals.
I AM terrified that I'm not a great artist. I am scared evey day that I won't be the best. When I look at my work I see it peppered with flaws and I want to make the next one better, I want to do more and make more. I am motivated by my fears to be better, to work harder. I don't want to fail and I feel every second that I am not dedicated to my art as failure. This aspect of failure is fear, it is my motivation. I push myself, I tell myself I must have courage and I say I will be brave. I don't call myself a homemaker (my husband and I take equal care of the home) I don't call myself a cook (mostly the food is heated) but I do call myself an artist. So my definition of life for you...
life noun1. the motivation beyond fear to existance.
Being able to define myself in that way keeps me going, it is my life. My challenge is finding balance as a mother when my focus is skewed towards art. My little man reminded me today, motivation is fueled by fear, don't run from it face it and you will be rewarded.
I hope you all find joy on your path and remember to be brave, Nikki