Tag Archives: creativity

The Possible Underneath

We are struggling pretty hard these days. We get paid on Friday morning and by Friday morning we are broke (yea, you read that right). I am barely keeping the car company off my ass, and most nights I spend the wee hours of the morning hoping the loud pickup trucks ambling by are not tow trucks. Rent is paid late, but seriously who has $1500 on the first, ever?  I slowly pass by the almond butters, the salmons and the exotic fruits and veggies for the staples: peanut butter, fish sticks and iceberg lettuce (or frozen brocc). We are in the sweet spot of making too much on paper but making too little in the real world. It can be hard to dream under these circumstances, yes? Ah…but I manage.

Don’t get me wrong, we have joyous moments. We play board games with the kids (when we tie them down) or throw caution to the wind and rent an odd movie or two (The Oath is so random). We forget about bills, empty bank accounts and pickup trucks rolling by for stretches at a time. A slobbery smile from Cookie or an out of place dance move from The Girl or an absurd comment from The Boy peek under the blanket of stress, for a moment. And in the quiet moments, when the house is quiet and the only sound is stillness, I dream.

Possibility is a constant. It never fades. It is always there to be rummaged through. It is why I lose myself in the stillness and dream. I dream of writing. I dream of creating a space all my own. I dream of vacations. I dream of being better than Sir King. I dream of my children rolling their eyes at the mention of my books from a stranger/classmate/teacher. I dream of big oaks and a conversation with Madam O. I dream about me, the little green sprout, pushing through the cold, uncomfortable blanket of snow.

It is not impossible. Nothing is impossible. It feels like it. My God does it feel like it, but underneath all of this heavy, there is something…possible. No, this isn’t comfy. It affects the sight and the mind. It makes things appear so much different than it is making it hard to navigate. It is easy to get lost when everything is covered. But the minuscule, lush green beacon of light poking through the blinding white is a reminder that everything is possible….I just have to hang on and dig a little deeper. I have to rummage through the possible and grab something, anything, and try it on for size. There is nothing to lose but opportunities not seized.

~SM

From The Mouths of Babes

For a whole fifteen teenage minutes yesterday, The Girl stood making her case as to why I should start making gift baskets again or go back to G. Mag. She proceeded to say how I needed something for myself and how she was trying to boost my confidence. “I have confidence!” I proclaimed. She didn’t look all that convinced. YG sat on my right, amen-ing from his gallery seat. “Please tell your mother.” He said. “I’ve been telling her this for how long?” He said. Okay, okay. I get it. It is time to stop sleeping. I hear you.

Here’s the thing, though. I made (and stand by) some valid excuses—err points. First, the basket thing is tough. I hate selling stuff. I’m terrible at it. And besides, who would actually spend their hard-earned money on…me?  As far as my baby G. Mag is concerned, I refuse to bring her back without doing it right. I need money, and a lot of it, to do it the way it should be done. Figure it out, they said. *sigh* Don’t worry about the money, they demanded. Invest in yourself, they preached. It isn’t that easy. Is it?

Aside from (the valid) excuses and their ridiculous rebuttals, I do feel like it is time. Something is brewing along the horizon in the distance. The air around me is static and the clouds are pregnant…with something.

I won’t say I am close. I am not. But I am certainly not as far removed as I was. I think the circumstances at the present moment are roaring in my ears. So much so, I can’t hear the sound being made from dreams meant to be touched. Perhaps, that is why on a beautiful Sunday afternoon a 16-year-old with important teenage things to do stood in my face defiantly walking all over my excuses trying to convince me of what was waiting. “If I had talent like you, Mommy,” she said matter of factly, “I’d be using it.” Well…I guess its time I start, hm?

~SM

 

 

Planners, Paper, Pens…Oh my!

Paper. All types. Pens. All kinds. Planners. Every one. If it is an office supply, I am drawn to it. It has been like that always. I have journals, notebooks, planners, pens, stickers, labels, folders, markers, crayons, post its, pencils, paper, dividers, rulers, calculators, tape, binders and page protectors in various locations (neatly) tucked away. If I get stressed, I go to the store in search of the perfect notebook. Sometimes, I just stand and hug a pack of filler paper. *sigh* Don’t judge.

When B2S time comes, I start making lists in July. This past August I had a carriage full of school supplies and The Girl just shook her head. “Mommy,” she said with amusement and slight pity in her eyes, “we’re in high school. We really don’t need all that stuff. Just get paper and binders. That’s it.” My eyes fell on the carriage full of boxes of crayons and markers, several notebooks and binders, construction paper, two types of glue, pencil pouches and the like. I smiled sheepishly as I started releasing the booty. For most of my issues, I know the source, but this? With this, I was clueless…until recently.

Overly excited about the discovery that Michael’s had a one day sale on planners, Young Gun sat staring at me.

“What?” I asked baffled by his look of…hmm…no.

“No,” he said.

“No, what? I didn’t buy one,” I protested.

“Good! You have a drawer full already that you don’t use.” Lies. Those, people, are lies. Each planner has a purpose and I use them all the time. He just doesn’t pay attention. “Why do you like paper so much,” he asked. I shrugged. That was a good question. I had no idea.

“I don’t know why I like paper stuff so much.” Silence filled the air as I put my brain to work really trying to understand. After about a minute had passed and my puzzler was sore, I said, “Well, take the planner, for instance. There is something so exciting about it. The way it smells, the cleanliness of it all. There’s so much possibility.”

Ah-ha! And there it was.

For thirty plus years I have been in love with paper and pens (and anything closely office related), and for the better part of twenty, I have felt like a weirdo for the love affair. But here, hanging in the air, was the answer to why this moth is drawn to that particular flame. There is so much possibility. The same can be said for pens and pencils, crayons and markers. The potential is enormous!

 What can be created within the pages of a journal? What life-altering words can be written on paper? What power can be wielded with the pen? Billion dollar businesses have been formed from thought spilled from a pen. Lives have been forever changed by what was poured out onto a blank page!  *swoon*

Anyway, I ended up not buying a new planner. Even though I had a better understanding of why it all meant what it meant, I also had an obligation to myself to be a responsible human being and not hoard…and, uh, also, I couldn’t make it to the store in time.  But, hey, at least I put a face with the name on this age-old love affair. Perhaps now I can put it to good use and actually create something on those marvelously beautiful blank spaces.

 

The Meltdown

I had a meltdown. If I was the Wicked Witch, I would have been all smoke.

I have been working since I was eleven. I have been getting a paycheck with someone else’s signature on it for almost thirty years. I have clocked in and out, followed someone else’s rules and adhered to someone else’s dress code for the better part of twenty. Cookie was my chance to escape. With three months of self-time, I could create a new biz and quit the rat race. At some point, between daydreaming about what I thought I would be able to do and sleepwalking out of sheer exhaustion, nothing was accomplished. With two weeks left until my jail sentence began, I decided to get serious about a seven-year-old idea. But then….

I saw it. I saw my idea on someone’s Etsy page and people were buying it. My idea. Her page. I slid off the couch and onto the floor (yes, literally) and laid in the fetal position shivering. My idea. The one I had drawn up, attempted to create. The idea I had sitting on the dusty mental shelf waiting for the perfect time—for this time—to put into action. That one. It was on some strange lady’s page with her stupid smiling face and her stupid bio. Mine. Mine. Mine.

I managed to get up off the floor before the tears came. I went to the bathroom and burst into tears. Why the hell could I never win? Was I just destined to be a worker bee? Didn’t God know I was tired? Did He not know I have to work hard just to bust a fake smile from the corner cubical under those harsh fluorescent lights? Didn’t He realize I want to create something too? I tore all my little positive quotes off the bathroom mirror and just stood there staring. I sighed. Of course, He knew. He also knew I was ungrateful. I was spoiled and now, feeling a bit too entitled.

The idea wasn’t meant to sit on a dusty mental shelf. The idea was meant to be given and worked. I am the one who let life get in the way. I let vacations, relaxation, concerts and tasty food sneak its way in and steal time. I let dating and wedding planning slide in and take its space. I am the one who let the idea get away. The Etsy Lady got the idea too and she ran with it. I sat with mine and watched it fester and mold and had a meltdown when it wasn’t fit to consume. Tsk tsk.

Of course, I could go through with it anyway. I could do all the extra work to do my version of the idea (cuz yes, they are a little different), but do I have the energy though? Do I have the money? Do I have the time? Nope. Nada. No. I will just chalk up yet another idea gone to waste (the personal shopping thing still burns my buns every time I see it every friggin where–another story for another time) and pull up my big girl undies, swipe my key card and clock in.

Yes, it sounds like giving up, but it isn’t. Some of us are meant to be where we are and there is nothing wrong with that. Perhaps if I just stand still and accept the position I am in I will be much better off, and I won’t need so many stinking Post-its cluttering up my bathroom mirror. I won’t have to constantly remind myself of how great I can be if I can just be great. Right here. Right now. Maybe if I stop thinking about a way to escape, the guard will just hand over the key.

I am going to work on being present and happy in the moment. If I can stand here, now, I can stand there later. And I am a-okay with that.

~SM