I was once in a freer state of mind than I’d say I am today; one where I hadn’t a care in the world. This mind-state, where what I chose to do, say and feel, only affected me. No one’s life but my own. Others’ reactions were not my responsibility.
The way people perceived my way of life were not mine to care for, to stress over or to meditate on.
It was quite liberating. And although I still live with this understanding, it becomes a difficult shift of reality once you welcome children into your life. Then, unlike now, I was able to authentically carry confidence and assurance with who I was before becoming Mom.
With the support of my family and friends, I was able to embrace the woman I was growing into by shamelessly exploring and discovering passions, which were afforded me. I knew that I could freely test the waters of life without fear of downing in self-doubt.
Oh, but how time and maturity changes all that.
It’s been a difficult thing to accept. Working in a creative field, where I once may have not have felt the need to limit my exposure, I now double-think everything that I write, post and opinion.
With children, I am constantly considering how it may affect their futures. Regardless of what type of art you may produce, as a parent, you are likely to question the intentions of that art with regard to your child’s growth.
For me, I question my every move when it comes to the actions I take. Some actions I embrace more than I had before, exclusively to teach my children true confidence. But for other times, I worry what the general public, friends and family may think. Just because I am their Mother, their Teacher, their Guide. I want to ensure I am representing them well.
Though some individuals may not agree with my choice to include them in social media posts or conversations I publicly and privately partake in, I have presumed confidence that they will accept my power of free-of-speech, my will to authentically share my personal experience, considering that they were responsible for altering it the most.
Individuals in creative fields may be conscious of how they represent themselves as, at times, it also reflects upon their children and family. At least I consider this thought: it breaks me as much as it builds me and I am ok with the vulnerability that it’s shown me over the few years of parenthood.
Though I do not want to lose my artistic inklings, I still want to continue to represent my children with respect. What their mother and father do will influence the way they perceive us and the way they are perceived by others.
Postpartum; I have come to accept my body for all that it did and for all that it does.
Postpartum; I no longer consider my breasts to represent sexuality in anyway. They were meant to feed my young and that alone. I do not feel the need to censor my faults as a parent, because there’s power in representation- especially representation of the imperfect.
I believe the more we accept ourselves as individuals, parents and artists; we will motivate ourselves and our children to continue to self-express, be empathetic and creative.
As our children grow, they may not understand or (be prepared for this) agree with our choices to be free and open, no matter what form of ‘artist’ you may be, but we take the risk, no matter how we portray ourselves, through self-identity, career or vocation. As long as we’re portraying ourselves honestly, then we have a much better chance to be appreciated and loved by our young.
There’s power in reclaiming your freedom when you shed the fear of the future. This is something I try and try and try and try to remind myself.
As a mother of two young and impressionable children, I never will know what the future will hold and how my children will grow. How will they process and present their own opinions and thoughts?
So why not represent our children with the utmost respect, by diving deep into our creative fields, reclaim our freedom, despite how others perceive us. Even how our children perceive us.
Words by Julian Jamie