Here it is: another blog post borne from the encouragement of "That's what she said," an inspiring blog link up/series hosted by Dean and Courtney that uses the words of women as inspiration for writing blog posts. I wholeheartedly support more use of women's voices in creativity. You may still join in today's prompt on the image below.
Somehow I still remember a simple assignment in first grade. Our task was to draw a portrait of ourselves, in the future, doing our dream job. We were to put color and form to our ambition.
Bernadette drew herself in a nun’s habit, Susie was sitting at a desk with a typewriter and a phone, diligently being a secretary. Marie drew a stereotypical headshot portrait of herself wearing what we all recognized as a nurse’s hat back in the day when nurses actually wore hats.
My portrait was a brown haired woman with twinkling blue eyes. She wore a pink dress and pearls and her foot was popping - much like one sees in a chick flick when the first kiss happens or the long awaited reunion actually occurs and the delight can’t be contained with two feet on the ground. In such circumstances one must rejoice by standing with one foot aloft. My seven-year-old self knew this and drew this as the “me-in-the-future” stood next to a baby in a high chair who was, in that very moment, pushing a plate of food off his or her high chair.
What was it about being a Mommy that made my seven-year-old self include a foot pop? How did I know I would feel such delight even when my child was throwing food off her high chair?
All these years later I can confidently declare the role of "Mommy" is the best I have ever had. I have been on stage, I have been in boardrooms, I have been in busy offices, I have worked in social services and the place I like to be the most is surrounded by my children.
I have never been without ambition beyond Mommying as well, though. Mommying has been more who I am as well as what I do. I am a better Mommy when I allow my outside-of-Mommy ambition space to roam. My writing, my theater work, my creative life coaching work, my travel and relentless documentation of my life via memoir and storytelling. Active engagement and follow up on these projects makes me more likely to have "foot popping Mommying moments" than if I didn't both say I need those moments and then act on what I say.
I spoke with a friend the other night about some of our challenges. I came back with one of my standard beliefs, “It is about the process. I know I need to go through this feeling of social aloneness to get further along with my process.”
My friend said, “ The problem is, I don’t know what my process is for.”
I’m one who creates my own ambition. I don’t look to outside institutions or careers or people’s opinions, I go for my self-steered goals with gusto. I wanted to start being involved with theater so I started auditioning. I got roles, I participated and learned and grew and did more. I wanted to write so I wrote and I submitted and I published and I created places to play and stepped into places other people were playing.
I wanted to improve my voice so I found, signed up for and took a singing class. I fell in love. That ambition went nowhere visible but it took me to my acting class which then changed the direction of my life.
When I was a little girl wanting to be a Mommy I didn’t know on the way to the smiling face I would experience infertility and stillbirth. I didn’t realize one of my children would have autism and his sisters would be “special needs siblings” like I was with my brother John who had Down’s syndrome.
I thought being a Mommy would be all about the celebration, not the ache.
The thing is, ambition sometimes comes with unexpected ache. When we approach the ache, we have the privilege of choosing to let the ache do one of several things. Our ache may define us. Our ache may add dimension to our end result. We may turn and run from our ache, we may cover up our ache with numbness, instead, because we believe numb is better than ache.
Ambition is stirred with clarity of voice and alignment in action according to what I say.
If I don't know what to say, if I don't have an aim or a path I won't get anywhere.
I won't get the Mommy Foot Pop.
Instead I will get the Mommy-stuck-in-the-quick-sand of self doubt and lament of "Is this all there is?"
That first stone on the path is a perfectly respectable start in order to discover what it is you want to say.
My first stone is carved from the question, "What causes my foot to pop?"
"What delights me so much I can't possibly keep both feet on the ground?"
Recognizing what delights you is the first step to getting what you want in life. Once you determine a foot popping possibility, tell someone about it. Maybe that someone for you is your notebook or a blog post or a whispered confession over coffee with your best friend or to your husband or partner after the kids have gone to bed.
Are you willing to take the risk to create a foot-popping filled future?
Julie Jordan Scott inspires people to experience artistic rebirth via her programs, playshops, books, performances and simply being herself out in the world. She is a writer, creative life coach, speaker, performance poet, Mommy-extraordinaire and mixed-media artist whose Writing Camps and Writing Playgrounds permanently transform people's creative lives. Watch for the announcement of new programs coming in September 2015 and beyond.
To contact Julie to schedule a Writing or Creative Life Coaching Session, call or text her at 661.444.2735.
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