An Epiphany


I had one of those days yesterday. You know the sort, when even the simplest of tasks turns into a fiasco and by the end of the day you feel a complete and utter failure - at everything.

The day started as most days do, with me hoping beyond hope that I'll have time to do some artwork. I sit having breakfast - once Little Bear has hers and is quietly trying to get spoonfuls of porridge into her mouth without dripping any down her - I check emails and look at the work of the amazing artists I follow on Instagram. How, I wonder, do they manage to get so much work posted so regularly?

I think about my unfinished 'May Maiden'. Hmm... that name is going to seem a bit of a joke as there is no way it's going to be completed by the end of May. Well, not May this year anyhow. I'm actually pretty tired of looking at that piece of work right now, it seems to represent how far my dreams are from reality. I'd forgotten, for example, just how long a coloured pencil portrait takes.

Then my thoughts came back to my to-do list, which is currently rather long. It's Little Bear's birthday in a few days and as well as making a vegan birthday cake for the big day - thank you so much to Mimi's Cookie Bar for creating a recipe specially for me *mwah* - I have to make lots of vegan cupcakes for her friends who are joining her for her party.

Yes, my little pre-schooler decided out of the blue, just a couple of weeks ago, that she wanted a party. I had hoped to avoid such organisational hazards until she was firmly ensconced at school and had a small group of regular friends. At the moment, at this young age, she will play with whoever wants the same toy at baby group, or whoever is sitting closest. It meant working out who to invite was a rather daunting task - so I asked just about everybody and have arranged an informal playdate at the beach with the offer of some yummy homemade cupcakes. I'm pretty sure the children will have fun, while us parents lie back and watch while having a nice cup of coffee from the nearby beach café. That's the plan anyway.

Okay, so back to my horrendous day yesterday...

I thought I'd better get to the shops and start getting ingredients for the cakes, plus extra cake and muffin pans, and something for last night's dinner. Bear in mind, we are a one car family so Little Bear and I have to get buses to the shops, which limits the amount of groceries I can get because I have to carry them. I used to bundle as much as I could under the pushchair, but now Little Bear wants to walk everywhere I tend to leave the pushchair at home.

So, we got our first bus okay. It was almost lunchtime when we arrived so we thought we'd head to the instore café for something to eat. First disaster, it was closed for refurbishment. Great. As I'd planned on eating on arrival I hadn't packed snacks. Note to self - always pack snacks in future. Always.

I'll cut a long story short by saying the next three hours before we got home just continued like this. We had to walk a very long way to another café as there wasn't going to be another bus for over an hour. After having a lovely, although more expensive, lunch, we missed the return bus by two minutes. I picked up Little Bear and hurried as fast as I could to the stop but it pulled out just before I could get there. So I walked back to the grocery store which is an uphill climb, still carrying Little Bear as she didn't want to walk any further.

So, with two bags of groceries and a tired child I eventually got home, just as it was time to start preparing the evening meal. Little Bear was grumpy as she had missed her nap and I was so tired I wanted to cry.

I tell you, while I kid myself pursuing my artistic career in the way I want to is doable, right now it's not. No way.

After I got Little Bear bathed and to bed, I sat in blissful quiet for a while and I had an epiphany. I know I've been telling myself, and you guys, that I'm trying to achieve way too much right now, that I need to concentrate on what's most important - namely my little family. But I really want this for myself, I want to do my artwork and have people take notice. I really want a career doing this creative stuff that I love so much and find so fulfilling. So nothing really changed and I kept trying to do-it-all. The flipside is I feel enormously guilty and selfish for trying to do so. Besides, as I learnt yesterday, I just don't have the time or the energy for everything I'm trying to achieve.

In a way, yesterday was one of those blessings in disguise. It was like a very wise person saying, 'look, you have nothing to feel bad about, you do your best and that's all anyone can do. Now give yourself a break, because you're the only one making things this difficult and nobody expects more of you.'

So, what now?

A little break. Some space and peace. More, guilt-free, time with my rapidly growing Little Bear.

I'll still want to do my art, and I will, but I will try not to give myself an agenda.

What will be will be, and besides - all good things come to those who wait.

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