Confetti Heart

“Eternally, woman spills herself away in driblets to the thirsty, seldom being allowed the time, the quiet, the peace, to let the pitcher fill up to the brim.”
Anne Morrow Lindbergh – Gift From The Sea

I read these words and recognise within them my own self, as it is perpetually dribbled away into a million different needs and deeds. I feel sharply the sliver of resentment belonging to my wild gypsy self, who longs to give herself fully to the dance, to the work of art, to the concerto, to life. And is instead taught to be happy with creating only small wonders who may go on to become great masters in time. Is this all a mother is? A spinner of the threads of a future miracle? If so, that’s not a bad thing to be. And yet, surely beyond the sculpting and tender nurturance of these warm and splendid mini-selves, there must be something that belongs only to us? Something deeper and more profound than spilling ourselves away, droplet by droplet into others?

As I ponder my hubble’s suggestion to take a sabbatical, to retreat in the face of current difficulties in order to find my equilibrium again, I wonder if I know what peace is. Would I know peace if it came up and greeted me with flowers? Hell would I know it if it bit me on the ass? Probably not. I know what peace is not. It is not waking up with a tight jaw and aching eyes after a night of restless sleep. It is not this knot in my stomach or the nausea that comes from living with my shoulders as ear- muffs. It is not hearing myself laugh and being shocked at how alien it sounds. No. That is not peace. Peace slips in under the coat of solitude, holding quiet by the hand.

The Attraction of Distraction
Many of us spend a good deal of our time disappearing into different distractions so as not to find ourselves alone in a room with silence. Or worse – ourselves. There is tv, movies, books and music and all of these are noble and enjoyable distractions. We can pick up the phone, get online, text or message each other in an instant. If we don’t have someone actually with us, we have something in our ears or our hands or our mouths. We are contactable at every moment and we are available to each other instantly. And therein lies the problem. There are so many opportunities to be busy, to be distracted, to be involved but there are few opportunities to be quiet. Few opportunities for stillness. In fact, given half an hour of quiet we will fill it with a hundred necessary and important things and never even notice the glass of ourselves slowly emptying until it reaches the bottom and we are still required to give.

I love a good distraction as much as the next girl. I can easily lose myself in books or movies or even music. And yet, despite the almost constant thread of resentment at the level of sacrifice required of me as a mother, I spend my time looking at yet more ways that I can give to this little being. It’s as if I am searching for any hole in my psyche through which the ‘perfect mother’ can slip out. Surely, if I can bake the bread, or offer the milk or cookies, or make the doll, then I am one step closer to digging out this recalcitrant mother within. If only I can become the nurturer, the creative playmate, the laughing, relaxed mamma I know I can be, this depleted, worn out soul will be renewed. And so I continue to seek avenues of nourishment for this little soul I love so much. Is it martyrdom? It certainly can be. But it can also be simply what mothering requires. A slow disintegration of the self in order to have room to birth and hold and shelter these precious little beings. No wonder many new mothers are shell shocked in those first few months. Or, if you are me, few years.

I realise that I am not a natural nurturer. I have resisted domestication like a feral cat. I have chaffed at the bit of commitment until my mouth is bloody. Yet all the answers I seek, all the avenues I am currently exploring to find wellness again, are not for myself primarily. They are for her. For my beautiful, golden-haired Beanie girl. So that I may give freely and not feel poorer for it. So that I may lose myself and not care so very much about what is gone. So that I will stop trying to find and stick together all the little coloured pieces of my beautiful confetti heart.

I know she will be a masterpiece. I know, on all the levels that truly matter, she is my greatest work.

Yet I still hold dark dreams of a self that lives only for itself. That creates purely for the joy of creation. That follows the wind with a glad heart and a radiant smile. And who knows peace as a good friend.

Who’s with me?

*Photos from here
and here.

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8 thoughts on “Confetti Heart

  1. i am very much with you. so many of your words echo my own heart. i love this part “Peace slips in under the coat of solitude, holding quiet by the hand.” so beautiful. i never felt the need to be alone really until i became a parent. now i crave it sometimes. yet also, i find myself avoiding silence. filling the void with music, movies as we go about our day. sometimes i try for the input to be not distracting though, but to help me stay connected to myself and my emotions. but sometimes i’m afraid it’s to avoid a deeper feeling of loneliness. i try to make time for myself, to express myself, to be who i am. but then i feel bad for not giving every ounce of my energy to my little one. so i try to find a balance. to give her hugs and love and time and attention. but to try to give some of that to myself as well~

  2. Beautifully written as always.>Is this all a mother is? A spinner of the threads of a future miracle?<Yes, I believe that is 'all' a mother is. But that is not all a woman is.In respect to mothering, I'm wondering if we are viewing the act of mothering a little skewed. What if mothering was a doorway, a portal, a whirlpool even of creativity and self-empowerment?

  3. Gasp. What a beautiful post. I’ve been shattered by the birth of my son whom I love with my life (your confetti heart says it perfectly). Like you, I want to be the mother of my dreams for him, but can not find her within myself. Thank you for sharing your journey so thoughtfully and eloquently. May I quote you in a future blog post? I can’t promise it will be as beautifully written, but I’ll do my best 🙂

  4. Yes. Yes. Yes! Before I get to the ‘meat’ of the post, I feel compelled to comment on your writing. Seriously, darling, I am awed by what you’ve been creating with your blog. You’re just getting better and better. So, even if you’re feeling frustrated and stifled in so many ways, this is one forum where you are soaring exquisitely, (and inspiring all who come into contact with your words). You are such a master at channeling and weaving energy and spirit into word form!Enough waffling… Loved your post, and it resonated deeply with me even though I am not a Mama. Mothering others, to the detriment of my needs, time and energy is something I have already grown to be too good at, though! The motherhood journey, which I’m hopefully embracing soon, is one that scares me for this very reason. If I’m struggling now with taking time for me and my nourishment, my writing, how hard is it going to be with a little one?? I am also the Queen of Distraction when finally stunned to find myself with a squideon of leftover time. Confronted with that quiet place inside. Scary. I like Mon’s comment that motherhood could be seen as a portal to even more creativity and empowerment.

  5. Another exquisitely beautiful post Kat. Really, so beautifully written.Like Mon, I’ve thought that motherhood is a kind of portal, and a threshold where we stand between worlds and aspects of our selves, and who we have been and recognise ourselves as being in the world. Motherhood transforms us, turns us inside-out (erm, literally it would seem. Ahem). We lose parts of ourselves, and grieve for their loss, whilst becoming more. And holding so much.

  6. Hello,I stumbled upon your site today and have to tell you how stunning your thoughts are and how you phrased it all.I am not a mother, but a mother by nature and being. So, while I can’t say I understand how the turning from a woman into a mom feels, I can say I relate to all that is required of women.And, most certainly I relate to the life questions you pose so elegantly. The only comfort I can offer as you go is that there are so many of us wondering the very same.I will come back to visit and perhaps to follow, for I completely enjoyed my time here.Bright Blessings,Holly

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