the anxiety of responsibility

The beautiful stained glass windows at Blackburn cathedral by John Hayward... I can't stop looking at the textures and colours. Find out more about the artist here.

I have been struggling to force my thoughts out onto the screen. Physical tiredness, emotional exhaustion, mental lethargy... all the things I thought had gone for a while are here again.

My thoughts are flitting around everywhere and it is hard to catch them and make something coherent of them that you might want to read, but this bittiness does reflect my state of mind and so if nothing else it is honest. I have been meaning to write for a while now.

It frustrates me that I am unable to share more thoughts about creativity on these pages other than so often to express the barrenness I feel. Soon after I wrote the previous post, the ground beneath me started to shake and slip again and my mood of peaceful optimism evaporated, leaving me instead with the old familiar feeling of anxious worry...

Each time I think I am nearer to a peaceful wholeness, a time when creativity may flow, it seems that life requires me to focus closely on something else. I am evidently needed to be intensely active as a mother, grandmother, mentor and guide at the moment, despite feeling hugely unqualified and quite at sea about it all.

This need to be so totally available for my family strips me of creative energy like a sharp frost decimates new growth in the garden. It is so frustrating but I must focus very hard on what I'm needed to do and, indeed, trying to convince myself that I can do.

Thank you so much to all of you who so kindly left comments on my last post... I am sorry that I haven't had the time and energy to reply to you all personally but be assured that they have been read and re-read and are very much appreciated.

19 comments:

A Time to Dance said...

Hang in there my friend and I will continue to hold you up...thinking of you...H

ashbee said...

Caring and nurturing, although draining, is also creative in its way so don't be hard on yourself. You have to do what you are called upon to do but be sure that you will reach a point when you can concentrate on your own creative needs entirely. I talk from experience - but oddly enough that brings its own strangeness. And remember, it is always nice to read your posts whenever you have the time or the inclination...

Sara said...

Dear Mouse
I am a lurker usually, but it's so sad to hear you feeling low, I wanted to send a few words of encouragement.
Your blog is one of my quiet spaces of inspiration that I like to visit. Even on days when you are feeling barren of ideas you create a lovely space for others. I think that's a generous thing to do, but it also shows that even when you think you have no space to be creative you are still creating.
Sara

marigold jam said...

I wonder if any of us are truly qualified to be all the things you mention. I am certainly not at all qualified to be a mother I know but we all do the best we can and make the decisions which seem to be right at the time and that is all any of us can do. I find you posts refreshing in their honesty for haven't we all felt low and overwhelmed at times? Life is not a bowl of cherries as they say and we are all learning all the time! Hang in there and all will be well eventually. "Take a little quiet time each day" and "have patience with all things especially with yourself" these 2 quotes are on cards I bought for myself some time ago when I was feeling somewhat like you are now and I felt I needed to be reminded of their wisdom!

Jane x

Frances said...

Well, Sue, I went back to read your prior post, and its comments, and then re-read this one.

What shall I now write to you, dear friend. First, how I wish that we could just get together for a cup of something and have a real chat.

And then, to let you know that I do get a sense of what you mean about always reaching out for that creative moment, impulse, inspiration and the time and energy to go to it, once that reaching reaches something.

I know that all too well. In the past couple of years, it's caused me to do a bit of examining about who I actually am, compared to who I want myself to be.

This post of yours is bound to have many comments, so I will not try to fit too many words or thoughts into this box. Please just know that this friend wishes you well. Juggling is not easy, even with practice. xo

Lucy said...

I think Sara is right, you are creating more than you know, though I do sympathise with how frustrating it is to feel you are constantly on the edge of being able to create much more. Your post today reminded me a bit of the concept (was it Virginia Woolf?) of ''a room of one's own'', that a practical space away from other responsibilities, rather than divine inspiration, was what a woman needed to be able to create. But those other responsibilities are so important too, and I am sure you are extremely valued for them. Hoping you feel better soon, Lucy

alice c said...

When my children were little and I was with them all the time I used to have a frantic need to make things - to knit and sew. The more demanding the children were, the more complex the patterns I needed to use. Now that they are no longer at home and I have the space to be creative the need has completely evaporated but I find myself longing for the busy times of the past. There isn't a moral here, it is just how life blows and you have to bend with it.

Gilly said...

That is a beautiful window! And I have to admit that I didn't know Blackburn had a cathedral! One day maybe I'll get up to see it for myself. I love stained glass.

I know how difficult things are at the moment. You are doing so well. You ooze creativity - it will all come together again.

acornmoon said...

I hope that you get back on track soon. It sounds as though you are in need of lots of rest, something not always possible for a mother/grandmother/housekeeper/lady of the house, all of which need endless supplies of energy. No wonder you are finding it hard to focus on creativity especially as your energy levels will be low after your recent flu/bug? A good old fashioned tonic would not go amiss, failing that a glass of Guinness, make that two!

I always look forward to your new posts, they never fail to inspire.

Things Hand Made said...

its tough out there. ((hug))

Gina said...

Sometimes we just have to go with the flow and let life carry us. It can be overwhelming at times. Take care. x

JP said...

just take care

Hollace said...

There's more than one way to be creative. You know that you bring who you are into your relationships with your family, friends, and fellow bloggers. Inspiring others and bringing joy to your mom&dad, your child, your grandchild, is an artful use of time, as well. Some things can't be measured by "productivity".

Having said this, I will also say that I know what you mean and I sometimes wish I could live on a desert island with my art supplies--at least for a season or two.

Joy is a byproduct of liking what you are doing, I think.

rossichka said...

Dear Sue, I guess how you feel. It's not easy for a person of Art to live his everyday life with all its challenges and problems and to create. There are moments you simply don't have the energy to think of anything else. Although sometimes the ideas burst amidst the troubles, despite the lack of time. It's much complicated with me - I HAVE TO BE creative every day when I have rehearsals, no matter what happens in my "other" life, with my family and me, in my soul. They expect me to direct and give new and new ideas, to solve all the problems that occur and to be at my best while the others may have troubles, bad moods, moments of laziness or futility. I know how hard it is to gather yourself after being so busy with your HOME TASKS! But just think what you are in the eyes of others, for your precious ones, feel their love and gratitude and don't doubt that the creative moment will com e -sooner or later, because you've got the talent!:-)

caireen said...

dear mouse, so much to say on this subject - i feel like this a bit too just now, not much spare energy, yet a desire to create, but somehow not following through. Reading thru these comments I wonder if when we connect with the creative energies, sometimes I feel as if so much wants to push through me at once, that it leaves me quite exhausted! I wonder if we connect with a creative consciousness where we hear all the plans that desire to be hatched. You must be a good listener! Take care, and yes that is a beautiful window, thanks for posting x

Sue said...

Thank you all so much for your encouraging comments - it is amazing that there is so much support out there and I am truly appreciative. Thanks especially to all you 'no-reply' bloggers - most of you this time! - I haven't been able to send you a personal response.

Pam said...

Dear Mouse,
I read your post with a sense of an echo. So many people needing your heart, your ear, your time. It's so very easy to lose a sense of oneself in all that, and I believe that's what the need for creativity is about for some of us.
Sometimes having the patience to put that personal need on hold is so very, very hard.
P x

ljw said...

I agree with everything that everyone has said so much more eloquently than I could. I think we all occasionally fall off the crest of the wave and slam into a brick wall for whatever reason. Ride the storm, it'll pass and you'll be back in calm seas soon.

greenolive said...

I can't stop looking at the colours & textures either – there is something about a stained glass design – the way the composition is bound by strong lines – so graphic. This is a lovely image.