There’s a pretty big part of me thinking, “I should have worked today - and yesterday too! There’s just so much to get done!!” But apart from a couple quick jobs and some shuffling of potential stone options on my desk, I haven’t been in the studio for more than a few minutes since Friday.
The past couple of weeks I’ve spent my creative time putting together an order for the gallery. I feel so good about the pieces I created - and the collection as a whole. There’s a wonderful mix of colors and details and the whole bunch feels like a warm-up for all of the wonderful spring-y ideas I have tumbling around in my head. But creating the collection was a little stressful, too. And I found myself returning to old habits and pushing myself to get everything finished and shipped off. Instead of letting the work flow freely I gave myself a hard deadline (because that’s what I do!) and lost my love of the process.
On Friday, once stones were set and the order was complete, I was able to take a breath and I realized - I didn’t want to be in the studio. I didn’t want to make jewelry. I didn’t particularly want to make ANYTHING. The beginning signs of burnout. But I’m doing things different now. And when I start to get that feeling, the moment I recognize it, I have promised myself I’ll drop what I’m doing and DO SOMETHING ELSE.
It’s hard for me sometimes, that I can’t just see a better way of doing things and then immediately adopt those practices for ever after. This has definitely been the case with food, and the way I’ve used it to help manage my health for the past couple of years. It’s like, I KNOW eating a giant cookie will taste amazing in the moment, but ohhh…the headaches and acne and sluggishness I will deal with tomorrow! It should be enough to deter me, but sometimes it’s just not.
Maybe it’s all in my genes, the way I’m made. With food it makes total sense - my ancestors needed to be able to survive cold winters and times of famine - so every time I see something sweet my body says “eat THAT and you’ll survive!” But though I’m not fighting for survival and I know I don’t actually need all that extra (delicious) sugar I can’t help but want it.
I’m a little like a mustang in this way. They can survive, even thrive, eating the sparse grasses that exist in the wild and seemingly inhospitable swaths of open space in this country. They grow sleek among the sage, getting all the nutrients they need there. And then we humans capture them - tame them, become their friends. We feed them unending amounts of hay and grain and treats and watch as their girths expand and they develop insulin resistance etc…it can get to be a big old mess because they simply don’t need all of those extras.
But now I’ve digressed…and I suppose it’s time to corral these thoughts of mine.
The clearest way to say it is that I’m predisposed to some tendencies. I will happily eat cake for every meal (and feel awful). I will diligently work myself into the ground (and then suffer the weeks of burnout and disinterest in my work).
It’s hard, but I think it’s probably sort of good to stumble like this once in awhile so that I can remind myself WHY I choose to live and work the way that I do. It’s necessary to remind myself that I have a choice.
I’m two months into this new year and it’s clear that living a Creative Life will always have to be a conscious choice for me. It will never be a given and it won’t always be particularly easy. I must seek it and choose it EVERY SINGLE DAY.
So I’m not going to feel bad about not getting jewelry work done right now. I’m going to feel good about baking black bean brownies. I’m going to feel good about re-caulking some of the joints in our living room walls. I’m going to feel good about planting a mini cactus garden and snuggling my Eleanore and cleaning the bathroom. And the making, in any and all mediums, will be waiting when I’m good and ready.