Two years ago on November 9th I started this blog to honor the memory of my dad and give myself a space to process and share my experiences as a new music therapist. I’m a bit embarrassed that I haven’t written a blog post since March even though I have attempted to start one multiple times. Today I write because I need to mark this day in my own story, and I owe it to myself to continue this blog adventure. This year on November 9th I find myself caught up in a whirlwind of explosive diapers, baby sniffles, a stolen car, endless lesson plans, house upkeep, sleep deprivation, and general feeling of fighting to stay afloat in this crazy ocean of new parenthood. In the midst of all of that, my brain has barely enough room to squeeze in any kind of creativity. That creativity is what kept me so excited about my work, inspired me to write blog posts, and made me excited to compose new songs for my therapeutic interventions. That creativity pushed me to improve my musicianship. That creativity inspired me to go perform with local theater companies and seek out other performing gigs. That creativity drove me to think about growing my career as a performer and a therapist. That creativity was my drug of choice to keep me going even on the hard, frustrating, disappointing days. And to be honest, right now it’s hard for me to find that urge to be creative.
A few weeks ago I decided to try out Rachel Rambach’s podcast “Guitars & Granola Bars,” which focuses on being a mom and a music therapist. The episode I happened to listen to was entitled “The Day the Music Paused”, and as I listened to Rachel reflect on her struggles as first-time mom, I cried. A lot. As she talked about how as she was figuring out how to be a mom, she essentially rejected music outside of her work, which was her creative outlet and mode of self-care, I wanted to shout, “Me too!!!!!” It is heart-breaking when something you love so dearly and that you used to rely on for intellectual sustenance and energy suddenly seems like a burden. I love being creative in so many ways, and I have so missed that part of me that had the energy and willpower to do it all. The fact is that right now I can’t do it all.
I think my biggest fear about becoming a mother was not that I would be a bad mother, but instead I feared I would no longer be good at the other things that I valued in my life. I feared that not only would I not be as good at those things, but I wouldn’t be able to even do those things because of how my life would change once a baby was involved. And in many ways, my fear came true. But I am starting to make peace with that fear and turn it into a truth to hold onto dearly as reminder that I too am human. I cannot do everything; I should not do everything.
So instead of beating myself about not getting cast in a show, or not writing a new song, or not coming up with a clever blog idea, I am embracing my imperfectness. Just like my almost 11-month-old son is clumsily learning to maneuver in this world that must be so strange and overwhelming for him, I too am clumsily figuring out how I fit into this new journey of mine. Baby steps. And lots of deep breaths. And lots guilty-free self-care time. Learning new instruments can wait, writing multiple blog posts can wait, working on new theater audition repertoire can wait, composing new songs for preschoolers can wait. But snuggling a sleeping baby or playing peekaboo and hearing him giggle can’t wait. So I’m giving myself permission to put my creative self on hold for the time being. A creative pause, so to speak.
Rachel also mentioned in her podcast that it took her quite some time to process this feeling of grappling with her changing identity. She references the quote, “Write from the scar, not the wound,” meaning take the time to process the trauma so that you can talk about how you survived it. Right now I feel like I am still in the “wound” part of my journey, balancing a full time job as a music therapist, a part time job as a professional classical singer, and an all-the-time job of being a mother. I look forward to next November 9th a year from now, when I can write from the “scar” part of my journey and reflect back on how far I’ve come.
So Happy Blog-iversary to me! Now that I’ve shared this post, I’m excited to start writing again about why I love my career and how lucky I am to get to be creative in some small way every single day.