When my first child, my daughter, was just under the age of 2, it became evident to me that I needed to do something outside of taking care of her and working as a speech therapist. I needed to break away from the mundane, to really enjoy something that made me feel like I was separate from the roles I was currently living. Because I am. My whole life I’ve been a writer and a lit lover. At birthday parties, when everyone else was excited about the candy they found in their loot bags, I was clutching the little notebook and pencil that were thrown in there. I wrote my way through university and started attending poetry readings just for fun. And that’s what I considered writing to be: fun, not work. Therefore, writing was not a viable career option.
As I told you before, speech therapy is not my passion. It is a line of work in which I feel comfortable practicing; I have been in the field in some capacity for about 12 years. I do have enjoyable moments – my favourite part is the people I meet and work with. But that’s not enough to fuel ME. I would not happily and voluntarily get out of bed at 6:30am to work with a client…but I do jump out of bed at dawn to write – and I am excited to do it! I also have a set number of clients that I feel I can work with while still being true to ME…but with writing, I feel like there is no ceiling on how much I could handle.
So, just before my daughter’s second birthday, I googled “poetry readings in Vancouver” and stumbled upon a wonderful organization called Pandora’s Collective. I couldn’t believe that such an accessible, creative group existed; for anyone in the community and FREE of charge, the volunteers at Pandora’s Collective offer fun and stimulating programs for writers of all stages. I went to my first Pandora’s Collective event, Word Whips, in April 2009 and was hooked. I decided to go to a writing event once a month and to start sharing my words with other members of the writing community.
A couple months later, I was blessed to learn I was pregnant with my second child, my son! While the children I bear are the most treasured beings in my world, I am not a happy pregnant woman! My second pregnancy was even tougher and it just wasn’t feasible for me to attend anything “extra”. Getting through the day was what I was aiming for!
A few weeks after my son was born, I started thinking about how I could get involved in the writing community. I was looking for a way to prevent any downward spirals to what I call blah-dom. The Universe seems to like sending me messages via email; when my son was about 6 weeks old, I received an email from Pandora’s Collective (I had signed up to be on their mailing list) asking if I had time to volunteer with this dynamic group of artists. YES! I had time, or at least, I knew I had to make time! So, when my son was 7 weeks old, I took him to my first volunteer meeting and now here I am: I actually host a Word Whips chapter near my home and I fundraise year-round…another passion of mine I had never pursued.
For me, a great way to remember who I am is to be with other people who remind me of that, other people who are like-minded and like-spirited.
Think about the passions you know YOU have. Do you spend time with other people who have the same passions? If you like reading, are you part of a book club? Are you a knitter who meets with other knitters? Do you get together with friends who enjoy cooking to put together a lavish meal and then share laughs while enjoying it? There are formal and informal ways to engage in activities of your passion. Are you doing any of them? Are you happy with your creative outlets? If you are not doing anything you consider fun for YOU, why not? What’s blocking you?