I just went on a date. Starbucks. Safe, crowded, easily maneuverable, non-threatening, no-hidden-meaning, can-get-up-and-leave Starbucks. It was awkward. I was uncomfortable. I felt pulled. I felt guilty, as though I had no right to be there, especially with so much on my plate to do.
Relax, marriage defenders. It was an Artist’s Date. With myself. I took myself out for a date. I even put on deodorant and eyeliner for the occasion.
The concept comes from the book, The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron, which I’ve half-heartedly completed in the past. I am now whole-heartedly invested. Even my half-assed attempt a few years ago did a lot of good for me as an artist. One of the things I failed to do last time was commit to the weekly Artist Date with myself. I gave every excuse in the book. Literally in the book, as she names them and says they’re all shitty excuses anyway. And she’s right. So if I want to move forward, if I want to be successful, I need to treat the Artist Within to a little once-a-week adventure. Doesn’t have to cost me anything, although today it cost me about 3 buck worth of White Chocolate Mocha.
I resisted this morning. I almost didn’t leave. What if the kids were too crazy for our pregnant babysitter to handle? What if L. had another coughing fit? What if the baby needs me? So on and so forth. Ultimately, I was fighting against prioritizing myself, my dreams. An hour and some change (the extra minutes for driving) are worth it. I am surprised at how scared I was to be by myself “wasting time” by the end of it. I am surprised I didn’t feel released. I felt furloughed…no, that’s not right…I felt like I was playing hookey. I felt like a bad mother. The whole time, my brain churned out thoughts of terrible motherhood, of how snippy and snappy I’ve been with the kids lately. About how their childhood is flying by and who do I think I am taking time away from them especially since they also have school today. About how I’ll look back and hate myself for missing moments.
So I walked out of Starbucks and walked into a little bookstore. I wanted to silence my brain. I wanted to lose myself in the stacks of books. Instead, the owner of the bookstore came and insisted on showing me around and chatting up her store. I am not one who likes that sort of thing. I wanted quiet. I didn’t want a tour. But I don’t know how to say that without sounding like a giant bitch, so I got the tour. And for ten minutes she spoke about all the programs for kids. I sunk further into my own crap. It felt like the world was letting me know that not only am I not spending quality time with them, I am also not spending quality time with them in a family-friendly bookstore that has story time and art projects and a cool artistic vibe.
Shit and damnation.
Laughable, really. I should delight in finds like that. I guess, for now, I need my Artist Dates to be in quieter places that will distract. Like museums. Or cemeteries.
Obviously, so much churning, so much persnicketiness begs for more dates. Don’t let me cancel next week.
And no, I didn’t put out.