Creativity is one of the words that brings out the ‘woo woo’ faster than almost anything else. It’s as if it’s the one word guaranteed to make our inner bitch jump up and say “no thank you, we don’t do that around here!” before you’ve even had a chance to open your mouth.
Why is creativity so scary?
I’ve come to believe that creativity is one of the roots of recovery from involuntary childlessness. However, it’s quite easy to become so comfortable with our “poor me I couldn’t have children” persona that we’re actually a bit reluctant to let go of it. I mean, if we weren’t feeling so sorry for ourselves, and blaming how shitty we feel about our lives on our childlessness, we might actually have to do something about it…
And that ‘doing something about it’ nearly always involves change. And change is scary. Terrifying actually.
I have a theory (road tested to exhaustion in my own life) that we only change when the pain of changing becomes less painful than the pain of not changing. I can be as stubborn as a mule when it comes to hanging onto things that make me miserable. Call me a martyr, call me a masochist… or call me human.
Creativity and change are two aspects of the same thing. It’s about making something new happen. Bringing into being something that would never have existed unless you’d been alive. And one of the reasons it’s so scary is that once we take that first step, we don’t know where we’re heading. We’re building a new path to a new destination and there’s no guarantee that when we get there we’re going to like it.
But if we don’t like where we are, isn’t it worth the risk? (Nope. I’m staying right here. You go first.)
Sometimes it seems unfair that not only did we not get to be mothers, but that now we have to take responsibility for our own happiness. Some booby prize, huh?
Fed up of change
Sometimes, when I’m feeling fed up of transformation, and the pain of letting go, I get a bit nostalgic for denial. With my imperfect memory I fantasise that I was happy then, even though my dreams were dripping with monsters and gore and I simply couldn’t stop eating. I mean, it got to the point where I was sleepwalking and eating simultaneously to keep those monsters at bay! In the end I had a spontaneous Kundalini awakening on a Monday afternoon ten years ago (sounds more fun than it was) and the ‘monsters’ won. Turned out they were on my side after all. Since then change has become my constant companion. And we bitch at each other from time to time like all constant companions tend to do.
I think one of the things that makes us fear change is the idea that ‘letting go’ of the past means ‘losing it forever’ – but that’s not been my experience. Through the changes of the last ten years my past lives on, but in a different way. It’s now integrated into the person I’ve become, and keep becoming. I view my past through a different lens now, and am a lot kinder to the person I was then, and some of the dumb decisions I made, and blamed others for.
The process of change accelerated massively over the last four years once I accepted that I would never become a biological mother. Sometimes I have been quite terrified by the way that my life seemed to be on fire – relationships, careers, hopes, security, ambition, self-image – the whole damn show on the bonfire. The dream of becoming a mother was the last to go, but boy did it make a big bang when it went!
In alchemical terms, this process is called ‘calcinato’ which means to be purified by fire. And out of that fire comes the phoenix. Many of us are familiar with the symbol of the phoenix, but tend to draw a veil over the process of being burned alive. I know, I’m selling it really well…!
Blowing the doors off the car
One of the (many) reasons that creativity is so scary is because we know, I mean we really know, that even allowing ourselves a tiny side-trip into it will begin a process of rediscovery and change that could blow the doors off the car. That we might risk taking our happiness into our own hands again and relinquish our identity as “that poor woman who really wanted to have children and it didn’t work out for her.” But we don’t yet know what we’ll put in its place. We’ve got so used to feeling left-out, hard-done-by, unlucky and pissed off that we wonder if we’ve lost the knack of being any other way.
As Erica Jong wrote, “Take your life in your own hands and what happens? A terrible thing – no one to blame.”
If your back’s against the wall and you’re sufficiently fed up with how you feel about how your life has worked out, please listen to the quiet voice that says to you “I really want to go ice-skating again” or, “Wouldn’t it be great to actually go to Paris” or, “I wonder if my potter’s wheel still works?” or “Maybe I could write a blog?”…
Your soul is calling you. It’s ready. And so are you. Put your oven gloves on Kitty, it’s going to get toasty in here!
At the time of writing there are still a few places left on the two Gateway Women Groups starting this September in London. Still Hopeful (Wednesday eves from 5th September) is for women who are still able to have a child and are being gripped by the silent misery and toxic shame of thwarted motherhood; Reignite! (Monday eves from 10th September) is for women who are no longer able to have a child and would like some support, inspiration & encouragement to get their Plan B going! Both groups last 12 weeks and follow a structured series of steps to arrive at a new way of dealing with your situation.
Jody Day is a London-based writer and the Founder of Gateway Women: an organization she founded in 2011 to support, inspire and empower childless-by-circumstance women to live fertile, passionate, meaningful lives. Gateway Women is for women who are still hopeful of becoming mothers, and also for those for whom that time has passed. She holds a certificate in integrative counselling and is training to qualify as an integrative psychotherapist. Jody runs groups & workshops for Gateway Women, and also offers one-to-ones for women looking to explore issues around identity, maternity & fertility. A Godmother & Aunt many times over but never a mother, she speaks regularly at events and is always looking to share her empowering message with new audiences. If you would like Jody to speak at one of your events, or to write for your blog or magazine, please contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org