I have so many fleeting thoughts and rants about living that artist life that often I find myself just word vomiting it on instagram stories. But I've been wanting to write something a little bit more in depth about the emotions I've been navigating from first finding out I'm pregnant (which happened right before pandemic hit) to now. I had a whole other blog post draft which I wrote in the first few weeks I knew, but then life happened and the world kept changing and things felt even more complicated than I could have imagined. So I'm here starting over to share retrospectively because some of the emotions have evolved, some continue to linger, and I'm preparing for a whole new onslaught of them once my baby arrives.
Let me preface everything I'm about to write with the fact that of course I am very grateful and happy to be pregnant. I completely understand that many wish for this and never get it, many have lost their children through the journey, many would think that the things I'm about to say are appallingly negative. I don't mean to come off as any shade of unappreciative of this major life event. I've always known I'd be a mother and very much looked forward to it so please keep that in mind. We can hold multitudes of emotions at the same time.
In the first few weeks of knowing I was pregnant, I was feeling a mixed bag of anxiety and annoyance. This surely was influenced by the fact that I was tired ALL the time, but the target of my irritation wasn't what was happening with my body. It was the fact that I knew things would be affected in my creative career. I had rolled into 2020 on a high thinking that the world was my oyster and that THIS was the year it would all come together. I finally felt like my name was getting out there and I was well on my way to becoming a highly regarded artist in the Atlanta scene. Accomplishing murals was a large part of that and finding out that I'm pregnant meant that I now had a countdown clock - that soon I'd have to push the pause button on that momentum. And that was incredibly upsetting to me.
Enter in Covid-19 and that became amplified times 100. Not only was the countdown clock still going but I started losing opportunities and projects that were slated to happen in Spring/Summer that faded away because of everything happening. Now the ultimately positive angle of this is that the shutdowns really forced me to rest at a time I needed it most. I had planned on going hard like 180mph until I physically couldn't anymore so in retrospect, it's really good that the world forced me to slow it down. Unfortunately that also meant that all that annoyance I had was now getting a shot of sadness, feeling irrelevant, regret, and isolation. I spent many days moping about during quarantine - binging old tv series, eating just to feel something, and not painting.
Sometimes I'd be able to pull myself out of it. Requests for commissions and proposals here and there gave me a lifeline and reminded me that it's totally possible that everything will be OK and my career will continue on through and after all of this. But still, there were (and probably will be) lots of mental breakdowns wondering if I'd have to give up everything I'd worked for my whole life because of the circumstances coalescing around me.
Months and months later, I've come to terms with this anxiety and worked to dissolve it as best I can. My belly feels big now - although will definitely get larger still - but my stress is thankfully less, at least in this moment right now. It's probably because the promise of an adorable tiny baby who needs me is so imminent and close, that I'm better able to focus on that priority rather than focusing on what I could be potentially losing.
Still though, as I continue to see opportunities and mural calls and the like, I'm reminded that my life is changing forever. I can no longer afford to put all of myself out there all of the time. I can no longer risk throwing precious time into the void without a promise of proper compensation or acknowledgement. I've spent my whole life being willing to sacrifice my creativity and my time for the possibility of getting closer to being the artist I imagined I could be. For the opportunity of exposure.
This will be extremely tough and a work in progress as everything always is, but I have to learn to say no. I have to retrain myself considering the value of my time, my spirit, and what I truly want to put out into the world. It's not going to be easy. I actually think that this might be harder for me than becoming a mother. But I'm hoping that being a mother is what will finally motivate me to set the right priorities for myself and my family.