Something I give a lot of thought to, consciously and abstractly, is the phenomenon of women comparing themselves to others. Do men do this? Honestly? It seems like nothing blows a hole in a nicely rolling tire more than the feeling that someone else is doing it better than us. Or, ever get that false sense of confidence from thinking you're doing it a bit better than at least one other person, so that carries you a mile or two, until they ride up on your ass and pop a hole in that flimsy theory, too?
There are so many things to stop a woman. Too many.
I remember picking up Spilling Open by Sabrina Ward Harrison when I was in my late twenties, (headed back to art school) and upon devouring it, thinking, "This young and beautiful artist stole my life! Tart!"
I don't know that I really believed it, because though I have stumbled over my perceived inadequacy many times, seldom have I been stuck in a creative quagmire for long. In the end- not long after reading Sabrina's works, whom I'd erstwhile fashioned a graven image of- I discovered that, indeed, she did not steal my life, and that my very own life and expression of it was waiting for me just up around the bend- and that I could feel free to meet it whenever I was ready to face that my expressive arts weren't really going to look like the work of those I admired. The whole process was going to be a bit rougher, more informal, messier, tattered around the edges, fumbling, frustrating, sometimes even foolish.
I am blessed to create what I create, to birth what I birth, to hold a safe container for others' messy processes to wriggle out into the world. My extremely original writerly comadre Marybeth told me that it's the midwife's job to sit on her hands and sing songs in the other room, while all-the-while trusting that mama can do it, that baby can do it, and that all will come into being just as it is meant to. I'm so grateful to her for this metaphor.
Sometimes we have to do this for ourselves. Ego and Personality can sit, godparentlike, in the other room, singing sacred and holy favorite hymns, while true path is born from the unconscious into the conscious realm. Shamans laugh at this reality we live in, calling it the illusion, while the inner realms- journey and transparent contact with higher dimensions-THAT is reality. It is that very transcendent place which birth occurs from.
No one can touch what happens in our dreams, in our journeys, our active imaginations, and meditations. The sacred realm is ours alone. And though we are all connected beyond space and time there, unified, spirit-wise, what is very deep within us comes forth when we make the journey inward to meet it.
What I mean to say, really, is that we can strike an agreement here. We can agree that we are not afraid of each other. We can agree to trust that my baby will not look or act like your baby once born. We can agree to do the innerwork to the best of our abilities in order to honor our one precious life and the expressions that beg to be birthed. You can do this, and so can your sweet, creative lovechild.
I'll keep the fire burning and the songs singing in the other room while you labor.