For the past decade my life has been about art education. I have an art education blog about my journey through teaching art. The last few entries haven’t really been about art education though. They’ve been about navigating the intersection of motherhood and working in a public school.
Being a working mother is very difficult for me. The extremely rigid structure of public school doesn’t really fit with the unpredictable force of nature that is a baby or the way that I want to behave towards that force of nature. I also really hate being away from him. I’m stressed out that I’m not getting to experience Ezra being a baby the way that I want to because I am at work. As a way to get through this school year I’ve jumped into the self help world. I’ve cycled through several self-care routines and my idea of how to treat myself with kindness and how I understand myself is changing and expanding.
One of the places that I worked out a lot of these notions was on social media. My Instagram account has become a place where I express myself. I don’t update frequently but I do try to make every update a musing on my experience as a mother and how that is changing and shaping my sense of self. At first it was hard to share these things because transformation can be painful at times and I’m conscious of oversharing. However, reading the words of others during my postpartum experience was extremely helpful to me. Having others be able to name what I was going through and see that it is possible to thrive after getting through the baby blues made me feel more hopeful. I felt connected to something more than how endless and relentless I found the first two or so months of being a new mother. I want to share so that I can not only churn around these thoughts on my own process but maybe others will benefit from me sharing my thoughts and experiences.
Very organically, I began to receive great feedback from people about the things I was sharing. Not just from mothers but from people who felt my experience was universal. I feel encouraged and I love the connection that having a social media presence has brought. I’m not getting a million likes or even any trolls yet, so I’m not “influencer” status (and that is not a goal of mine) but it is gratifying to have people respond positively to me. That’s a big change that I have experienced since having a baby. I’m no longer looking to avoid connection. I want it.
I wanted to start a new blog separate from art education because I want to expand my ideas beyond what Instagram can offer and I feel like journaling is productive in helping me work through complicated emotions. I called it Brilliant Prototype because I was searching around for words that relate to motherhood, ancestors, predecessors. I am all of those things because of Ezra. I am a precursor and he is great and therefore I have a greatness to me as well. But I am becoming more brilliant and vivid because of how awake and alive I am since having him. I feel a whole new range of feelings and emotions that I’ve never felt before and never knew existed.
This blog isn’t necessarily about how to take care of a baby. And it’s not specifically about how to be your own person despite losing your identity in the throes of taking care of someone else. Who I am is now intertwined with these experiences of caring for Ezra so it’s going to be a little of everything. Mostly it’s about how motherhood has been a catalyst to discover more about myself. I’m all shined up and brilliant.