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f is for funk

October 10, 2016


Is it possible to lose your creativity? Like a set of keys. Misplaced in the fridge, accidentally kicked under the sofa, deep in the pockets of the jeans you wore yesterday? I’ve retraced my steps but no matter how hard I try, I can’t remember when I felt it last.

Maybe it’s stress and worry and lack of sleep conspiring against creativity. I haven’t done my morning pages in months, haven’t been in the mood to pick up my camera. Christ! The last time I posted anything on Instagram was nearly two weeks ago. I haven’t even felt like looking at Instagram. For someone who’s posted almost daily and fairly consistently for the past few years… I just don’t have the oomph. Perhaps muses take sabbaticals like the rest of us? Maybe mine is sipping a Mai Tai on some beach in Bali.

Elizabeth Gilbert says that “The universe buries strange jewels deep within us all, and then stands back to see if we can find them.” Well, either the universe skipped me altogether or I’m blind. I can’t even get a job interview for fuck’s sake (self-deprecation, always super helpful!) In all honesty though, my self-esteem is at an all-time low. I’ve been changing nappies and teaching someone to say ba-na-na and singing the wheels on the bus go round and round and round for the past year. I look like I’m about 98 years old. And we’re moving into a flat that we can’t afford at the end of next month and our heating doesn’t work and I have to find a nursery for Wren and I’m just paralysed with fear. Scared shitless of every little thing. I am so deep down in this funk, you guys. Does this ever happen to you? Where every little thing just feels like one little thing too much. Too much? Too many? Ah! Fuck it! Who gives a shite. And is there anything worse than feeling unhappy when you know that really, there’s nothing to be unhappy about? Like in a at-least-I-don’t-have-to-walk-15-miles-to-get-a-glass-of-water-from-the-village-well kind of unhappy.

So this is a pretty depressing post, isn’t it? And as you can see, I’m not even trying to pull myself up by my bootstraps. I’m just running deeper down the rabbit hole. But I figured it was that or no post at all and I did promise to write. So there.  It’s been a tough month. I’m having a moan. Tomorrow’s another day. Maybe my muse will come back. Or maybe I’ll eat a whole bag of potato chips for lunch.

P.S. Reading this post has helped immensely. Motherhood can sometimes be a lonely ride and it’s good to know we’re not alone.

12 Comments leave one →
  1. Alison permalink
    October 10, 2016 12:50 pm

    I HEAR you. I FEEL for you. And until I can think of something intelligently inspirational ( although nothing could come close to that amazing poem) I will leave you with this one thought.
    At least you haven’t been licked on the face by a dog that has just eaten her own poo. ARRRRGHHHHH! I HAVE!

  2. October 10, 2016 2:30 pm

    I don’t believe you creativity can ever leave because it lives in your DNA. Even this frustration-sad-scared-rant is poetic #truestory. When everything else is piling up on top you can be fooled into thinking it’s gone. But it’s always there.
    And when I’m feeling overwhelmed, the last thing I feel like doing is looking at just how everyone’s shite is so figured out. That makes me want to set fire to their shit and just see how figured out they really bloody are.
    One of my favourite Nora Ephron quotes is that ‘everything is copy’. This current situ, my friend, feels like that.
    I love you. And your words. I can’t wait to read your novels. I can SEE them. I am holding the vision of those printed pages for you until your plate is a little clearer xxx

  3. October 10, 2016 3:08 pm

    Sending love, beautiful Jeanine! I am a longtime reader of your excellent writing and terrific photography here and your honesty, thoughtfulness & deeply intelligent perceptions on the experiences of your life never fail to lift me up or make me feel in good company. May the funk pass quickly, and thanks for sharing your beautiful writing here!

  4. October 10, 2016 3:38 pm

    I love reading your blog that I found thru some Squam friends years ago. I have never felt comfortable leaving comments on blogs. But I feel such empathy for you. I have raised 4 kids ages now are 27,25,21 & 20. And I don’t care if you raise 1 or 12 kids …its life altering. Everything and I mean everything changes. And you are being creative….just look at your amazing little girl. It will get easier and you will find more time and space to be your own creative person again. Then you will be like me sad that they have left the nest, wishing I had not wished so many of my days away when they were younger. Now I am also trying to find a job and poor as a church mouse because raising kids is expensive.
    I owe you a thank you….It is because of this blog that I am now going to find my old camera and try to shoot some film. I love your photographs and your adventures. And if i didn’t live across the ocean I would offer to babysit (Hmm I hope that doesn’t sound a little weird).

  5. Cara permalink
    October 10, 2016 7:48 pm

    I’m just a stranger to you, but I have to say this…anyone who reads your blog for more than 2 seconds can tell you’re creative as fuck.
    Also, I’m several years ahead of you on the motherhood journey, and I’ve been where you’re at. For me, the creativity came in very brief spurts, if it came at all, when my son was really little, and then came back full force when he was around 3 yrs. Don’t let it scare you that it took so long. That’s obviously just my journey, and everyone is different. My point is that it’s always there, waiting.
    And now, a few more years down the road and just when I was starting to feel all smug about getting settled back into my writing/photography, life happened again and blew up my usual routine and world. Really good life stuff – all the best things…but still. I keep having to remind myself that things will settle down soon enough, and I can do my creative thing again.
    Anyway, I started not to post at all but hopefully you can find something useful in all this rambliness. If nothing else, know you’re not alone.

  6. October 10, 2016 8:29 pm

    Jeanine, it’s only slumbering, restoring itself while you get on with your day to day. I want to quote you back to yourself but can’t find the relevant post but it really resounded with me at the time as you described a bear awaking from hibernation & shaking off the lethargy & feeling ready… have a keen eye, an eloquent voice and a capability that may just be feeling shy at the moment but let me say this even your funk is noteworthy! Have faith in your own abilities even when they are feeling vulnerable or absent….
    To quote Galway Kinnell
    “The bud stands for all things, even for those things that don’t flower, for everything flowers from within of self-blessing; though sometimes it is necessary to reteach a things it’s loveliness, to put a hand on the brow of the flower, and retell it in words & in touch, it is lovely until it flowers again from within of self-blessing”

  7. October 11, 2016 1:01 am

    you beautiful soul… may you find peace within the funk… and know that creativity does make its home in your DNA… I wish you peace, dear one… xoxo

  8. October 11, 2016 6:43 pm

    Heard! Sounds like you are being with what is right now. The murky stagnation of the routine. Being responsible for keeping a small human alive, happy, clean all the while changing diapers while teeth are cutting them and you. I mean that is no joke. Moving and being still at the same time. Huge time of transition! And remembering you can take in the beauty of what you and others have created without having to make or do anything specific.

    Rotating crops require land to lie fallow. Fallow can be like a funk. And a funk can be funky. As can music. Tapping into what reminds you of you can help take the edge off.

    Sending you love while you are feeling the funk fully. Brace yourself for a platitude. A true one. This too shall pass. And you get to be where you are and you are not alone there. XO

  9. Heidi permalink
    October 12, 2016 1:33 am

    Hi Jeanine – You don’t know me, but I’ve followed you for years. Soooo much creativity gets channeled into our children, even when it feels like mindless slogging. It’s still there, just diverted. I am waiting for the day you publish your first book, or have a show of your photography — you are such a marvelous writer and photographer, I always look to see if you’ve written something new here, or posted a photo. It always brings me a little ping of joy. And as far as the stress and the new expensive flat — I work with homeless people and I see miracles every day. EVERY. FREAKIN’. DAY. And what I’ve learned is that everything shakes out in the end, and the new great stuff is waiting for the right moment. And with that being said, I like when people share the glum moods too. It’s genuine and real and we all get that. So thanks for the honesty about your current moment, but I also am truly excited for the moment it changes for you too. As it will.

  10. October 14, 2016 10:36 pm

    I really don’t have much to add to the brilliant commenters that have come before me, but I will echo them. Motherhood of little ones is HARD on your identity. It is overwhelming and boring and tedious and stressful. It is also happy and exciting and lovely…but somehow the other things over-shadow the good (maybe it is the lack of sleep). There is no way out but through, but if you find some mothers of little ones to bond with it helps. I don’t know what I would have done with out our ECFE classes (Early Childhood Family Education). They made me feel normal when I felt anything BUT normal.

    And yes…your muse is still shining through. This post is proof.

    Sending you love and support xoxoxoxo

  11. Danielle permalink
    October 16, 2016 5:43 am

    If F was for funk, perhaps it will be followed by G for glorious, grateful or maybe just good. I just found you blog and am certain, without a shadow of a doubt, that your creativity has neither fled nor gone to sleep; it sounds alive and well, though perhaps just a bit grumpy. Thank you so much for posting; regardless of where we are in life, it gets a little nauseating to be always reading all the happy happy joy joy stuff!

  12. Grace permalink
    October 18, 2016 1:05 pm

    Jeannine, what I love most about your blog is your willingness to share even the rough moments of your life. I know all about funk and am currently berating myself for not having done my morning pages, yoga, meditation, whatever gets me started on the right path for months. Oh and those five pounds I put on this past summer are weighing on me as well (pun intended; if I don’t laugh I just might cry). For me it comes on when I am thrown off of my daily rhythm or during the change of seasons. It’s exhausting, working our way out of these funks, right? The good news is that they do past and one morning very soon you are going to wake up to the sun shining outside your window, Wren smiling a good morning smile, and that funk will lift with a WHOOSH! right off of your shoulders. I promise. Until it does, keep writing and be kind to yourself. x

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