Over the last year I have spent the majority of my “spare” time and energy on personal growth. Being widowed is hard. But I am not just a widow. I am a stay-at-home widowed mommy of a toddler. This pretty much goes without saying, but sanity is relative for me. The house is always messy, even when its clean! And there is not a single corner of a single room that does not scream toddler. The biggest problem, of course, is that this new life of widowed motherhood makes it nearly impossible for me to find time for myself. But I recently made a change to this and I now have “creativity Tuesdays”.

Since shortly after my husband died, Tuesdays have been my “day off”, when my daughter goes to Grandma’s house. I used to have a simple rule for Tuesdays: NO GUILT. I spent so much time overwhelmed and broken that occasionally I could do something for myself on Tuesdays, or use it organize my life. But many days I was so tired and just wanted to sleep, or stare at the wall, or sit on the floor and cry. So Guilt Free Tuesdays was what I needed to survive.

I have recently changed the rule. I decided that it is time for me to have Creativity Tuesdays. My two creative outlets are writing and photography. The last birthday gift my husband ever got me was a very nice Nikon DSLR camera, but after he died I stopped using it. I just couldn’t see beauty worth capturing, so it ended up hiding out in the back of my closet just sitting there. Well, I dug it out and I’ve been playing with it and learning how to use it. I have started teaching myself a little here and a little there. I love it! So now between writing and photography, I finally have hobbies. I finally have something that I have started doing just for me. Both are solitary activities for me, something that I am a little surprised about. I have always thought of myself as a social butterfly, and I’m not sure that I would have enjoyed spending this type of quality time by myself so regularly. But I find it peaceful and personally rewarding, even if most of what I write is read by only myself and my photos are only seen on my walls. And as I am raising a toddler by myself, with no one coming home to me at the end of the day, without a workplace to escape to during the day, without someone to share any of these responsibilities with… it is nice to feel like I can finally breathe. It is nice to have an identity that is more than just mommy.

Somehow, in losing my husband, that transition from wife to widow changed everything and I lost me. I am starting to feel as though I am getting me back. Not the same me, that person is gone and won’t be coming back… and I am fine with that. I like the new me. I am not the person that I once was. I have changed in ways that I couldn’t explain if I tried, in part because I don’t exactly know who I am yet. I’m working on it… thanks to my husband.

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4 Comments

  1. It’s great to hear are now feeling able to spend time being creative. I totally understand why you put the camera away. I was exactly the same. I no longer felt any joy in it. Going out taking photos was an activity I largely shared with my husband. I also found that whereas before I had enjoyed the solitary time creating my textile pictures and paintings, after he died spending that time alone just made me feel more isolated and unhappy. Like you I am now starting to find the new me.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Good idea, one day just for you. I think I need something like that. I am raising three on my own and it’s a nightmare at times as one has disabilities. Thanks for the writing.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I cannot even begin to imagine going through this hard work of grieving with a toddler.
    I too have found creative outlets to be a saving grace. Photography also, and I’ve just picked up painting for the first time; there is something about putting paint on a canvas that just feels healing. I think in creative outlets we are creating our new selves.
    Wishing you ongoing strength.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Me too! I was working on a paint-by-number project when Nate died. It took me a month or two to finish that project up after his death (I was working on it the night before his accident) but once I started I didn’t stop. I finished that one and worked through another 5 over the following months. I’d put on music or an audible book and zone out.

    I just recently started sketching and painting my own projects. It is so very therapeutic.

    Liked by 1 person

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