This post was originally written for the fantastic Creative Mothers series featured on Lucy’s fantastic Occupation: (M)other blog. I have included the post in its entirety below. I was so shy about this post being published, but having had so many positive comments about it on Lucy’s blog , I’m really glad that I did.
After meeting lots of my fellow bloggers a bit better at Britmums Live, I thought this week would be a good opportunity to publish this getting-to-know-me post on my own page. It’s not my usual silliness, but I hope you enjoy finding out a little bit more about the story behind Beta Mummy. Normal service will resume next week!
In conversation with lovely ladies in #TribalChat, the subject of creativity and motherhood came up, which prompted me to write down some thoughts I’d had about why I started doodling.
This post is very different from anything else I’ve blogged, so I’m a bit nervous about sharing it. My usual posts enable me to hide behind humour and silly pictures, but this one is just me and my keyboard. Me and my innermost thoughts…scary shit.
I started doodling because I was lonely. Several months earlier, my husband and partner of nearly 13 years had left me (and our two boys aged 3 and 1). Still heartbroken and somewhat bewildered by it all, but recovering from the initial, raw shock, I realised that I needed to reclaim something for myself, start searching for myself as “just me”, rather than myself as “us”. A friend gently suggested that rather than spending my evenings pacing the house, unable to settle, I do something productive, something creative. It’s no secret that art, in all its guises, can be cathartic and centering, but I protested, claiming that I wasn’t really the creative type. I’m an engineer, we tend to be very left-brained, and the last time I did anything remotely arty was back at school.
However, I pondered what my friend had said, and I picked up a notebook and pen that was on the table next to where I was sitting. I opened it up…and started doodling. All of a sudden I was transported back to my school days when I used to draw little cartoons of and for my classmates. Here’s one of them (circa 1999), that a friend has kept all these years, and sent me a photo of the other day (cringe!):
Anyway, that evening I sat and drew my pair of Baking. doodles… It was fun to do, it whiled away an otherwise dull weekday evening, and when I snapped them and sent to the friend who suggested it, she seemed to think they were great! I did another few over the next couple of weeks, and she pestered to me to share them more widely, so I started my Facebook page, and then later, my blog. The feedback I get from my doodles is so positive – I’m rather bemused to find that apparently people think they’re funny – and I have come to realise that making people laugh is something which brings me a lot of pleasure. I’ve also realised that in fact I AM creative…I am under no illusions regarding the artistic quality of my doodles, but I like to think that they’re endearingly shabby! As for my subject matter…Beta Mummy is a caricature, but unfortunately I don’t have to employ an awful lot of artistic licence… Let’s just say that I can’t see myself running out of material anytime soon!
I am so thankful to have “found” my doodling habit, and my blog. It is my little outlet, my escape, my way of reaching out and connecting with people through art and laughter. I didn’t start out with any intentions whatsoever other than to fill in the voids of my evenings that were previously spent curled up on the sofa next to my husband. I still miss that, but am thankful to have found something new and exciting that I never would have thought of doing if it wasn’t for him leaving me – it’s a silver lining to a very dark cloud. And in the process of finding the world of blogging, and exploring my inner-illustrator, I am, bit by bit, finding out who I am, now, 13 years on from the person I was before I became one of two.