A few months ago, the unstoppable Lael Couper Jepson of SheChanges asked me to be a part of her annual (and extremely popular) SheSpeaks women’s storytelling event that came to pass just two weeks ago, in early December. Of course, I said yes – because I KNOW about the power of women’s stories (and I also know that it’s a good thing to get out of our comfort zones every now and then #introvert). The official blurb for my story – Water Witching – below:
How have I disconnected from the ability to access the creative depths within myself? What is it about becoming a mother that has caused me to lose sight of the most powerful portals into my being? Corinne is grappling with these questions as she finds her way back to her energetic source—where she used to swim freely with unapologetic entitlement. Corinne’s story will lift the veil on the ways we honor and abandon ourselves in this thing we call life.
Now that the dust has settled (and my nerves have mostly gone back to base level), I wanted to share the LIVE audio of my SheSpeaks story here, as it’s really the story of my journey to starting Who’s Your Mama Media.
**Transcript and more photos, below**
Here’s what pisses me off.
That there are truths out there – important truths – that nobody thought to TELL me! Like, that motherhood is fucking HARD…and for all that I gain by becoming a mother…there will be plenty that I will also lose.
For me, motherhood arrived joyfully…but also like a big dump truck FULL of expectations and anxiety overwhelm that just UNLOADED on top of who I was. All over my creative source, my creative practice. Just poured it on, packed it tight, and smoothed it over – until I no longer recognized the landscape.
And then – oh shit! – ANOTHER layer dumped on top….was feeling like I was the “Only One” – The only one who felt as I did, who missed the creative being that I was before.
Because the messaging was clear: -Upon becoming a mother, the state of MY mental health and wellbeing was no longer important. I was expected to neglect my OWN needs for self-care, including ignoring the call of my creative source still roaring SOMEWHERE beneath the surface like a raging, underground river.
But I Just. Could. Not. Forget.
My hands literally ACHED for a project, for an outlet. But my creativity was buried under so much stuff, I didn’t even know where to START to dig.
But miraculously (in the seemingly random, half-magic, serendipitous way these things often happen), I began to stumble upon pockets of fellow mamas who felt the same as I did.
And, to suddenly find myself among solidarity & validation – to discover that this conversation even existed – after YEARS of shame and isolation and self-doubt…Well, first I was a little pissed that I had to stumble upon this truth on my own…But, then, I got PUMPED!
Because THIS was the push – the permission – that I was missing! THIS was the divining rod that would show me where I needed to dig!
So armed with this divining rod – crackling with energy – I raced out to the barren field of my creativity like a woman POSSESSED (3-day-old pajama pants streaming behind me, messy mom-bun dramatically askew)…And I realized: This field, it wasn’t barren – it was just DORMANT! And, I just needed to follow the twitches from this divining rod and start digging!
And yet…and yet…I STILL find myself struggling with this.
Even though it’s since become my professional mission – my soapbox calling – to publicly normalize these feelings; to add to this conversation, to make it BIGGER and LOUDER…I am still struggling with this.
When I make time for my creative practice – or do anything that’s just for me – I STILL find myself worrying that I will be labeled “selfish,” or “ungrateful,” or a “Bad Mom” …by some unseen, judicial committee
And It’s exhausting. And I really shouldn’t care. Because let’s be real: As a mom, I am #blessed with just SO. MANY. opportunities to feel bad about myself…and this? This is just ONE of them! I should really just say “fuck it.”
But how? How do I get to that place – that land – of Zero Fucks? Because right now, I’m still over here.
And I think the answer lies with a younger version of me: 16-year-old me, in high school, in art class (my favorite class, of course). Walking over to my cardboard cubby to get out my supplies, when I noticed that someone had taken a pencil and written “SLUT” on the top front corner of my box. And I remember just standing there for a minute, not knowing what to do. I could have easily erased it, but we all know what would have happened next. Next week it would have been in pen, then in marker, then enormous all over the front of my box…and I just wasn’t interested. I wasn’t going to play that game, not in MY house! So, 16-year-old me made a decision. 16-year-old me left that label up All. Year. Long. 16-year-old me said, “FUCK IT.”
Because back then I already knew in my bones what was true. That unapologetic expression of my own agency…That being staunchly not bothered by whether my behavior – whether my existence – was acceptable to others…THAT was POWER. Dangerous power. Burn the witch at the stake power. Rise from the ashes power. Source power. Power that came from within. Power that was UNFUCKABLE with.
So if I can just channel this wise woman that already existed in 16-yr-old-me…If I can rediscover who I fully was – not just my creative source but my whole source – then I don’t need a divining rod, provided by external forces, to follow the twitches of my own intuition, to know what to do next. Because – truth be told – I already know where to dig.
Photos by Melissa Mullen of Melissa Mullen Photography