Monday, March 29, 2010

Creativity Tips: Pleasure and Pain

My sweet Kate was born 20 years ago today. She is, quite simply, my heart. I could go on at some length regarding what a wonderful, amazing, good, kind woman she is becoming -- but I'll save that for a one-on-one with Kate.

I'm going to share with you the birth-related creativity lesson it has taken me 20 years to learn.

Let's go back to the very day: March 29, 1990. Kate arrived 12 days late and after 27 (count 'em) hours of labor.

During those 27 hours, Tom and I made two trips to the hospital. They sent us home the first time because things were progressing too slowly. When I was finally admitted, there were two reasons I was a model patient:
  1. Good drugs.
  2. By the time the drugs wore off, there was another woman in labor, screaming so loudly you could hear her all over the floor. I decided no one needed to hear my pain.
After delivery, the nurse told me I was stoic. I took this as more than a compliment. I have worn it for the past 20 years as a badge of honor. You can be a wimp and a whiner. Not me. I'm STOIC.

Do you know what the dictionary definition of stoic is? "A person indifferent to pleasure or pain." And I was setting that as my gold standard.

Well, guess what? I am not stoic. Last Friday night, I had a public meltdown after a long, hard day that included a tearful mentoring session with a friend, a three-hour doctor's appointment with my 88-year-old mother, and a farewell visit to a beloved friend who's now in hospice.

You know what happened as I sat and sobbed at the synagogue? I was comforted. Mo, Sandy, Laura, Vered, Mark and Linda hugged me, consoled me and supported me. They were not horrified or appalled to hear and see my pain. They wanted to help me. And I let them.

To be fully creative, we must be fully ourselves -- strong enough to share our pleasure and our pain. Today, part of my birthday wish for Kate is that she grow up surrounded by friends who love her through good times and bad, friends who help her be whole. Happy Birthday, sweetie!

Amuse Amber #4: Feeling boxed in? Check this out.


Barb said...

Please send a big happy bday to Kate, who I've looked up to since I first met her (I think she was about 8 or so?). What an amazing mom you are -- and friend.

veredlh said...

Thanks for the afternoon tears. I do not look good crying so I'll stop now. But you are an incredible life learner and grower and I'm lucky to know you.