The Intellectual Mother Meets The Artistic Mother?

I’m working through a pervasive sense of sadness and isolation (yes, even though I’m married with children).  I’ve struggling with yearnings for deep connection with others (in the real world, not just the internet, where I’ve met some wonderful people) and try to make do with my books and my writing (though some of the writings on this blog are a little too far out in left field to be enjoyable for most) but I have still not been deeply satisfied.

I read this piece from Talent called The Special Challenges of Highly Intelligent and Talented Women Who Are Moms, by Belinda Sieger and like some Highly Intelligent Women, and I found myself agreeing with this woman’s assessment:

One woman I worked with in private practice called this same drive to learn, her “lion.” She felt that “the desire to know, to do, to learn is like having a lion that needs feeding; if you don’t feed the lion it roars and makes itself known for sure!”

Like gifted children and young adults; gifted adults are distinguishable not only by their IQ’s but by their intensity, multiple talents, high energy, curiosity and obsessive need to increase in-depth knowledge in subjects that interest them.

But I have been feeding my lion and it’s still not satisfied. I used to work in the biotech field – in microbiology, forensics and medical genetics over a 12 year span before I came home to raise my daughters. I had created two blogs full of general education and science activities and articles I wrote on my other blogs The Wonder Years and The Exploration Station (which was a lot of fun…and I had taken a break from since all three have been in school full time). I have been autodidactic for a few years now. I write semi-intellectual pieces of what I read on this blog (which was an offshoot of another blog) in part to keep my analytical and writing skills sharp and in part to understand the minds of other highly intelligent and creative minds. Some of them generated some interesting dialogue. But it hasn’t been ‘enough’. I’ve been wondering why. I think that my lion just doesn’t eat intellectual stuff. It has learned and thought and analyzed quite a bit and still needs something else.

I’m slowly coming to the realization that I’ve been on the wrong track. I’m slowing down the hyper-analysis and I’m re-thinking my approach to my life.   I’ve only been increasingly agitated and cranky and picking fights with my husband and this isn’t working anymore. Reading and writing my frustrations away aren’t really helping but making them become more entrenched in my thought processes.  I think I’m imbalanced.  Ha…no, not crazy imbalanced.  Not too much anyway.

I’ve been on a S.P.I.N. cycle for too long (to use Dr. Hallowell’s expression for stuckness in ADD – which I may or may not actually have…but I would not be surprised if I do).

I call these periods of being stuck “spinning,” based on an acronym, S.P.I.N.  The term sums up the usual causes of getting stuck:

“S” stands for Shame.
“P” stands for Pessimism and Negativity.
“I” stands for Isolation.
“N” stands for No Creative, Productive Outlet.

I think there is a creative side of me that needs exploration ASIDE from *just* writing.  I have decided to take a look at some creative/artistic resources.

I have recently gotten this book from my local Borders.

Inner Excavation: Exploring Your Self Through Photography, Poetry and Mixed Media by Lisa Lamoreux.

And I have a few books ordered from Amazon:

The Artistic Mother by Shona Cole.

And Doodle Stitching. Mostly because I like to embroider…but I don’t do well free hand, and has a CD of printable patterns. Very awesome.

I also found some great blogs

The Artful Life


I think I need to alternate my periods of hyper-intellectualism with some artistic endeavors.   And then I’ll write about my progress and see if my perspective and my writing changes. My goal? I hope my sense of wonder increases while my negativity, frustration and a sense of dissatisfaction decreases.

How do YOU feed your tiger?


I woke up this morning and, after the girls were dropped off at school, I checked my email and found that Lisa Rivero at Everyday Intensity wrote a wonderful piece on Meeting the Intense Needs of Grownups after being inspired by this blog post. I’m deeply honored to be included in her post and I’ll be keeping my eye out for responses on her blog as well.

About Casey

“the only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars and in the middle you see the blue centerlight pop and everybody goes ‘Awww!’ ~ Jack Kerouac, On The Road Again
This entry was posted in ADD, Creativity, D.H. Lawrence, Inner Excavation, Lady Chatterley's Lover, The Artistic Mother and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to The Intellectual Mother Meets The Artistic Mother?

  1. Lisa says:

    I know exactly what you mean. A few years ago I took up again (after a lag of several years, since childhood, really) knitting and crocheting, especially thread crochet doilies and knitted socks. While I sometimes used the activities to multi-task (e.g., watching movies), I found that when I did them with focused attention, they served as a kind of restorative meditation practice.

    Note my use of past tense in the paragraph above: I haven’t crocheted or knitted in several months, but your post has me thinking that I need to bring it back into my life. Thank you for such a thought-provoking piece. I’m eager to follow your artistic journey and offer my support!

    ~ Lisa

  2. A restorative meditation practice – yes, exactly! That’s what I feel too when I work with my embroidery or sew up children’s toys.

    I was thinking about this too when I was watching the news about Gabrielle Giffords and the 9 year old girl that was killed, simply because she was in student council and wanted to know more about politics so she went to go see Ms. Giffords meet with her constituents.

    My daughters (9, 7 and 5) love school and reading and learning, but they leave plenty of time to make great art projects (illustrating their own stories, making pop-up cards and doll accessories). I’m also taking a lesson from them.

    I just don’t want to focus solely on intellectual matters (especially since it’s very difficult to find share partners with the same interests) and miss out so much opportunity for downshifting and getting out of my head and into engaging my senses and creating of a different kind to help when I’m feeling out of sorts (to put it mildly).

    I’ve been reading a little Nietszche and Epictetus and discussing Dabrowski’s theory this weekend with Mr. Tillier, and I’m understanding them well enough. I just don’t shift gears well out of those intense readings. I find myself bursting with conflicting tensions between what I read, what I value and my ideals and what I am able to live (because my daughters’ development is just as important as my own and there is laundry to do and meals to make).

    Uh oh…it’s time to watch the magic show the girls are putting on for me. I’ll have to come back and edit later.

  3. Pingback: Meeting the Needs of Intense Grown-ups « Everyday Intensity

  4. Frances says:

    Joining a writing group was what got me through the years when my daughter was a toddler and a real handful to boot. I made new relationships with people who shared my interest in writing. The group meetings felt like my only “awake” moments. It started when I found an announcement for an adult writing class that met once a week for an hour and a half in the evening for two month sessions, and I did a few of those. It wasn’t easy, and I did feel guilty about “abandoning” my family but I was so energized afterwards.
    When the classes ended, a few us of met on our own. Later, when that group drifted apart, I joined an online writing group and found that satisfying–not as good as the real thing, but there wasn’t any other choice at the time. I’m not in a group now; I don’t feel like I have the time or need right now, but it’s something that really helped me through some rough years.

  5. Hi Frances.

    Thank you for the suggestion.

    You know…it’s funny you mention a writing group. I was wiping down the kitchen table after the darling daughters ate their breakfast and I was wondering where I might find a writing or photography class. I also noticed that there is a 7-week online class at The Artful Life, if I can’t find anything suitable. I’ll have to think about that. It sounds really neat.

    I started photographing my day, one of the ideas in Inner Excavation. I’m kind of excited about that.

  6. Monica says:

    Thanks to Lisa Rivero’s Everyday Intensity I found your blog. 🙂 As a stay at home mom of two boys (ages 10 and 4) I can relate to what you are saying about having a need for a creative, intellectual, and social outlet. I joined a mom’s group, but most I didn’t connect with. I’m now in a book group which helps, but it is only once a month. I did scrapbooking a few years back and really found it calming. I really need to get back to that I think. I’m considering going back to work when younger son goes to kindergarten, but don’t want to go back to teaching. So lots of overwhelming feelings at the start of this new year. The S.P.I.N. cycle concept is very interesting and how I’m feeling as of late. I appreciate the book links….I’ll have to check out the Inner Excavation book. Thanks for a helpful post! 🙂

  7. “I think that my lion just doesn’t eat intellectual stuff. It has learned and thought and analyzed quite a bit and still needs something else.”

    Finding it?

    Sorry if you got to these. They promptly came to mind when you started talking about the struggles of artists, etc who were mothers, in the other post:

    • Casey says:

      Nope, they’ve been on my to-read list though. Thanks for sharing them here. I’ll try to get to them soon. It’s getting kind of late, but I’m looking forward to reading them. 😉

      I’ll leave a short reply on your other post, then I think I’m going to call it a night.

      will talk to you soon.


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