Art isn’t something you do.

Writing is my heart. But dancing is my soul.

Since becoming a mother, this lifelong lifeline was restricted to either gas-relieving baby bouncing in the wee hours or weddings where I ended up too tired or too focused on sneaking a second (fourth) piece of cake to do any actual dancing.

Not dancing caused a longing in me akin to missing a favorite lover, a dull ache that could not be eased with midnight bouncing or excessive sugar.

I had to reignite that part of me. Part of a parent’s job is to show children that artistic passions are as vital to happiness as succeeding academically or athletically. What message was I passing on if I so dreadfully missed the one extracurricular thing that made my spirit shine?

Maggie Knowles during a dance lesson with John Nolan of Collaborative Movement in Westbrook.

At a party the night I decided to dance again, a woman mentioned she was a ballroom dancer and raved about her instructor, John Nolan at Collaborative Movement in Westbrook. I texted him on the spot (the universe is cool like that). During our first lesson, the holes in my soul were mended with golden energy and this momma, quite literally, got her groove back.

Many friends lament the swift departure their creative life took once they earned the title of “mother.” Their faraway gazes recall it hightailing down the driveway, carrying a satchel of precious passion with it as it went.

Hear this: Don’t give up your creativity. If you have, get it back.

A painting by Lisa Broder.

Lisa Brodar, a natural perfumer by trade, had always been a painter, until life drew her away from the canvas. But she recently found her way home to her paints—and she has started sharing her talents with her children.

“I have always been creative, and so my art defines who I am, like a part of my body. Painting and drawing are things I’ve done since I was a child,”  Brodar says. “I did admittedly give that up for a few years while running a business and raising two kids. Over the last few years, I’ve dabbled in painting, with frustration. Finally, I feel I’ve found a style I love, and I won’t be giving up this very important part of me anytime soon.”

Pamela DeSantis used her creative prowess to sustain her soul and support her family after going through a divorce.

“Creative energy is something I was determined to maintain most especially after becoming a single mom and needing to work to support my three kids. But I also knew, as an artistic being, I would lose my fire sitting in an office 9 to 5,” says DeSantis, the Queen Bee of Honey Tribe jewelry. “So, as a solution, I turned my creative energy into my work. I use my creativity in every aspect of my jewelry business from marketing to designing and creating pieces. I also think creativity manifests itself in different ways now, like cooking and dancing—sometimes both at the same time!”

What do you miss? Dancing, singing, photography? What is stopping you from letting that gorgeous spark ooze back into your life? Pinky swear to me right now that you will allow yourself an artistic affair with that one thing that feeds your mind, body and soul. Don’t let this permission go unanswered because you don’t think it is important.

Because art isn’t something you do. Art is something you are.

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