Episode 37

Nurture Series Part III: How Do You Nurture Your Self-Expression?

The world is so noisy these days it’s easy to question what you offer to the mix that’s useful and to choose silence.

But where does that leave your soul, your children?

You’re here to be you, not just exist. And your children need what’s on the inside of you—despite their opinions to the contrary. 

So today we’re wrapping up the nurture series by encouraging you to express yourself!

Listen to Episode 37

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Homework: What lights your fire?

Brainstorm what gifts you offer that have nothing to do with your work, the kids or responsibilities. Then decide how you ‘re going to nurture those gifts/passions.

Are you one of those needing to speak up more and share what’s on your heart and mind? If you need more encouragement in honoring your voice? Read “Does Anyone Hear Me?

Missed part I and II of the nurture yourself series? Listen here: Part I and Part II.

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Episode 37 transcript

[whispered] Does this sound like the volume of your life? Or is it more like a repetitive hummmm lulling you to sleep?

[regular volume] Well, in this episode we’re discussing how to add volume and dynamics to your dormant soul.

Hey there Mama Bare. Vanessa here with compassion, candor and clarity for you, the woman who’s lived life on mute for far too long.
I am so glad you’re here.
Listen, every season I add a new feature to the podcast that hopefully turns out to enhance the experience for you.
This season I’ve added transcriptions of the episodes to make our conversations available to our deaf and hard of hearing mamas.
So if you know a mom who would love the show but needs to read the content, you can share the episode with her
Just send her to the show notes for the episode you recommend. For example she can find this episode’s show notes at vinelifefaith.com slash episode 37 all one word.
It’ll take me a while to get all the episodes transcribed because I’m starting with this season and working my way backwards, but we’ll get there.
I’m just excited to make the Motherhood Unmasked movement available to even more moms.
Alright well, you are joining me for part 3 in a series on self-nurture.
And I’m intentional in using nurture as opposed to self-care because self-care has the connotation of caring for your body.
But nurture gives the idea of caring for your soul which is why we started the series with self-perception: what you think of you and then self-worth: how you invest in you.
And today we’re looking at self-expression: how do you nurture your voice in the world.
When I say voice I’m using it as a catch all term to represent the many ways to express yourself.
You may be a writer, or an artist or speaking maybe is your expression of choice, but every form of expression has a voice and you’re saying something no matter how you share it.
And there are so many directions this could go but let’s limit the conversation to expression in two senses: your speaking voice and your creativity.
There’s something I’ve noticed over the almost 17 years I’ve been home raising my kids and it’s that I’ve had to fight for my voice and creative expression.
Now as a woman you already know the struggle to be heard in numerous facets of society—be it the culture, corporate settings, even the church.
But as a stay at home mom there’s an air—even from moms working outside of the home—that as a stay at home mom you’re quote unquote out of the loop, so you likely don’t have anything valuable to contribute this conversation.
And top that off with raising toddlers who don’t provide stimulating conversation, who then become tweens and teens who value the voice of their peers over yours and it’s easy to see how you find yourself whispering or worse muted, because you believe you have nothing to say—at least nothing of value.
And while I think the pandemic evened the playing field for all moms, reminding us no one of us has it better than the other, speaking up because you have value to contribute is a belief you have to nurture.
No one else will do that for you.

In the April Article on Vine Life Faith, I referenced the well known adage: if a tree falls in the forest and no one heard it, did really make a sound?
And even as I child, when asked this, I said of course it made a sound!
And further more, I’ve been that tree.

Whether it’s in spaces predominantly male or predominately white or predominantly of a culture that doesn’t welcome candor.
I’ve made a whole of host of sounds no one heard.
And while we all want to be heard, I’ve learned to honor what I have to say by saying it—even if no one honors me by acknowledging what I said.
Because how can you be a mom who impacts generations if you mute yourself, because you’re conditioned to believe your voice doesn’t matter?
You teach people how to treat you by how you treat yourself.
And if you think your words don’t have weight then you can’t be surprised when no one else—including your children—thinks they do either.
So it’s up to you to nurture your voice by deciding expressing your thoughts matter and being ok with some words being caught—and some words falling to the ground.
Now when it comes to creative expression I’m all about words. I’m sure that’s not a surprise to you. So, my tools are a pen, paper and a keyboard where yours may be a brush and canvas or modeling clay, or a camera, or a sewing machine.
And you may be saying, “Vanessa I’m not into anything like any of that. I don’t do any of that!”
And to you I ask, “Do you know this because you tried them and you didn’t like them or did you refuse yourself permission to explore the possibilities?”

And if you are artistic, are you making room in your life to share the beauty in your soul?

We moms love finding all kinds of creative outlets for our children, but it took someone coming up with the idea of combining wine with a painting class for you to discover you have an artistic eye.
And all I’m saying is as a creative being, made by a creative God, it’s okay to discover and nurture your gift of expression—without a buzz.

If you’ve been around a while you know I enjoy journaling, but what you don’t know is I dabble in poetry.
It’s been a couple years since my last poem, but I have several. And each of them started with a phrase I just kept hearing in my head till I sat down at my laptop and let the rest of the poem flow.
Just me pausing “the busy” to acknowledge my soul had something to say, was all it took for my soul to start talking.
And no, I havent been writing poetry all of my life.
I simply gave myself permission to be curious about what this phrase was that wouldn’t let me go and next thing I knew I had a poem.
And it’s a beautiful thing to look at your thoughts arranged in a stanza or bound in a book and know it’s because you considered there’s more to you than meets the eye.

This week’s homework is taking time to consider what lights your fire.
What gift do you have to offer that has nothing to do with your work, the kids or responsibilities?
In what ways can you nurture or stoke the fire of your self-expression?
Something I find beautiful is word art. I love fonts and the idea that hand lettering is essentially handwriting fonts intrigues me.
So during my last hiatus from the podcast I tried hand lettering.
I found a lady on YouTube who’s teaching style I liked and ordered her free course.
I bought a pack of brush point pens and gave it a try.
And I was just as terrible at it as I expected because it’s not easy to master.
But I find the practice drills relaxing and that alone makes giving myself the space to try it, worth it.
Maybe your thing is taking photos of skyscapes.
Capturing sunrises or sunsets or cloud formations is your jam whether it’s with the camera on your trusty smart phone or your dslr if you’re fancy.
When’s the last time you snapped some shots?
Don’t just wait till you’re on a vacation! Go out some days and just see what you see and capture it just because you love it.
Maybe speaking is what you do best and it’s time you speak up and honor the contributions you can make to conversations large and small.
Do you have a story to tell? One that could encourage or spark transformation in those who hear it, but you’re too afraid to speak?
I can relate.
So, then how about investing in a speakers course? Or you can start small on an app like Clubhouse.
It’s an audio only platform—you may have heard of it—where you can join in existing conversations held in sort of like virtual rooms. Or you can host your own conversation.
It’s been fun—for an introvert like me—to listen in and learn from everyday people and great minds in any field and have the opportunity to get on the quote unquote stage to contribute and ask questions.
But I will admit, it’s still intimidating for me to speak up in large groups, so I challenge myself to honor my voice by contributing more, instead of being content with listening to everyone else.
If you’re on the app, come find me. I’d love to connect with you.
I’ve also created a Motherhood Unmasked club there to host conversations that matter to moms—especially moms, like me, who want to leave a better legacy that the one they inherited.
I’m still figuring out how to work hosting regular rooms into my schedule and keep my family first.
But real talk I’m still also working up the courage to host regular rooms period!
But if you follow me on clubhouse and follow the club Motherhood Unmasked, you’ll be notified when I do host a room.
You can find the link to my Clubhouse bio by clicking the Clubhouse logo on this episode’s show page at vinelifefaith.com slash episode 37.

So! It looks like we both have homework this week.
I hope my self-expression in this episode served to inspire and encourage you to find a creative outlet, stoke the fire of your creative passion, or use your voice to speak into the people around you—especially your children.
I’ll link to the article I mentioned earlier. It’s titled “Does Anyone Hear Me.” I’ll link to it on the episode 37 show page along with the link to join my email list.
Getting on my email list is the easiest way to access the resources I mention here in the show because who has time to remember a bunch of links when you’re listening to this podcast while you’re working out, driving or any number of other things.
I know I don’t.
So make life easier on yourself and sign up to stay in the loop.

Alright Mama Bare, keep nurturing your soul: your self-perception, your self-worth and your self-expression and until next time please remember, when it comes to you being the mother of your children—YOU are the woman for the job. Take care.