Choose Yourself First: Women Making Art (And History)

Amy Maureen Lynch | Broad Strokes Book: Women Making Art And History | Notes From Another Land

I thought I’d share a bit of reading material I’ve been using to help with the past five months I spent hibernating during one of Ottawa’s coldest winters in a while.

A recent book I’ve been reading is called ‘Broad Strokes: 15 Women Who Made Art And Made History (In That Order)‘ by Bridget Quinn and it is full of badass artists, many of them also mothers.

One of my favourite takeaways so far is ‘Art Before Dishes‘ from a book published by artist Susan O’Malley, ‘Advice from My 80-Year-Old Self‘ the year after she died unexpectedly, aged 38, pregnant at that.

A bit dark but stay with me here.

You see, I have been thinking a lot about mortality, especially since having kids, when I found myself faced with it as a reality a bit more due to major surgeries, living away from family, trying to organize wills, putting down some ‘roots’ etc.

Much of what I’ve been doing over the past decade (pre kids and after) has been motivated by death.

Moving countries multiple times, going back to school, changing careers/industries, proposing to my now husband, continuously learning, experimenting, practicing art, writing regularly and most recently, bringing my children into business settings.

My motto has pretty much been, “You are going to die some day, so give more than you take and do what matters to you.”

Because in the end, the clock is ticking, your time here is unknown and you have the power to change your reality, through mindset, creativity and oftentimes bold actions. As these artists and changemakers have done.

All belong to you and stop with you. Use them wisely.

Highly recommend the book and a few other authors I have been reading over the past few years, who may help you on the self-discovery path to choosing yourself first include:

A bit of self-help and much ego, limiting belief and self-imposed limitation checking, with a side of some financial literacy.

What happens when you start choosing yourself first?

Based on my experiences:

  • It may cause friction.
  • You may burn bridges.
  • Relationships may change.
  • You may quit jobs and/or move cities, countries.
  • Deep seated fears will emerge.
  • You may find yourself venturing into the unknown.
  • Changing directions and starting over is optional, but in my case, has been almost certain.
  • Positive news: It can and will get easier but it’s not always going to be ‘the easiest’ option.

However, this is often also integral to your:

  • Thoughts reframing.
  • Intuition resurfacing.
  • Reality changing.
  • Self-awareness improving.

Other, more tangible side effects can include:

  • Living where you want to live.
  • Loving who you want to love.
  • Creating the work you want to create.
  • Being the kind of human being you want to be.

All can positively impact your mindset, health, your wealth and the relationships you value.

But of all of ‘the relationships’, the most important one is with yourself!

Amy Maureen Lynch with baby at library | Notes From Another Land

Choose yourself first.

Good to remember, great to embrace and often much harder to start living by.

Improving your financial literacy as an act of self-care.

Spending time on your own personal and professional development.

Making time for creative endeavours and play.

Exploring new options, routines and ways of living.

It all counts!

Little steps and progress over perfection.

The easiest way for me to start when I want to try something new, has been to retreat into a book for a fresh perspective, take from it what I will and then implement what I admire into my life, when and how I can.

I also like to work on my mindset, surround myself with other positive people, seek out advice from those who are where I want to be and do a solid gut check every now and then to be sure I’m on the right path.

Have you been doing any of the above lately and if so, do you have any authors or books you recommend? I’m all ears!

What I’ve been up to lately

Settling into life in Canada with my growing international family, practicing art, travelling and writing about all of the above on my blog, social media and my seasonal newsletter.

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I’ve also been conducting #BYOBaby activism at spaces and events around the city, advocating for programming and resources for parents who would like to participate in professional development alongside their children.

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