Belly LOVE: This Is Not Just A Belly

I am super excited and honored to announce that this week’s Belly LOVE is written by the writer/Artist/beautiful spiritual being: Natasha Reilly-Moynihan, a person I have gotten to know so deeply so quickly and feel like we’ve been sisters forever. Please give her a warm Dirty Footprints Studio welcome…..

This is not just a belly. This is a full service hotel complete with Jacuzzi and room service. This is a creative art studio that houses a work of art. This is a playground welcoming flips, somersaults and the celebration of new creative movements. This is a spiritual dwelling; inside is a prayer. But it wasn’t always like this.

Pregnancy has changed me. People feel they have full reign to comment on how much weight I should or should not gain and personal space? What personal space? A big, swollen, preggo belly is often an invitation for everyone – including strangers – to touch me. Once again, I find myself standing on the outside of the “one size fits all” Universe.

For a recovering people pleaser like me that can be intensely scary. You see, once upon a time I would strive to please others in order to lessen my feelings of worthlessness, my outsider complex, my need for people to stay in my life, love me, not leave me. So when I became pregnant I would ask others about what was right to eat, wear, do and so on before I realized that the pregnancy journey is an unknown. For as much advice as people could give – in the end – the journey you take with that little one is unique. The best I could do was trust me and that one thought, that one discovery changed every single area of my life forever.

The first time round when I was pregnant with my daughter, I made the decision that I did not want my child to be a people pleaser. I wanted this person to believe deeply in him or herself. So I began to change things. As a writer, my hands could not write fast enough or type quick enough as I explored my personal truth. I was writing for the same reason I did when I was a young child because it made me happy. It made sense to me. I wanted to know and share my vision of the world, not the societal view. I wanted to create a representation of what was inside of me. I no longer found myself seeking the praise of others; their comments would no longer validate or negate the beauty or promise in my work. All that mattered was getting the work done.

Now, as my belly swells for the second time, areas of my body pulse with new feelings, new ideas, and new energy. My brain reels with ideas and colors while my hands long to create, create and create art. I simply cannot stop myself. It is as though as this life grows larger it pushes the creativity and the dreams that have been hidden in corners out into the world. It needs space. It has no time or patience for things like fear. Imagine if that little life was afraid of growing and the journey it had to take. Imagine it being stuck inside. No, for it has no tolerance for such nonsense so it grows and pushes everything that should be out, out.

Our bodies are vehicles built for creation. Whether it is the belly that carries the baby, the hands that sculpt, paint, write, and assemble, the arms that embrace, the brain that dreams, the soul that’s colored with energy. I’m not saying we are all built for pregnancy. I’m saying that we are built to create. We are all pregnant with life, art, color, ideas, medicinal cures, and more. We need to bring it to life.

I still struggle with my insecurities and need to please. Sometimes loneliness resides at the base of my throat waiting to shut everything down. Oddly, I sometimes feel it intensely when I am filled with the most joy. I think it has to do with the fact that I can share my joy but others may not always get it as deeply as I’d like. They can relate but they can’t feel that high I’m feeling whether I’m talking about the pregnancy, a piece I’ve written or a piece of art I’ve created. I’m learning to hold myself, to wrap my loving heart in my own loving arms in that moment and celebrate my own journey. I’m learning that our personal adventure can be a source growth for me and inspiration for others. What a fantastic gift for ourselves and all we share life with.

We start out so connected – one life inside another. We journey through and into the world separately but together. We are always like that – friends, family, people who come into our lives for a short spell. When we create and share our dreams and our art, we dwell within one another, sometimes living in the home of the heart and other times basking within the kaleidoscope of one’s imagination or the peacefulness of their soul. To me, that’s magic.

Today, in the spirit of Connie’s amazing Art Journaling July celebration, I invite you to take a moment and close your eyes. Peer into those spaces within, the “juicy” ones (to use a Connie term). Imagine holding a balloon that’s filling and filling with air till there is almost no room in those spaces. Try to picture what dreams, what colorful work might pop out and then see if you can capture its essence on the pages of your art journal. Share it – even if it’s just with one person, share. Let them live in the beauty of your heart.

Thank you, Connie for inviting me to play here, it is truly an honor. You are such an inspiration. Thanks for making my life and the lives of so many creative souls sparkle.

Short Bio:

Natasha, also known as “Creative Nacho,” has been writing since the day her mom put a journal in her hand at age four. She received her MFA in writing from the New School in New York City before spending time as Marketing and Development Director for a nonprofit and later as freelance writer, creating promotional materials for small businesses. Natasha assisted in creating original curriculum pieces for a private school in Manhattan before being invited to teach writing and editing workshops for some of the students. She has taught writing and photojournalism workshops for teenagers and written for publications such as Family Circle, Latina, Lifetips and MediaBistro. In addition, one of her pieces lives in the Library of Congress. In 2009, she made her dream come true of making a living doing both crafting and writing together when she opened DoodleStar, her personal creative playground. When she’s not playing professionally, she can be found playing at home with her mischievous husband and lovable daughter they like to call Doodle.

Visit Natasha at:

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