I think a lot. I think about serious topics, like politics, feminism, religion, healthcare. I write about serious topics, seriously. My mind buzzes with alliteration and double meanings. I think, think, think.
Sometimes. And other times, I don't.
Today is a non-thinking day, with items on my list such as, "laundry, wash and sort," "dishes, load and unload," "crafting, costume renderings and jewelry," and, "tea, as much as possible." I've got a lot on my mind, as always, but I've begun to enjoy the days when I do nothing more than the necessary steps, tidying and fiddling with wire and figuring out what I'll wear when G and I go to Las Vegas in March.
For so long I thought that my current work would be like giving in, a blow to the face of my feminist identity, a regression, a 1950s approach to what women should do - what I could do. And I thought that being a writer would be financially disastrous, self-indulgent, a little girl with big dreams - admirable, but essentially impotent. I was scared; I rejected any realization of my goals, and I worried that being a housewife would be the end of my power as a woman.
And I entered a career which was challenging, important, demanding. A career which I loved, but which was killing me.
I don't know why I was incapable of continuing on in such a noble and beautiful job, a job where I was surrounded by dedicated educators and good friends, a job where what I did made a difference. Sometimes I wonder why I suddenly realized my unhappiness - a weakness of my will and of my heart - and called a (much-needed) end to a career to which I was inherently unsuited.
It's hard, my doctor said, to make the right choice. Just because it's the right choice doesn't mean it won't hurt.
Now, I'm adjusted to a different life - less intense, less painful, more truthful, more free. I take care of the house. I try new things, making jewelry, writing posts and working on my novel, playing through Ravel's Sonatine. Some days, I think about the important stuff; some days, I focus on bleaching the counters and tofu marinara and separating lights and darks, hots and colds.
I have nightmares that I'm back at school, and the children need me, and I can't escape.
I wake up. I make coffee. I realize that now, I can't quite remember where I would have been at 10:00 in the school day. My novels sits, waiting for me to type out a few more chapters. I make wire loops with blue crystals and clear beads. I put away the laundry.
I am profoundly happy.
It doesn't matter that the label, housewife, has so many negative connotations, and it doesn't matter that my career, writer, is a creative and not necessarily lucrative one. I'm a woman who knows who she is - who is that woman, other than a feminist? And who, really, is out there, the imaginary judge of my life and my choices? And why, for so long, did I believe that I was responsible for other people's happiness, for their opinions of me, while my happiness and my opinion of myself were lost?
Today is one of those meandering days, and honestly, I meant to post in more detail the actual humdrum life I live - the homey smell of Tide detergent, all the housework before I watch Jean and Lionel at 2:30 on PBS, the way I haven't quite figured out those last three pages of Ravel, my chocolate and peppermint tea. I meant to write about how I found $211 of clothing for $50 at Forever 21, and how I'm sketching out my outfits for three days in Vegas. You know, the boring stuff.
The boring stuff is so good, though, because I've figured out that elusive joy of living. I'm so lucky, because at 26, I'm able to be healthy and whole. I'm eternally grateful to the people who have helped me get this far - my husband, my family, my doctors, and yes, my former coworkers and the children. All of those people have made me realize who I am.
I'm a housewife. I'm a writer. My life is blissfully boring.
Time to do the laundry.