Sunday, March 27, 2011

A vent, A rant, A story (if there's time for all of them)

another self-portrait study: what does vital *look* like?

Yikes! That cuddly honeymoon phase of returning home lasted exactly one day ~ until my sweetie went back to work. Then came the again realization: what the fuck is it that I do here in this house when Sealion is at work? Thankfully, so thankfully, I let that anger-tinged question roil up in me until I reached an epiphany last summer. My Wake-Up Call. That this isolation inside a house in a city most days of the year isn't what I want. I'm bored. I'm lonely. And there is so much more.

For me, it didn't mean that I wanted to go back to work. A Career has never been a goal or motivation of mine (and I'm so sorry to Gemini Cricket who had to live alongside that struggle ~ the figuring-out time**); Making a Life has always been. But, as the book Radical Homemakers forcefully chronicles, the last century's manufacturers of gadgets and Convenience with their powerful advertisements relegated a life at home to "women's work," then made it obsolete and mind-numbing. Not to mention the insular existence of the very-recent phenomenon of the nuclear family.

I do believe that anywhere you are, you can choose to be happy. And I do (and of course can never forget how much I have to be grateful for). But last summer I felt as if I had gone to sleep at the wheel ~ resting in comfort, becoming complacent. At best, I often felt I "pretended at" being productive; at the worst, I slipped into watery depression that (quietly) lasted on and off for months at a time.

In the (beautifully Kali-like) volatile days of my monthly cycle last summer, I ranted and raged. About how I wanted a life in which I felt truly engaged and necessary. I wanted my body to work at tasks that had meaning. I didn't want to merely find hobbies to occupy my time between strolls to the farmers' markets. I wanted Nature to be an everyday part of my life, and not just an occasional tourist destination. I wanted to feel vital ~ I wanted to Be Vital. More than once I woke up halfway believing that I might pack a bag, buy a plane ticket, and transport myself and my daughter to rural Mexico that day if that's what it took to regain a feeling of sanity. Luckily some of my raging registered and resonated with my husband. In the Fall, we set in motion the chain of events that is getting us to that plot of permaculture-to-be in Baja Sur in .. relatively super-quick time.

So today, I know we have that goal in mind. I have a To Do list, a To Learn list, and a To Make list that are all focused on it. . . And then there's the Everyday between there and Now ~ when I still live in an urban house that is insulated from the breeze and closed off from the sun. Where (many of) my neighbors don't care to know me, and my daughter must cross busy intersections before she finds a field in which she can romp. I shall go ahead and choose to be happy. I will play, sing, dance, create, and seek out Nature with my daughter. I'll make lots of good food. I'll take care of my husband as my part of the loving and mutual partnership we have, and seek connection with him and with my loved ones as best I can.

I'll prioritize gratitude.

And I think I'll make a calendar so I can draw red lines through each little square until we are on that farm in Baja again for good.

**Upon reading this entry later in the day, I realized that I needn't apologize to Gemini Cricket; I really was doing my best at the time, as was he. What I can do instead is send gratitude to him for his faithful friendship ~ for being a sounding board, and seeing me through what was a time of growth for both of us. Today he sent me a note saying that he didn't feel like an apology is necessary or appropriate. Point well taken. That's what real friends are for, huh.

(And: the story I had in mind ~ about the vulture in my new heading photo ~ will have to wait till another naptime.)


Ashley said...

Great post! Radical Homemakers completely changed my life. Good luck with your list-making : )

Tiffanie said...

Hey, Ashley ~ thanks! Geez, wasn't Radical Homemakers a great book?! I'm intrigued as to how it changed your life. : ) It definitely gave me vindication, ground not to feel ... ashamed ... for wanting to be a "homemaker," and examples to aspire to.

Ashley said...

Good question! I read the book in August, and I think I'm still processing... But basically I'm a radical homemaker wanna be : ) Since reading the book, I've started making changes that just feel really right. The big change was reorienting my focus to home, and I'm taking baby steps in all of the areas Hayes talks about: living simply, backyard gardening, cooking from scratch, starting to do more social justicey work (again), building community, taking some sewing classes, prioritizing relationships of all kinds... I also liked that she was formerly on a more academic track and found a way to combine her PhD training and skills with radical homemaking. I haven't quite figured out how to do that yet--or how that lesson might apply to me--but that aspect of the book intrigued me too. I still work mostly full-time, but the book really made me think about what I want my life to be like, how I want to raise my daughter, etc. I'd love to chat with you--about the book and life in general--sometime : )

Kerry said...

Yep,confirmed. You are amazing, and I got rock star eyes for you .

Tiffanie said...

Kerry ~ I am flattered by your rock star eyes. ;-)
But more, I'm glad we have finally become official friends, as opposed to just talking each other's heads off across the Magpie counter. :-D
You are a kindred spirit.
"Please Be Mine." <3