Thursday, May 24, 2012

Fry That Up In A Pan

Little Suzy Homemaker
Little Suzy Homemaker (Photo credit: HA! Designs - Artbyheather)
I know I am not the only woman out there raised by wolves, so to speak.

Seriously, I watch other women do all kinds of domestic chores or exhibit crafting or cooking talents, and I am in awe, like they began reciting epic Portuguese poetry in front of me. I know, intuitively, that it is beautiful and incredible.  I have no effing clue what any of it means.

My mother would have trained me, I know, but there was the little matter of breast cancer getting in her way... Then there was the stint I did in a religious cult...

Anyway, unlike most women, I did not get schooled in Basic Housekeeping. I have a general idea of the principles, and mostly, I can operate a vacuum cleaner without sucking the power cord into the motor. (I say, if you've only done it once, it really doesn't count.)

Once, as an ice-breaker game, one of my friends pinned "Suzy Homemaker" on my back. People looked at my back and just about pissed themselves laughing.* 
*Here's how this ice-breaker game goes. Everybody has a name pinned on his/her back - Hillary Clinton, Mickey Mouse, Suzy Homemaker - and each party attendee has to guess whose name is on her/his/own back by asking only yes-no questions. "Is my person a fictional character? Is my person still alive? Did my person's husband embarrass her in a public sex scandal (which is really a stupid question, as that could apply to so many people).
 Anyway, I love words, I am comfortable with words and writing.  Writing is not about the battle over whether you should dust first - and shove the dust onto the floor, to vacuum up afterwards, or whether you should dust after vacuuming, to gather up the final bits of dust the vacuum flings into the air. Writing is about epic journeys, about fish out of water stories, about love...

When it comes to housework and domestic chores, for me, there is no love. I have no love for vacuuming, seeing it as a necessary evil, only slightly less evil that of choking to death on discarded skin cells and cat hair.

So when I am blocked, writing-wise, I attempt domesticity, usually aided by rockin' my iTunes playlists and a steady stream of watermelon-tinis.

Like last weekend - I actually cleaned my microwave. Something about the "white" interior which had become beige tan scary inspired me to zap a bowl of water and vinegar and clean that puppy out, courtesy of Wikihow tips. It looks like brand new - well, except for the broken display, that shows the current time in Mayan symbols or something. I could have it repaired - or replace the unit, but really, what's the point? Once it refuses to nuke my food altogether, won't it already be TEOTWAWKI (The End Of The World As We Know It)?

I also worked on repairing a patchwork skirt. Dammit, I paid $1.25 nothing for that skirt at my sister's yard sale, made in China (of probably toxic materials), the least that sucker can do it hang in there for me until such time as I am too fat thin to wear it anymore,but nooooo, it's coming apart at all the seams. I am very proud to say that I completed (some of) the repairs without sewing the garments I was wearing into said skirt. (Yes, I have done that more than once - shut up!)

And I was planning to eat week-old leftovers for dinner, but decided even though it was whole grain whatever-it-was, the noodles were not supposed to appear dark green. I also changed out my baking soda fridge refreshers that are supposed to be changed at least every 30 days 2 years. Yeah, me!

The whole comparison thing is invidious and insidious, especially among female writers, IMO. We are supposed to be brilliant on the page. Raise smart, non-sexist, healthily individuated children. Knock out our bosses at our day jobs with our productivity. Be dynamos in bed to our spouses/boyfriends/girlfriends. Oh, and crank out a best-selling book every 3-4 months.

Well, I raise the white effing flag. To my Enjoli-type sisters, YOU WIN. *I* can't do all that shit, at least, not at the same time. Fry that up in a pan, bitch.
Sometimes I will be blocked and work more on my home or some silly craft project than on my pages. Other times, the writing will be going gangbusters and my housework will be Dust Bunny Condos Homeowners Meeting, subject: "Do We Need to Petition The City for A Stoplight at the Corner?" Sometimes I will be having much better sex onscreen and in my imagination that I ever had with He-Who-Shall-Not Be-Named (but who will Be-Freely-Caricatured).

IMO (or, maybe it's just me) it's okay to let things go, and focus on the writing - or, periodically, to let the writing go, and focus on the Domestic Goddess tasks. Whatever your heart tells you is the right thing for you to do at the moment, do that.

Yes, there will be some obnoxious bitch who does everything you do and (seemingly) does it better. So what? Maybe she's got this really gnarly tumor in her future. Don't be jealous or envious, just be YOU. (I know, I know, easier said than done.)

Take a break from writing and be domestic. Take a break from domesticity and be a writer. Take a break from whatever YOU need a break from, and work on something else - and don't beat yourself up that other writers/lovers/Domestic Goddesses are getting ahead of you.  Folks, it ain't a race.

After all, we all have till December 21, 2012, right?

Do you compare yourself to others, writing or domestic-wise?
Have you ever gotten stressed trying to do it all?
Your thoughts?

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