Warning: Rant below.
This week a friend and I had a very interesting exchange. She confided she had been to her doctor for "dope" -- read: anti-depressants. The doctor asked her if she had thoughts of "doing harm to herself or others." My friend stated, laughingly, "all the time!" As we talked, we realized that we both share a common, er, concern: that we feel as though every direction we turn someone wants something from us.
That night, I picked up my current night-night book, Land of Long Ago, by Eliza Calvert Hall Obenchain, and started reading the next little story "An Eye for an Eye." In the story, Aunt Jane relates how a friend of hers had a sort of nervous breakdown after a sermon on an eye for an eye -- that what we give out comes back to us in kind. The friend's husband, in this story, was the victim of some kind of destructive prank: hoes left in the field, grain thrown around the barn, cows out, and so forth. In short, someone was undoing all his work! As the story unfolded, it turns out his wife (Aunt Jane's friend) was returning to him what he had done to her all their married life: undone her work. He had come into the house with muddy feet, thrown his clothes around, left dirty dishes scattered, and so on. We all, as women, can understand this, can't we? So, she was giving him an eye for an eye back.
As I read this story, I thought about how so many women, myself included, struggle with conflicting feelings of insufficiency. We try to be all things, but, in short, we are a dab of this and that. Very few of us manage to successfully be all things to all people. Thus, we end up spread far too thin and very unhappy. In fact, if the truth be told, I dare say nearly all us at one time or another has thought: "If I were just dead, this pain would end."
Where do these feelings start? Is it the fact that magazines shout at us that we should have this kind of home? Or is it those TV shows with the perfectly decorated and maintained house? Or, is it the myth that as women we can be all things to all people? Or maybe it is the lie of so-called "radical feminism" that we are better than our male counterparts and as such we should be able to do it all and still be thin, dressed impecably, and pleasant.
Whatever it is, I am tired of playing the game. Are you? My sink has dirty dishes; my flowerbeds are overrun with weeds; dirty laundry is piled head high on the washer; and the goats' stalls need a good cleaning. I can't do it all. I can only do what I can do. And, I am not going to sacrifice the joy of living with the prison of doing, of keeping up with whoever is making the rules. In short, I am taking my ball and going home --- even if it isn't perfect.