Tuesday, November 29, 2011


This is a late-titled post--Thanksgiving was almost a week ago.  But really sad, traumatic things have happened since Thursday, and while I'm not the one who was most affected, or who is most sad, the fact is, it happened to all of us in this little work community, and it's surreal and shocking.

I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving.  Ours was quiet and relaxing.  We spent a lot of time together, seeing movies, decorating the Christmas tree, and eating eating eating.  I was dreading this holiday because it was just the two of us without my family and it turned out okay.  Better than okay.

Call your parents today.  Call your brothers and sisters.  Tell them you love them.  Smile at someone in the grocery store.  Say hi to your coworkers.  Compliment someone's shoes.  People are here and then they're gone and it's never easy, it's always a surprise.  Don't be afraid to laugh or cry.  Talk to someone about how you feel.  You're not alone.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Being an Adult

Last week I made a soup that lasted for four days.  I'm not kidding: dinner Thursday, lunch Friday, dinner Saturday, lunch today.  This is clearly indicative of my growth into adulthood.  Even a year ago I was nauseated by leftovers.  Now, I choose to make and eat foods that will last much longer than they should.  It's amazing what happens when groceries are no longer my parents' responsibility.

Speaking of such, I was so full after breakfast yesterday morning that it was all I could do to buy chicken and pork at Harris Teeter.  When I got home I realized the cheese we had was moldy, our salsa had gone bad, and I had been eating candy for most of my meals lately.  This is the other side of adulthood.

So, if you haven't heard, fall is past full swing here.  I'd say it's on the downhill slide to winter, which is strange because it's 70 degrees today.  I think it's a fluke and we're in for tough times soon.  I've been making every excuse to drive down certain roads and through parks to see the trees in the last month.  Sometimes I don't notice; other times, I say, "Oh my God, Nick, look at that tree!  It's red!  Take a picture!"  Living in Florida for the majority of my life has led me to this utter fascination with fall.

A tree outside our apartment.  As of this morning, it's pretty much bald.

Randolph Road and Parklawn Drive in Rockville

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Women in Primetime

I'm terrible at keeping a theme here.  Also, I'm terrible at scheduling posts.  That Christmas presents post wasn't supposed to go up until yesterday.  What the hell, Blogger?

Anyway, I was working from home yesterday and turned on the first episode of PBS's America in Primetime, which focused on women in television.  It spanned the timeline of television: from Lucy and June Cleaver to the women of Sex and the City and Desperate Housewives.  I've always been a television watcher--it was way more interesting than anything going on in my life, even as a little child--so I recognized most of these characters, even if I didn't grow up in the original era.

I don't know if you've seen it, but basically it talks about women's roles in television.  June Cleaver was the (a)typical fifties housewife; Mary Tyler Moore as Dick Van Dyke's wife was a game-changer, as was her later role on her own show; Roseanne, Murphy Brown, Carrie Bradshaw--all were iconic in their own ways.  As the social scene changed, female characters did too--sometimes as a cause or an effect, depending on the situation--and there were very few examples of weak, dependent women who left lasting impacts on society (however, they focused on sitcoms only, so the reality television stars of today were nowhere to be found.  I've yet to think of any of them as a role model).

Anyway, I'm watching this as I'm peeling carrots and parsnips and garlic.  I'm watching it as I'm cleaning the giblets out of a chicken.  I'm watching as my boyfriend sits at his office, not even thinking about who will make dinner.  I'm watching and realize I'm actually wearing an apron.  And I'm listening to these women talk about how they didn't just want to be a housewife, how they wanted more, how what they did was good, hard work and how they loved it.  I'm thinking about how I used to yearn for that, and now all I yearn for is bedtime.  I'm wondering what happened.

I tend to be pretty domestic, either as a direct result of my living situation or as a way to cope with it.  Things like sewing, embroidery, cooking, baking--these are comforts to me.  I don't do it because I have to.  I could just as easily not go grocery shopping and buy a rotisserie chicken from Giant every night.  But I take on this role because the responsibility makes me feel important.  I feel like, because I'm not fulfilled in my career, I can possibly fulfill myself at home by making something with my own hands.  I think this is a wholly modern way of looking at this, similar to depression: we live in an age where we actually have time to assign roles and feelings to these actions.  One hundred years ago, that wasn't the case.  You cooked because there was no Chinese takeout.  You didn't have time to sit around and think about how you want more from life.  You worked, and you worked hard, unless you were wealthy and could afford to have others work for you.  Fulfillment?  What's that?

They also brought up the subject of children, and how many of these female television characters who we remember and love (any of the above I mentioned) either chose to not have children or had them, but were very honest about it.  Motherhood wasn't what they expected, and while they are fictional characters, they're voicing the opinions and feelings of millions of women who might not be able to admit it to their friends and families.  That, honestly, scares the shit out of me.  I am inundated with people and blogs who think motherhood is the end-all, be-all, and that's what all women need to do: nurture.  Everyday I read the mommies who seem to have a never-ending supply of fertilized eggs, yet still have time to make melted-crayon art and yarn sculptures.  They seem happy (of course, I'm reading this through a sponsored blog), but is this all it's cracked up to be?

My mom always worked.  I remember her being exhausted, too tired to deal with us, depressed, overwhelmed, overprotective, anxious.  I also remember her being a loving mom.  But there were no misconceptions about her life: it was hard.  It was probably the hardest thing she's ever had to do.  And from the time I was little, I thought, I don't want that.  I don't want to feel so tired and so futile everyday.  No matter what she did, how many Christmas cards she made on her day off or how many pies she baked out of stress, she still had to wake up the next day and do everything over again.  That was my role model.  I love my mother--she is who I trust the most--but she wasn't the omnipresent mommy blogger I see today.  Things were very different, and I wonder if that will be my life someday.  Do I want that?

I wonder if, because I don't like working and also because I don't like the idea of having children, I'll ever find that happy medium.  I couldn't be a housewife, at least not in the typical sense; I hate cleaning and would eventually resent Nicholas for getting to have an outside life.  But I also don't want to feel like I wasted my life because I had children (or didn't), and I don't want to realize this when it's too late to change.

Is it normal to feel so conflicted?  This angst should've left years ago, along with retainers and listening to the Velvet Underground.  I feel that, at 24, I should know what I want out of the next five, ten years.  In actuality, I have no clue.  Do you feel this way too?  Am I the only one left wondering?
Images by Freepik