23 November, 2007

Un-domesticatable

I can't be that person. I'm listening to what sounds like bickering, but could just as soon be pillow talk in this culture. Off the phone, the young woman with the professional job disappeared. He called. He was hungry. He was coming home. That was that and she, after her own long day, sprang into action to have his meal on the table when he arrived.

A friend, trained in the intimidatingly named neuro-linguistic programing, told me recently that there really is no "cannot". We all have choices. Usually those things we claim we cannot do are simply our excuse for choosing not to and then following through. She mentioned this to me when I told her that at this point I cannot return to live in the US.

"You could," she stated simply. "You would find a way to make it work if you had to, but you choose not to."

It's a powerful thought, when you take that idea and examine your life, all those times you said "I can't". And, I believe she's right. Most of us are just making excuses, backing down in fear, telling outright lies to ourselves and others. I've resolved to try and expel it from my vocabulary.

But, it's not possible with this. I absolutely cannot be that person. Not that girl. Not that woman. I tried, have tried, but then haven't all women all their lives. The whole world expects dinner on the table in a way. Be quiet; don't laugh so loud; just put a little color on your lips; loose a few pounds; sit still; don't go too far; don't stand so tall; don't forget to ask him first.
It is physically, spiritually, impossible for me to be that woman. I admit, I didn't try very hard. I wouldn't even know how to begin, nor can really I comprehend why one would.

I do not want to be domesticated. Suburbs make my chest tighten reflexively, anxiously. I will not clean your house, cook your dinner, iron your laundry, fetch you things. I will go out without you and come home without you. I will ask you opinion, but never your permission. To domesticate me is to break me, and that would kill me, at least something vital in me.

I've met plenty of men who claim they love this about me, about women, when you are dating. Then those strengths, literally, become the source of arguments and resentments once you move in together, start to make more money than him, or get married.

So, I think in this my friend is wrong. I cannot be this person. I can be, am, many things. This is a choice, one that is not always easy to bear. Ask any woman who has made it.

Salaam.

1 comment:

Hillary said...

Why don't you rejoice in the choice of "will not" versus "cannot"? "Cannot" seems to present with the hypothetical man that it is not up for discussion. Linguistically that has a slightly different feel than "will not." My second date with current said boyfriend, I explained that I pay someone to come to my house and clean it because I have decided it's not my strong suit and I no longer feel the necessity of beating myself up for failing at the concept of "Domestic Diva." He admired it, yes, but the frankness in my voice (I believe) still took him aback. Women lie. Men lie. For the opportunity of love and companionship, many of us try to push ourselves to personalities that will simply "will not" perfect. We choose not to. I will not clean house. I'm okay with that. Even if I stay home to raise my kids, I will not clean house. I may cook dinner IF I feel like cooking.

It's all part of the negotiation in coupling especially where traditional goals of marriage and family are involved. If no one is home, who will clean? If no one is home, who will cook? These concepts dramatically change the dynamics of a family.

In my case, where my single parent hired a nanny, information about my well being was hidden from my mother because the nanny did not want to work harder. If you (female or male) are not home cleaning, cooking, raising the children, then it becomes someone's job and that has sacrifices involved. No one cares about you like you do.

So, I understand that you "cannot," but I think you molecularly "will not." Only to say "will note" means that it isn't the romantic love we heard about as children - it's limited.

Can't wait to hear your comments on this one!! Miss you terribly! HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!! Our server of Thanksgiving Dinner (because NO ONE in our family cooked or cleaned ;) ) was Moroccan and has agreed to teach me to cook with a tagine! WOOT!!! :) HOW'S THAT FOR A TURKEY DAY!?!?! ;) (In Boca, no less!)

Ciao, Bella!!!