i am having a little melt down today. so of course, it makes sense to write a blog post! seriously though, i am not really coping with my life this week. i know i have a good life and i know i always tell people to be grateful, myself included. this morning i was doing my grocery shopping and as i reached for the cucumber (lebanese. not burpless. or telegraph), i was overwhelmed by the fact that i had 3 choices of cucumber. not only that, but that i had this big air conditioned barn that i could drive my car up to the entrance of and fill it full of fresh healthy products from all over the world. how incredible is it that we take all that for granted?
but even i have bad days. today is crap. ive been back at work a week and im not coping. firstly, i feel as though i haven’t even been away. i feel like people were just lurking behind doors waiting for me to come back so they could say ‘as i was saying…’ and continue the conversation from 4 weeks ago about all the things they want me to do. in and of itself, thats not a bad problem to have. i’m glad i have a demanding job with extremely high expectations. there is nothing worse than working somewhere you hate with people who dont care. but i can tell you the reason why there are more male high achievers in academia than female. one reason, one word. women. the men in my university are almost without fail married to a woman (i think there might be three gay men that i know of). some of them are married to academic women, but in almost all cases, she is lower in the university hierarchy than he. most of the time there are children involved, so of course, that changes things a bit, and im sure most of the academic women around me wouldnt change that for anything. but my point is, he gets to be a professor before she does because he’s got time to write while she’s teaching then running home to look after kids, shopping, cleaning etc. im generalising, but i dont think its an unfair generalisation. im not saying those women are unhappy, but what i am saying is, to get to the top of this business, you need someone to pick up your slack.
so i guess thats what its about for me right now. the lack of someone to pick up the slack. i will readily confess i only finished my phd because trent picked up the slack when we were together. and now, he might live here, but we have separate lives, and over the summer break he is not here, and i am here alone with three dogs and a house to care for. its no problem when im on holidays. i managed to fit everything in very nicely. i got to go swimming, the house was clean, clothes always being processed, the dogs walked lots. plus i got to socialise and knit. i even took on some extra knitters guild responsibilities. this last week i feel like i’ve dropped the ball completely. i havent been swimming. the house needs a good scrub. there are piles of clothes to wade through (of course its raining). the dogs have been out, because they come first, but not as much as i would like. i feel like the garden has taken on a life of its own. and knitting? well i’ve done a bit. i frogged the wasabi pea socks because my pattern modification wasnt working
and have now got them back to where they were (with unmodified pattern,which im still not sure if its working).
so im knitting-neutral really. dont get me wrong, i dont mean to whinge. i dont mind working hard at work (i do work really hard, despite what some people think. 6 publications last year. thats all i need to say). i love my dogs and will do anything for them. i will go for a swim again soon. and when im finished writing this i will go vacuum and will feel better.
but sometimes, this being alone business is hard work. i dont talk about it much. i dont think women talk about it enough, as though theres some shame in it we should hide. theres a lot of conflicting emotions there. personally, im happy to be out of a dysfunctional relationship. sometimes, i think heterosexual relationships are inherently unhealthy for women. we tend to lose ourselves too easily, become dependent. it takes a lot of work and a very special person to overcome the sexist power relations – that expectation that it will always be the female who sacrifices something (not helped by a society in which women still get paid less, so im not blaming the everyday male for any of this). i dont miss the co-dependent parts of myself that emerge in relationships. i had a little fling a while ago and it was fun, but it wasnt ever going to be serious on my behalf, and i dont just use people for fun, so i ended it. i dont regret that. i dont miss some of the unique pleasures that come from living with men, let alone living with anyone. compromise is always hard. and i absolutely dont miss being with someone just for the sake of not being single. it terrifies me that women even feel they have to stay in relationships because of that fear (let alone the real financial issues that divorce laws have done little to alleviate). what the hell is so bad about being single? why are women made to feel so bad about that?
but i will confess, today i miss having someone to pick up the slack. my poor student housemate contributes but mostly i pay my own way. i have to decide every night what im going to cook, what will work for just one, how will i fit in the housework, the shopping, the dogs, my exercise. if i wanted do extra reading or writing outside official work hours and really work my way up that academic ladder, i would have no knitting time and no social life. so i make a conscious decision not to, and i will suffer the consequences of that. being on holidays for so long spoiled me i think, so much knitting, socialising, sunshine. this week i feel lethargic, overwhelmed, teary, its all too hard. eventually i will find a way to get all of these things back in balance again, and it wont depend on whether i have another person around or not, because i am strong and capable. most of the time.
i try and be positive and grateful. but today, im not either. today, its just too tiring, too hard. sometimes it just helps to tell people that.