Today is a free writing day. Write at least four-hundred words, and once you start typing, don’t stop. No self-editing, no trash-talking, and no second guessing: just go. Bonus points if you tackle an idea you’ve been playing with but think is too silly to post about.
I identify as a feminist. Usually I’m completely happy with this, but sometimes, I find myself wanting things that are decidedly unfeministy. Like a boyfriend and a baby and a house in the suburbs. I’ll turn 30 later this year. It keeps feeling like this should be a big deal, like I should have sorted my shit out by now, but it is pretty clear to me that I really, really haven’t got anything sorted out.
I’ve just left a perfectly good, if soul-crushing, permanent part time job for nothing. I haven’t really got another job to go into. I plan to study full-time next semester, but without Centrelink/welfare payments I’ll have to get a job of some sort to survive. I have been in a romantic relationship for a total of four weeks out of the last (nearly) three years. I’m generally not doing well in the ‘being a grown-up department’.
The difficulty for me with these conflicting desires is that I know, intellectually, that I’m capable of being happy without a husband, baby, house and white picket fence. I also know, intellectually, that having these things does not guarantee happiness, and that many people would look at my free, arty farty lifestyle with envy, but I still want them. I guess there’s that part of me, having grown up with all of those expectations of normality, that wants to fit in.
I always saw myself as a parent, a mother, and the idea that it might not be a reality for me is kind of hard to fathom. I’m not so invested in the idea for a baby that I would have one alone, I don’t mean any disrespect to single mothers/parents, but it seems like a lot of hard work, and I’m not up for that.
On the other hand women who don’t have kids are supposed to be focussed on their careers. In a lot of ways I am focussed on my career, my aims to be a writer, but that’s not usually what people mean by career. I don’t want to climb the corporate ladder. I don’t want to work really hard so I have lots of cash and no time. I often feel like a massive failure on lots of different societal measures of success, although I seem to be pretty good at academic pursuits which is supposed to be desirable, but usually only on the way to career or babies.
So how do I make peace with myself, with my path, if I won’t achieve ‘success’? Even if I don’t want to. How do I tell the part of my brain that wants money, husbands, babies and houses to be quiet so the other part, the part my heart knows is right for me, can guide me? And what if my chosen path is never ‘successful’? I might get a few things published here and there, but I might never be a full time writer. Maybe I’ll be working in admin a few days a week and churning out writing that no one will pay for and hardly anyone will read when I’m 75. I really want to be ok with this. I will always have ambition, and that’s great, but I want to be able to be happy without those things.
What if I’m a bad feminist because I want those things? What if I can’t achieve the things I want? What if the things I want aren’t socially acceptable? What if I’m a failure as a human being? What if I want things that won’t make me happy?What if… What if…
But what if I just stop worrying and start living? How about I try that and see how I go from there.