Just when I think that I will have everything organized and planned and processed and boxed into little compartments; some little twister lifts my house up and I find myself in Kansas. So it is not surprising that right after I wrote my previous blog about resolutions and goals, I was dragged away from my desk and thrown into the maelstrom of ‘things that need to be done yesterday’. Like so many women out there juggling multiple roles and responsibilities, some things had to take a backseat. I found myself pining to write.
It is anticlimactic that what took me away into that cave of ‘things to be done right now’; was not something extraordinary. In fact, it was because of mundane, everyday but urgent things that could not wait. Chaos reigned supreme and I found myself running from pillar to post. Ironically, I also found myself going for outdoor runs 3 times a week during this madness. Perhaps I just needed to run away from it all, literally and metaphorically. This got me thinking about whether productivity and work pressure are directly proportional.
The first thing that struck me when I was away is how much I was missing knowing what was happening around me. I found myself fighting tooth and nail but Life was dragging me by the ankles and throwing me into the ocean of ‘things to do’. I felt like I was standing on the shore while the others were miles away out on the sea on a yacht. I could hear the merry sound of laughter and clinking of glasses but my voice couldn’t reach them. It was something similar to the feeling of preparing for an important exam. You simply shut out the world and immerse yourself in the task at hand. Everything else fades from view. But the sounds of civilization still reach you and you tell yourself, ‘just a few more days…’
For women to aspire and be able to do anything other than look pretty or look after the household and raise her children, it is always an uphill task. I was told recently that in order to do something worthwhile one needs to dedicate 16 hours a day to that task. What about sleep? What about exercise? Who’s going to cook/plan/buy groceries for the meals? Who is going to oversee the children’s homework and assignments? We, as women, need to look after every aspect of our lives and of those around us and still stay sane. Will someone else step up and take charge of the ancillaries? Women across the world are still constantly working overtime. To prove themselves. To stay afloat. To remain relevant.
Hiatuses are great when you choose to take one and you can relax on a beach, sipping on a Tequila Sunrise, watching the waves crashing on the sands endlessly; reminding one of the infiniteness of the universe. But sometimes breaks can be forced and I am not sure whether that can be considered a ‘break’ at all. It is not voluntary and hence, not pleasureable. The things which we want to do take a backseat when we tackle the things that need to be done. Why is it that men don’t need to choose between work and family?
Then there is the issue of women returning to work after they decide to go the family way. As mothers, women’s bodies need the downtime to recuperate from childbirth. As mothers, women need to spend time with their child(ren) emotionally. What do women compromise with? Their work, inevitably. A lot of women choose to remain ‘in between’, preferring to work part-time for a while so that they are not forgotten because women are easily forgotten. I was in the liminal space of both here and there and neither.
You can’t convince a woman to do what you want? Then you call her a bitch and threaten to kill her.Marla Grayson in I Care A Lot (2021)
Patriarchy has been hunting women with words, sticks and stones, and their so-called masculinity. Why do we feel so threatened when women want to work? The mistake most women make is that we back down. I am guilty of falling in that cateogry too. But Marla Grayson from I Care a Lot has shown me that in order to harness the power within, women need to be unafraid. Women need to work because we are much more than a mother, a daughter, a wife, a sister, or a daughter-in-law. Women need to claim their space in the world, unapologetically. Work is good for the soul. For both men and women. It is about time we accept that.