Blame the Sudden Mother-type Situation

Posted in Me by Dizzy on February 17, 2008

I’m pretty sure I’ve lost a good 97% of any audience I may have once had because of these long absences between posts. I mean really, less than one post per month is not nearly enough to maintain a readership. I know this. (And to those of you who inexplicably keep me on your RSS feeds or come back and check in once in a while to see if I’ve got anything new, a hearty and flattered thank you).

All I can say for myself is that day to day challenges have overwhelmed my ability to form any kind of cohesive argument about the sexist shit I see and hear.  There’s a place in between merely surviving and having the luxury of spending hours perfecting a blog post about misogyny. That’s where I’ve been, that middle place.  I’m hoping to emerge now.

So, to explain: I’m a 34 year old self-absorbed therapy-loving beer-drinking foul-mouthed smoker with unruly hair and a penchant for reality competition shows on Bravo.  When I’m not at work I’m usually at home alone in my pajamas farting and picking my nose.  On some weekends, the only time I leave my house is to get cigarettes and a box of macaroni and cheese at 7-11.  I’m terrible at keeping in touch with old friends and rarely, if ever, answer my phone when it rings. I often let my kitchen get to the repulsive odor point before I relent and do the dishes. My primary companion over the last 10 years has been an elderly, morbidly obese cat.  I am easily annoyed by small children and parents of small children. I do not think I’m a life-giving goddess with some special vagina power and I have absolutely no intention of being a mother.

But. A few months ago I adopted a 14 year old girl who was on a dangerous path and who badly needed a mother-type to take care of her and a safe comfortable home to live in.  Of course there’s a whole big story there and I’m not gonna to get into it, but let’s just say my world got all crazy.  All the sudden my life wasn’t all about me all the freaking time. All those super secret single behaviors weren’t gonna fly anymore. It was time to start thinking about someone before myself.  Yikes.

I found myself with neither the energy nor the time to devote to anything other than the practical and emotional demands of a sexually active, mildly apathetic teenage girl who smokes too much pot and refuses to go to school. Navigating my way around this relationship, constantly worrying about where she is and who she’s with, trying to figure out what to say, being consumed with what I’m doing and not doing and should be doing, cleaning up after her, being stressed about money all the time, cooking real food and doing dishes almost everyday, for chrissake! It’s exhausting and makes me cry kind of a lot.

That’s not to say it’s a bad situation. It’s hard, yes, and I am pushed to previously unknown limits on a daily basis, but it definitely has its odd and unexpected rewards.  I love her more than anything. I don’t regret my decision for a second, not one. I know that all is exactly how it should be for reasons I won’t know for a while.

Now we’re in something resembling a routine and are comfortable in our new home. Everything is unpacked and put away.  We understand each other better. And now I can breathe a little easier.  I think I finally have time to do things for myself again.

So I’m making a commitment to myself to write a post everyday for the next week in order to get back in the practice of of writing and thinking about these things again.  It’s not gonna be a series of 4-scroll feminist diatribes, that’s for sure, but I can write something everyday, even if it’s short and weak and doesn’t make that much sense. I can do that. Okay then.


10 Responses

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  1. TP said, on February 17, 2008 at 9:57 pm

    Nothing harder than writing a blog. Who am I, to think I have opinions that matter? The dangers of self-absorption are real and frightening.

    But you’ve somehow put yourself into a position of caring for someone outside of yourself. It’s so obvious, in a theoretical way, that caring for others heals the self-inflicted wounds of self absorption and can directly lead to all these healthy habits like cleaning and cooking decent meals. Strangely enough, most of us just don’t get it until some situation arises when we have a chance to take care of someone else, or something else. And then we bloom – in a kind of stressed-out, topsy turvy way.

    Caring for my mother after her back surgery helped heal me when my life collapsed a few years ago. Caring for someone can be so therapeutic you can see how women, in general, got sucked into the role of being the caretaker. I guess that being mindful of it could be enough to keep it from getting to be something that turns negative in the long run – like being used by those you care for, or giving more than they need until they resist your blandishments.

    I just have an incoherent suspicion that there’s some tie between the pleasures of selflessness that become a crutch and the way it fills the needs of women who don’t understand that’s what they’re doing and who can’t regulate it. The dynamics of giving and taking gone wrong are the essence of sexism.

    But I am really glad you have taken this step. This is life! I wish you every joy in this extension of yourself outward.

  2. thebewilderness said, on February 18, 2008 at 12:05 am

    Letting someone into your life is a very hard thing to do.
    So, if she doesn’t go to school, are you homeschooling?
    I ask because if I had had that option when I was a teen I would have been very very happy to continue my education, so long as I didn’t have to do it in the school environment.

  3. Dizzy said, on February 18, 2008 at 1:20 am

    Yeah, that’s where my girl is at. She doesn’t mind the learning, she just can’t stand the going to school part. I’m working on getting her enrolled in a home-tutoring program with the school district, but the bureaucracy of it, what with me being a not-yet-legal guardian and her MIA mother being the only person with any legal authority, it’s a bit of a challenge.

    In the meantime I’m attempting to fill her school hours with a series of questions to answer (Why was the 2000 election so controversial? Who are the Jena 6? What exactly is the morning after pill? Who were the Flappers?), and a few essays on books and movies.

    A sanctioned homeschooling environment it’s not, but hopefully it will, at the very least, get her in the at-home school state of mind and teach her how to use Google to its maximum effectiveness. At best she will learn that there’s a whole world of interesting shit out there and she’ll want to find out more about it.

    Suggestions for questions and reading material are not only welcome but very much needed. Thanks.

  4. RZ said, on February 18, 2008 at 2:14 am

    I like being in the 3%. I look forward to more posts.

  5. Carol said, on February 18, 2008 at 9:17 am

    Meshing a new person into your life, be it getting married or adopting, is ALWAYS going to have rough spots. I hope the bumpy bits come farther apart. I look forward to your posts. They make me think!

  6. thebewilderness said, on February 19, 2008 at 12:11 am

    A Peoples History of the United States is a good place to start a civics lesson that will dispell the myths she has already been exposed to. has classic feminist writings.
    There are some excellent poetry sites online, as well as haiku sites.

    There are some great fractal programs you can download free. Maths and art all bungled together. What could be better.
    Boing Boing usually has the latest interesting/weird thing.

    This is going to be so much fun and so much work for you both, it’s exciting.

  7. syndicalist702 said, on February 19, 2008 at 3:13 pm

    Welcome back. Good to see you writing again.

    Oh…and a six pack for you. If I can throw one that far.

  8. kyrga said, on February 21, 2008 at 8:27 am

    i’m in the 3%. so even if you miss your appointments to write a thing for the day, i’ll be checking back. 🙂 very few people call out patriarchal bullshit with the precision and humor you do.
    i’m interested to see what happens next with the girl who now lives in your house/under your wing.

  9. Aunti Disestablishmentarian said, on February 21, 2008 at 8:58 pm

    Yay mac n’ cheese! Glad you’re back & much luck n’ strength.

  10. drop.spinster said, on February 21, 2008 at 10:49 pm

    Glad to be in the 3%.

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