Watching the Superbowl (well, the few minutes I wasn’t asleep. American Football should barely qualify as a sport, if you ask this former rugger) I loved the Detroit ad and it got me really pumped up…until I realized that I was watching it in a house in the middle of nowhere MN and that I now was a resident of a state that I hate.
Yep, I pretty much hate Minnesota as it has nothing to offer but snow, mosquitoes, farms and dumb politicians. I hate that I technically live in a city but go two miles in any direction and you will find absolutely nothing but fields. I hate that what I have a passion for, urban farming is taking off in my hometown and I am stuck far away.
There are many more hates but if you were to ask the boy-who-makes-me-food, Minnesota is the greatest place ever. Which is exactly what you would expect someone who hasn’t lived anywhere else to say about their hometown.
But there is something bigger troubling me and that’s my status as a homemaker. The first week we got back from our honeymoon the boy-who-makes-me-food and I went to set up a bank account. The banker helping us asked what our jobs were and I said I was unemployed. She said it would help us more if she put down “homemaker” instead of unemployed because its more of a hassle on the forms if I am unemployed but not picking up unemployment.
I died a little inside but bore it up because then we went into the whole question of what my name on the account is and blah blah blah (I die inside each time we get something in the mail to “Mr and Mrs Boy-Who-Makes-Me-Food because I have a name, and its not his…the further you get from an urban center the more backwards people get).
I have nothing against homemakers, hell my mum was one when I was growing up and I have a helluva lot of respect for her and what she did for me and my sister but its so not for me.
I’ve had some conversations with friends about how I’m totes awesome because I’ve completely left my past gross religious baggage behind and whatnot, but in many respects that cancer still infects me. I find myself having knee-jerk reactions to things, places and people that, upon review, have no connection with who I am now and my worldview but its leftovers from my fundigelical breeding that have remained buried within me until that moment. Example: first round my team had the opportunity to help out at a drag show which benefited a nonprofit that my team loved to work for and where I got 40 of my required 80 independent service hours. Hearing what the event was going to be hit the pit of my stomach like a sack of bricks and the thought made me giggle like a 9 year old who just heard her parents use the word “penis”. A few hours later I really did some soul-searching because that reaction seemed out of character for me, and low and behold I found a leftover from the past. I worked the show parking cars and helping take tickets and had a fabulous time, something my fundigelical self would have missed out on.
So what does this have to do with homemakers? Oh, so much.
You see, there was always this deep divide within me when it came to what I was told I could do and what I was expected too. My mom might reject this title but she is one of the greatest feminists I know. She encouraged my quest for knowledge about whatever interested me at the time and instilled in me a great skepticism and independence. It wasn’t a question if I would end up in an scientific career or something else equally intellectual, it was a question of what field it would be. She never really taught me anything too domestic, cooking is still a mystery to me, Americorps taught me how to clean a stove and I don’t understand how to sort laundry, I suspect that this was her way of sticking up a middle finger at certain homeschooling sects that believed that you shouldn’t waste too much time educating your girls, as they’ll just marry and pump out babies no matter what.
Compare this with what was pontificated at church and youth group. The best women were those who stayed home, raised a brood of Christ-loving babies, let her husband make all the hard choices and always, always had time in the morning to put on make-up and style their hair. Women who didn’t want such a future were looked down upon as something of a freak of nature or were in denial (Satan caused both conditions). A good girl was modest, smart enough and chaste until she met the right god-fearing man and married.
I didn’t fit, not at all. I was nerdy (and not in an overly endearing way), I had little interest in the opposite sex during my school years and had little interest in children, even though I tried, via teaching Sunday school and camp counseling, to force myself too. Hell, I even felt “called” to the ministry (a whole ‘nother set of baggage there that I deal with regularly), and showed up the boys when it came to Biblical knowledge and zeal. I was the youth group outcast and it suited me fine.
At Calvin I looked down upon those who were there for their MRS (and I still do) and I remember a girl from my orientation group who I quickly lost respect for when she confided that although theater was her passion, she wouldn’t mind simply finding someone to marry.
As I walked away from the faith I had been raised in I found myself not only dealing with the baggage from the years previous but I also kicking back strongly against how I had been raised. I cussed way more than what was probably necessary, I liked offending the sensibilities of those around me, I had no problem shaving my head and “looking like a boy”, etc. Dating, of course, was out of the question, thankfully and I didn’t burden myself about it.
Then I met the boy-who-makes-me-food and he had no problem dating a loud and proud non-believer. Even then, I went out of my way to prove that I wasn’t some poor sod hunting an engineer and I even cussed out an MRSer one day after she stated that “isn’t it nice that we’ll never have to work at all?”
Even after we got married I made it clear that no children would be forthcoming, there would be none of this taking his last name or even hyphenating my last name nonsense. How much of this is a kickback against what was always expected of me and how much is deeply rooted in my own sense of self I probably won’t know for awhile (I can’t ever see taking the boy’s last name though, its sooooo boring and lame).
Going on a month without finding a job and I am finding myself in a homemakers role, I clean the apartment and clean up after Mike, I make dinner, etc, etc. Its boring but one can only apply to so many jobs a week (my limits about 40 before getting burnt out). I wish there was something, some group or volunteer work in the area but interested me, but I truly am in the middle of nowhere and our car is too much of a piece of shit for me to take it down to the cities in the middle of winter. I know that if I get out, whether by a job or something, I will probably feel better about life.
So, I feel pretty worthless and I think I will start killing people for sport if I don’t find something by next week…or I may just run away to Detroit and work at Taco Bell to support my urban farm.
In my head I’ve already titled this past month “Mistake”. Marrying the boy was all fine and dandy but moving to the middle of nowhere in the middle of winter wasn’t.