Thursday, July 16, 2009

white woman's guilt.

i'm not sure what it means that i haven't been writing here.
i haven't been writing anywhere, really.
haven't worked on my book seriously in months.
haven't meditated.
i dunno.
i feel a little off kilter, but not dramatically so. just a smidge.
i'd like to be doing those things more.
but not enough to actually do them apparently.

one thing i have been doing is pilates.

did i mention i'm doing teacher training to become a pilates instructor?
i am.
here's where i'm doing it.
it's fantastic.
it's changing my life.
i'm excited, proud, challenged - everything good.
i'm doing pilates about 5 times a week, and feeling stronger, so cool.

that's not really what i want to write about right now, though. maybe a little bit not really.

i want to talk about me feeling guilt over my lifestyle.

so, i'm not working.
that's not new.
i've come close to looking for a job a few times in the last year or so, but shannon felt like having me at home, managing the house and taking care of the dog, would be worth more than whatever smallish amount of money i'd be bringing in. and, given my eternal 'nyeh' over working, and general lack of vocation to speak of, i am totally fine with that set up. i'm actually not that good at being a a housewife and have really had my shortcomings thrust at me through this, but i'm developing really helpful habits, which make me an infinitely easier person to live with, i think.

so, i'm not working.
i'm married.
my husband is really handsome.
though we have our ups and downs, and went through a rough patch there a little while back, we're really happy together and totally in love.
we own our own home. (well, the bank owns it and we're buying it from the bank, but you get my meaning. our monthly payments are going towards something that we will eventually reap the benefits of, unlike renting. the fact that most of the payment goes to interest in the loan isn't the topic of discussion right now, but it should be, some day. fucking banks.)
i have awesome hair.
i get many services, that are very pricey, done for me for free, or at huge discounts, by incredibly talented friends.
i have many of the things that one pictures when they're thinking of success in the modern world and money. (new mac laptop, newish iphone, multiple ipods, gucci sunglasses, etc.)
i spend a very large portion of my time working out, doing a type of exercise that is usually insanely expensive.
i travel to fun places fairly often (LA, NYC, BALI!!!).
my body is pretty close to what the magazines say it should be. i'd be a plus size model for sure, but i'm in proportion and i'm closer to the ideal, physically, than a lot of people are.
one of my main responsibilities is to look after my dog, who is pure bred.
i am able to shop at whole foods (whole paycheck) exclusively, unless i feel like going to trader joe's for something.
my hair care and skin care products cost more than some people's haircuts.
i don't have kids, by choice, which means i only have to worry about myself, my (ridiculously handsome) husband and my pets.

what i'm saying is, i am living a life that a lot of people might consider perfect.
i'm not complaining.
my life is freaking awesome.

but, because i'm a human being and this is our eternal struggle, i experience unsatisfactoriness.
sometimes i lie in bed and dread going to the dog park AGAIN.
my hair looks wonky, or flat, or boring.
my forehead is short (really more of a threehead) and i can't have heavy bangs like i'd like to.
my skin and hair care products refuse to change my life the way the magazines tell me they will.
i want MORE things.
i tried on bikinis at target yesterday and looked WRETCHED. like, dimpled and jiggle and bulgey. really, really bad.
for all my working out, i look nearly the same as i always have, as far as i'm concerned. i'm not in smaller clothing sizes, for one thing.
i feel like i'll never lose weight, never look good in a bathing suit, never wear shorts or a short skirt without a hint of shame and fingers crossed that no one looks too closely.
i wish my mom was still alive.

what i mean is, i'm just like everyone else.
i want things that i can't have.
i don't want to do the things i have to do.
i am not happy with the hand (or midriff) i've been dealt.
i wish i was younger still.
i regret choices i've made.

and every time i say anything remotely negative about my situation, or express anything other than blissful contentment, i get scolded by people for being unappreciative of what i have.

it's gotten to the point where i am leery of even sharing my negative feelings about things, for fear i'll offend someone.
i feel like i need to couch everything in apologetic terms "this thing happened and it sucked. (i know, rough life.)" "totally stoked on my life, but wish i didn't have this thing to deal with." why am i apologizing for having the feelings i have? am i not allowed to experience unsatisfactoriness because i have a great life?

and what makes people think that not working, or having money at all, automatically means blissful contentment? do rich people seem happier to you? their families more functional?
look at ebenezer scrooge, man. he was rich a hell and he was miserable!

so, spoiler alert, guys: having money doesn't solve all your problems. it solves some. it creates others. me not having to work doesn't change the fact that my forehead is too short for the bangs i like so much on other people. it doesn't make me 17 again. it doesn't bring my mom back.

all it means is that i have more hours in the day to myself, which also doesn't solve anything. still not writing. still manage to piss entire days away sometimes. still mismanage my money, wish i had more/new/better clothes. still wondering which handbag will complete me as a person. still not doing anything about darfur.

it's true, i'm not sacrificing my life for kids, or having to make serious budget cuts, or wasting hours of my day and years of my life at a job i resent.

but i don't have everything figured out, and i still struggle with life, and i have just as much right to wrestle with my problems as someone who lives in section 8 housing, or someone with cancer, or someone with alopecia. i don't feel like my not needing to work cancels out my right to expect compassion over the things i struggle with, even if they're not life or death struggles.

you know what?
i don't know many people who are dealing with situations that are literally life or death.
and agreed, in the grand scheme of things, i fully recognize that i am lucky to have a torso at all, or a threehead, or an undervalued home. yes, i am lucky to be alive and not being raped a bunch in a refugee camp. we all are. does that mean that the people who are facing foreclosure on their houses don't get to worry about their problems? are they supposed to just be thankful for the fact that they're not facing refugee camp rape, and shut up about their financial concerns?
because if so, i expect a GREAT deal less complaining from pretty much everyone in the entire world, outside of palestine and darfur, 'kay?

of course i am thankful for my life.
my life is amazing.
that goes without saying.
if you hear me posting FML stuff, then you're welcome to tell me to shut up.
actually, you know what? even then, i'm allowed to be bummed for a while.