Friday, May 8, 2009

Burning down the house cont.

Disclaimer- This is quite long, and sometimes erratic. If you don't get it, that's fine, I'm just writing exactly what comes to my mind the moment it gets there.

It's recently been brought to my attention (and by recently I mean this afternoon, and by brought to my attention I mean outside sources absolutely MUST inquire and give advice) that our family "doesn't belong downtown." That it would be "a better investment" and "safer" and "within means" and "better," to move somewhere, like say, Oro Valley. Oro Valley- where everything looks great on paper.
My insides wretched and my face obviously conveyed more emotions than I anticipated as Greg said "and she's giving me the eyebrow." The critical eyebrow, but somehow, I'm not in the right place to be a critic. I'm so young. What the hell do I know? What have I done with my life? Why am I so sure?
I'm not. I simply know what I feel. And I feel more emotions than I should on the thought, the suggestions of moving to somewhere like Oro Valley.
When someone suggests something it's because they think that it is generally superior.

"Hey Frank, you should really try Classico spaghetti sauce!"
"Well Harold, I've used Newmans Own my whole life, and I absolutely love it. I mean, I have tried Classico, but it just didn't jive well with me, so I decided to stick to Newmans."
"But Classico is so much better than Newmans! You're too old to like it. You should really switch. It would probably be better for you anyway."
"Fuck off Harold."

I added the last bit, because honestly that's how I feel. That is how I feel when anybody thinks "they know what's best for me." When anybody THINKS they know me well enough to go ahead and assume that the choices they make are just as good for me, if not better. The person who knows me best is ME. And I know the feeling I get when I'm in a place like Oro Valley. I know the feelings I HAD when I lived there not to long ago- stiffled, alienated, out of place. It wasn't simply because I was also a new mother, and new mothers often feel pretty alienated and out of place anyway, but my enviroment certainly didn't help, and in fact only exacerbated it. I would have loved to have burnt calories walking to Epic cafe with my new baby, but there was no Epic in sight. Nothing but other homes, desert and roads on which to drive.
So I stayed in. I stayed in for a good five months before I had to scream. I had to move, or keep up a monotonous cycle of care for infant/clean house/check mail/wait for a phone call/puruse internet blogs of kindred spirits so's not to feel so alone/wait for Greg to come home so I wasn't alone. My brain needed a challenge and I knew downtown would be full of people, places and sounds in which to engage me. They were there for the taking and all I had to do was step outside my door. Find me a young mother with similar ideals in Oro Valley and I'll give you $50. They were all married, all over 25 (for those of you that say "well motherhood is a universal thing and age shouldn't be a factor" you obviously don't know just how condescending women can be to each other. It is certainly NOT the wombs that bind), and all talking about breastfeeding, playgroups, husbands stupidity, the new Kate Spade handbag that they adored but since their stupid husbands couldn't take a hint... And it was either sit and listen or say what I felt and be the "black sheep." Do I sit and eat meat at the barbeque even though I'm a vegetarian, because that's all there is and everyone else seems to be eating burgers? Or do I starve because of my ideals? I was starving.
I've never been one to do things simply because "they were right" or because "that's what a rational person would do." I want to know why. And if the reason doesn't have more depth than a puddle, then I'm not buying it. I didn't go to college because I didn't feel I HAD to to make me a more intelligent person. I had went through school on honor roll and making A's for my parent's because "that's what a good daughter does." And I was miserable. Breaking down if I got a C, stressing out and feeling inadequate. Resenting everything. By my first year of high school I vowed I would start living for myself. Doing things that made ME proud, made ME feel accomplished, because at the end of the day that's all that matters. You can't please them all. Or you can try and sacrifice your sanity.
I decided I wanted to be a writer, an actress, ANYTHING that involved the arts, and I've always felt that if it didn't come from within, it wasn't worth much. You can't aquire a voice with a degree. You can learn all the proper usages of things, but a voice comes from inside. I didn't feel any passion for computers or aerospace. I was bored with math and not meant for the service industry. But when I wrote or painted or designed I felt free. And that feeling, to me was worth the lack of pay, the looked down upon stigma from all the "higher ups." So instead of college I decided to find my voice and practise. Live life and write it down. I thrive in places like downtown because people like me are everywhere. Because I'm not "crazy" or "naive" but a person working towards an art. And down here that's not so bad, in fact it's pretty much supported.
But what happens when that same person finds herself with child?
I simply had him. That was all. I told myself I wouldn't change (although some change is inevitable, my peronality and ideals remained the same). I would raise my child in the city, because I know it's not the big bad wolf. Because I know it's possible. My parents raised three kids on a combined salary of what Greg makes in a year. We lived a 5 minute drive from the center of 4th Avenue. And I loved my childhood. BUT...

"A good mother sacrifices everything she is for the better of her family."
It seems that times although incredibly different, have still retained some sense of the 50's. The idea that once you have a family you should really just resign to the better neighborhood with the better schools and the older, wiser, financially stable people. Hang out with other parents. And if you don't you're labeled "immature," "unrealistic," "irrational," "selfish."

So what do I do? Give up everything I'm close to and uproot myself (again) to live in a place I don't believe in? Submit to suburban life, because "that's what's best for a family?" Hang on to my ideals and be deemed a selfish girl? I'm fighting to be me and everyone else is saying I can be but the undertone is clearly stating that I need to change my mind. Am I stubborn? Am I an aimless dreamer? Or am I just another person who refuses to submit to something I disagree with? I thought that was praised. But it seems everything I say is falling on deaf ears.

1 comment:

Emilie said...

Oh sweetie. This post breaks my heart! You should always stay true to yourself and to your ideals.... not matter what people say. I guarantee that you son's life will be far richer and he will appreciate you more this way.

You can do it! I promise!