Fail. Big fat fail.
Right now in this moment, my house is a chaotic mess. A mess. Like if someone popped over unexpectedly I would have a panic attack. Quite literally, a panic attack.
But why, oh why!? Why can’t I just be like all the fucking rest? Why can’t I just get all my shit together. Why can’t my house look like a show home, with fresh flowers and cookies baking in the oven?
It feels like there are a few things that as a woman we are intrinsically, fundamentally, instinctively supposed to be good at. But I am just not. Does that mean I am not a real woman, or at best just not a successful one? But really, truly haven’t we moved past all that?! They declare we have! They say we have freedom now, we have choice & we have power. Don’t we? Do we? Do we really!?
Is telling us that we don’t need to be a slave to all those things the very thing that makes us rebel against doing it? And are we then sitting with our feminist morals in a messy house, annoyed because I’ve manically sifted through this fucking pile of clothes a million fucking times and I can’t fucking find my favorite fucking bra!!! But I am a woman damn it!! I have more important things to do then sort the fucking washing!!! Don’t I?!
Expectations. Pressure. What are we ‘supposed’ to be. A woman. I feel like there are two competing ideals tugging us this way and that. A woman. Perfection. A perfect rag doll.
Keeping house. A vision of perfection with abs of steal and an arse to catch a thousand eyes. To know how to be a lady and say sweet things when required but also know how to give head like there is no fucking tomorrow. Expect-fucking-tations.
My house goes through phases, where it is clean and the cushions and flowers in vases are set just so, don’t sit on the couch or you’ll mess up the cushions!. And then I just let go, and the cascade of stuff that fills our house rises up and over. From one extreme to the other. Granted a little manic I know. But it is what it is.
It is not driven from manic emotions, but driven from a desire for perfection, deciding I can do this, this perfect they speak of. I too can have that perfectly made bed with neatly pressed and placed cushions. I do love cushions, adore them. All of my energy dispensed into to attaining that domestic perfection. But then of course we have to live in the space, we need to interact with its contents. And I quickly realize that show home perfection is not sustainable. Unless of course, it is a show home, that no one lives in. But we do. Live in our house. Ugh. Mess creeps across my tiles, the washing pile encroaches on the space in our hallway. The dinner dishes that I was too exhausted to tackle the night before stare back at me, taunting me. You have failed again they whisper, you have failed.
Why does it feel like such a struggle? Why does it appear that most of the others have it all together? Why does it seem that I could unexpectedly drop by to her house for a coffee and I would find her in kitten heels in her sparkling kitchen baking sweet perfection?
Some women really are just good at all those domestic things. My grandmother would come over when my daughter was little, purse her lips and offer ‘This is not a good example’ Thank you. Thank you for the support Granny.
I am in my early thirties, and it is still an issue I feel is unresolved. Seriously, why the fuck can’t I just get shit done? But then I need to remind my self, I do live a different life and in a different generation to my Grandma. And why do I constantly compare myself to all the others? I don’t know what struggles they keep hidden behind their pressed pink gingham apron. They have walked a different path to me. Had different influences, pain and joy. We are all different.
If it is just because of social expectations then it can slide off my shoulders to an uncertain death. But let’s be honest, it is annoying having to drink my morning juice out of a coffee mug because all of my 118 glasses are dirty. Really what’s a girl to do?. Perspective. Just a lil perspective. We are all dressed. We are fed. We are loved. Our clothes are clean, healthy lunches packed. Red heels and lips are on. If I don’t need to impress you, then it doesn’t matter. If I forgive my own inadequacies and learn to love all that makes me, me, then it doesn’t matter.
If I stop comparing and understand we are all different and it is all ok, then it is all ok.
It all doesn’t matter, I will continue to do my best each moment, sometimes that means I will have the time and energy to complete an unseasonable spring clean. And I will understand that not doing the dishes tonight because I’m exhausted, because I was up at 5am, been out of the house for 12 hours, got three people ready for work and school, came home, did the food shopping and then cooked tea: does not mean I’ve failed as a woman. Does not.
It’s all ok. Permission to just be. It is what it is. Permission.
Now where is my damn bra?
single image from an artwork series of 8 exploring issues of house and identity: 35mm film- Aj