As I'm getting older, trying to show my daughter how life can be lived (not how to live), I find myself picking up on things I didn't notice as a child or a young adult. I have always lived in a sort of dream world, or a pretend place that I needed so that I could cope with what was around me. I came from what seemed to be a normal, functional household. Two parents, male and female, married for a long period of time and one sibling with whom I was raised. Ours was different because my father had two severe heart attacks at a fairly young age that prevented him from working from that point in his life onward. Not to mention, we were Catholic. So, in our little, traditional, slow paced paced community, we were somewhat different.
Not drastically you understand, there were plenty of working moms, a handful of deadbeat dads, and the regular double income homes. I've begun to understand things about myself by watching and listening to the things that revolve around my parents and their relationship. Because we were four people living under one roof, we sort of paired off. Two lefty's, two righty's, a tomboy girl and her dad, and a girly girl and her mom. A pair of passive and a pair of extroverts. That has morphed a bit over the years but that's a pretty fair assessment of how things were at home. I was the girl up a tree or under a lawn tractor, my sister was in the kitchen learning how to cook. My mother worked herself silly, my dad did his share at home and made sure other things were taken care of. They still maintain(ed) the traditional gender roles. Mom still did the majority of the cooking, we did the cleaning, and he did all things outdoors. They still have that notion of a women being obedient and submissive, to some degree, to her husband.
It's been three years since my divorce. It's been three years since I started a new path with someone else and on this third year, it's gotten serious. At first I had to hear the, "well Liz, you are better off, you should come home so we can help you." Then it was, "well, you have a friend who is there for you, you should get married." "You could have stayed single and been the proudest woman on food stamps instead of moving in with him, you should get married." Now it's evolved a bit to, "At some point I'm going to need you here, it's getting 'fun'." This was backed up by a comment from someone on the other end of the family, "you live in the city? on purpose?" While I'm there, I'm slightly innundated by examples of a husbands work and a wifes household grip in the most traditional manners.
Here I am trying to deal with the very idea of being a divorcee, learning how to be a semi-step-parent, a double parent to my own, how to live with a man who's set in his ways and how to remember that at one point in my life I had goals! Would it be nice to get out of the city and away from the crime? Hell Yes. Can I do that without upsetting what I've worked so hard for and what my child is accustomed to? No. A resounding, no. I take to heart what people say to me to a point that it eats away at my own chaotic mind. I question the nature of my relationship and I shouldn't, I question my place in the workforce, and I shouldn't, and I begin to question myself....and I shouldn't.
At some point on the way back home I began to whine and get really pissy about things that shouldn't have even been on my mind. I began to dwell again on the idea that if he'd have loved me enough, no matter what I put him through he should have stayed. I don't need to be dwelling on any of that trash anymore. It's been long enough, it's over. My family contains a lot of martyrs. Some of them do it the themselves, some are made that way because of the lives they've lead. Why do I need to feel that incessant martyrdom? What's the purpose of it? Living such a sacrificial life that you end up resenting the thing or the person that made you a martyr to begin with. Now don't get me wrong, it's by no means everyone but there are enough throughout the generations that make me sit back and take stock in myself and my motives.
I like having choices and options, I enjoy the notion that I have some semblance of control over the happenings in my life (even though I know I don't). Each time I put myself in a position to over think my life, I begin to believe I have no options. There is no way this can be true. I have always given myself an out. Always. I don't believe in traps, didn't like playpens as a baby, don't like'em now. Some folks enjoy the gilded cage, some embrace the idea of enslaving themselves, most times they don't even realize they've done it. Once I'm backed into a corner, I know it and I'm looking for the way out.
So why over think it? Why wig out over the small stuff? I know I can deal with pretty much any situation, I know I'm no more a mirror of my ancestors that I choose to be, I know that lead a