Saturday March 19, 2005

The bad thing about my anti-agoraphobia program is that it requires doing things to which I have an aversion. Lots of them. Just imagine if you had to do stuff you disliked doing, four days every week. Well, I realize that many people have this experience with their exercise program. But suppose you had to do things against which you had an unreasonable aversion — that is, a degree of distress out of the normal response. As you can imagine, this is kind of messing up my life. I wake up every day dreading the unpleasant thing I have scheduled for myself.

The good thing is that I am getting lots of things done which I have procrastinated about doing. I now have an up-to-date drivers license, for example, and by noon I will have had a haircut. Also, the program is working. It is true that I am still dreading the “exercises,” but I am doing them, and really not suffering from them unduly. Tonight I will be driving to an unfamiliar and distant location, on the freeway, alone. If it should snow, I will have a complete aversion experience. While I am not looking forward to doing this, I am going to do it, and I am expecting to find that it is not that bad. I look forward to finishing the program, so that I can quit building unpleasant things into my day, and I also look forward to being able to go to things I want to go to — I do want to attend the concert tonight — without having to go through anticipatory anxiety for weeks ahead. Not to mention the scariness of actually doing it. Even so, I have to admit that the prospect of doing this is causing me to enjoy my Saturday quite a bit less than I usually do.

Still, it is a beautiful day. Once I have been to the hairdresser and the meat market and the Co-op, and done the housework, I will have several hours in which to enjoy my book and knitting. Here is Hopkins. I have scrunched it up so that it will not be obvious that it continues to be a gray rectangle. You can only post just so many pictures of a gray rectangle, after all. It is very nice and soft, though, and perfect for knitting while reading.

I was looking back through my xanga to find where I had posted #2 daughter’s evening wrap, for Bamboo Needles, who is wanting to make a simple, light shawl. (September 10th, 2004, in case you are looking for such a thing yourself). I could not help noticing how often I mention housework. Not because I have something significant to say about housework, but just as a sort of punctuation — I am going to do it, or I have done it, or I am behind with it, or I am caught up with it.

This is of course one of the realities of life for a mom. Either you do housework, or you live in squalor. It reminded me of this song: “The Housewife’s Lament.” I don’t know how old a song this is, but I remember when I learned it that the verse that really struck me was this one:

“Last night in my dreams I was stationed forever
On a far distant isle in the midst of the sea
My one chance of life was a ceaseless endeavor
To sweep off the waves as they swept over me”

Sometimes it seems that way, doesn’t it?


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4 responses to “Saturday March 19, 2005”

  1. sighkey Avatar

    (I’m getting behind in commenting as well as writing now…)

    Sounds like you’ve given yourself quite a few ‘trial by fires’ a week. Probably one ot two per week would have been enough 🙂

    I’m trying to think what things I actually have an aversion to – doctors, hospitals, icy roads, staff meetings, a staffroom full of academics (the last two may be one and the same aversion), exams, …can’t think of anything else. As none of them (apart from icy roads) interfere with my normal life I figure I don’t need to get myself over them.

    Hopkins does look soft and warm – even all scrunched up.

    Are you sure that you are not being a little harsh in your appraisal of people using tolerance to justify their not behaving rightly? Have you ever read Abraham Maslow’s book about self-actualization? He reckoned that individuals could only start acting for their own higher good and the good of others after certain basic needs were met – food, shelter, belonging, security etc.  A lot of individuals feel insecure and threatened by other people, by events, even by change. It’s probably not surprising that they behave in ways conducive to protecting themselves even if that means possibly harming others.

     In answer to your implied question about whether it is the same over here – I don’t actually think so. At the risk of getting myself into heaps of trouble with anyone reading this who is American, I don’t think we spend quite as much time agonising over right and wrong, and feeling guilty about ourselves and our country as many Americans seem to do. In the grand scheme of things international, NZ is a very small player indeed – we don’t have the power to do great harm – nor do we have the power to do great good – and we know this. The US, on the other hand has both types of power (and Americans know this) and has throughout its history exercised both. If you believe that your country can affect things on a worldwide scale and if you believe your country to be an extension of yourself then by extenson you consider your SELF to have more power to influence people and events than we NZers do. With the perception of that power comes all sorts of things – a greater sense of personal responsibility for everything perhaps, more guilt for decisions that had bad consequences, more pride in decisions that had good consequences …that sort of thing.

    We, on the other hand, know that we have very little power to influence anything ‘important’ so I think we tend to spend more time doing things than thinking great thoughts. We don’t have the power to feel comfortable thinking too much about great issues of right and wrong. It has its advantages and disadvantages. (I seem to have digressed from the original comment and possible haven’t written this as clearly as I could have sorry. I refuse to take persobnal responsibility for this writing lapse ‘cos I’m not important enough to do so – and I haven’t had breakfast yet 🙂 )

  2. Leonidas Avatar

    it is a beautiful day…sometimes we do get swept away…

  3. Elephantgirl66 Avatar

    Good for you with your aversion therapy!! I just drove in the snow for the very first time and I can see how one would avoid this!  Housework is relentless isn’t it?

    I don’t knit, though I can crochet a bit, I want to learn though so I could make something for myself. I found you, btw, from Like Wow Mom’s comments. You have a way with words…

  4. andrew1080 Avatar

    oh gosh. this lament does sound so real.

    i wonder if, as society ‘advances,’ and we begin to become more individual more quickly, that we will lose this gender stereotype, like we’ve lost the idea that Americans of African decent are 3/5th a person. Or have we?