Friday, September 3, 2010

Optional

Someone told me recently that what I do is "optional"...It has hit a nerve. 

There are so many assumptions and so much ignorance and bias implied in that one word.

What was it that was considered optional:

canning, growing food, going to the farm to pick up our veggies, buying food in bulk, making food from scratch, composting, attempting to phase out the grocery store, taking my children on outdoor adventures-like going fishing.. 

Optional-unimportant..

All this work I do, unimportant...  ??

Honestly, I question it sometimes...It is not a "convenient lifestyle".  Often the cleaning of our house is put as a second priority..so our home is not as groomed as it could be..Dandelions and clover are out of control in our yard. And we aren't even worth yet, of being really "green"...We have too much "stuff" are cluttered..we watch TV, etc..  Our life is not simplified enough..We live in 2 worlds still.. 

I spend a lot of time in the kitchen...Someone might look at me...barefooted and pregnant and think I'm some kind of Betty Crocker(stereotype)..  But, I'm not...I don't think of myself as a 1950's type..I think my views are more radical/liberal than that..but in many ways I'm conservative too. (I don't think it is bad to be liberal or conservative-I'm not one or the other) I'm religious, but my religion is "different"...I am a Baha'i..and my beliefs do not fit into a conventional box..  Some have told me we are going to Hell, because we do not think Christ is the "only" truth..  We believe in Christ, Buddha, Muhammad, Moses, Zoroaster, and Baha'u'llah.  So, I don't think I quite fit into the Betty Crocker(stereotype) box..I cringe at terms like "housewife"-I am not subservient to my husband. I do not see my purpose in life as singularily serving his needs. (I believe women and men are equal and deserve equality) I dress up very little. I do not wear make up and rarely even jewlery(although I'm thinking I'd like a pretty pair to wear recently..)  My  cakes are messy..My pie crusts fall apart. My sewing and knitting looks like a child's work.  I am not much a "neat and tidy" /perfectionist person..  But I do like some order, and I like my house to be clean(not gross)..I don't really like the clutter, (but my house is cluttered)..

I'm digressing.. I went on another tangent..  (-;  Anyway-  Optional:

what I am getting at is a feeling of importance...I might have been thinking about "going back to work" or trying to "earn money somehow" just about now.  I; however, am about to have another baby in January..and if at all possible, still wish to be available and not have a day care raise my child...just as I've felt about my other 2 children.. 

Would my job be seen as necessary or "optional" even so...  as the "secondary bread winner"?? 

What I have been doing, to me, is not "optional" but very important...I honestly feel I am part of a kind of revolution...  Notice the headlines lately?  how often food is contaminated...how often you find that the food or products you use are full of toxins, are made poorly...  Everything is now based on "convenience"..and ruled by what marketers tell us we need...We have become locked into a dependency upon that convenience..  I am TRYING to break free of that as much as possible..  shifting from convience to value..

But, what I am doing is "optional"...maybe doesn't even taste as good sometimes to the kids as the store bought white bread..  Why do it--spend hours doing something you can buy really cheap??  what is the point?  Why spend hours learning to knit a scarf, when you can simply buy one for $5?  Why do this to myself?...if it is "optional"? and my scarf is full is mistakes...and not as "neat" as the one from the store!? because I'm so new at this..and just learning ...like a child..

I don't have credibility yet...  My garden growing skills are also still novice..still learning..  Everything I'm doing is novice, because I've only just started over the course of the past 3 years..  I'm not a "master" of it yet..and it takes me longer..and I'm spending too much money on books and getting it all started..  the wood for our raised beds..initial investments that are hopefully going to last for years..(hopefully)

all optional?? 

hearing that word, hurts...because sometimes, I'm not even sure if I am dong the right thing.  and sometimes, I backslide on the principle of sustainability...

Sometimes, I am filled with a grand sense of purpose in doing this---and other times, I wonder if I am wasting my time..  Sometimes, these battles are not always won..  buying a water bottle, then finding it has BPA in it..then buying another water bottle...feels wasteful..and frustrating that it is not always clear-cut and easy to figure out. 

It has become increasingly more and more difficult for consumers to figure out what is okay and safe to buy...and even at the vet..do I trust to vet to not "over-vaccinate my pet"...or the doctor to not "over vaccinate, over treat, overly intervene"...I am learning that sometimes there is way too much invasiveness in medicine...and I think this over-treating can be detrimental to our health...too many vaccines=too many chemicals...  Our dentist x-rayed my children without even asking me if it was okay.  My vet put a pesticide on my cat without asking me first!  an accumulation of chemicals...exposures..all so we can live longer..(I guess)...Pharma--"just give them a drug to make them feel better" There are drugs for everything! 

My point is, I am trying to change my/our life around...trying to decrease our dependency...but it is not convenient...

but to me it is NOT optional!  because the current way  of "convenience" is not sustainable....Why would I want to be on any other path than this one where I am striving to change how I think..which is not really "mainstream"---and definitely not convenient...

but I love it...I love the learning..even if it doesn't look polished yet..even if I don't look completely "credible" or earn prestige from doing it..  even if someone thinks I'm some kind of 1950's housewife..  I am not doing this; however,  just for my family; I am dong it, because I feel I am a part of a larger change that I think needs to happen..and I'm doing because I enjoy it..and feel good about it, and feel like I an artist...it gives me the same kind of satisfaction as it does when I have created an oil paining, or wrote a term paper for my masters degree..  I do it, with as much professionalism, love, and effort, as I did to earn my BS and MS and apply for jobs..  It is my profession right now..my livelihood, and it takes just as much effort and intelligence and SKILL!!  as any outside of the home job I have had..  and I work hard at it..  and I'm still on a learning curve with it..

but it does not give me "title" or prestige. or raises, or pay, or promotions..sometimes it doesn't even save me money (yet)--I'm working on that part..   

but optional??  unimportant?? 

Isn't the tip of the iceberg of putting down what a woman might do as "inferior"!  I am a feminist in this sense--that I am sensitized to this--and I am a feminist--that I believe a woman has a right to choose what she loves to do--to be able to choose her path...

And what I LOVE to do is be a full-time mom, and a "radical-homemaker"...and perhaps a writer..if I ever get past my rudimentary rough draft stage of writing...  (-;  And I've worked as  a teacher and a counselor(program therapist and play therapist)--I've been there too and may go back to it when my children are in school full-time.. 

But for now, I am here, at home in this profession..  that I love..

doing what I love and following my own sense of integrity and purpose is NOT OPTIONAL..

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