The studio is a disaster. It looks like a fortress of blow-up mattresses, sheets, and blankets was attacked by a tour-de-force of dirty laundry and camping gear. We were out of town this past weekend and last week we had family staying with us. I haven’t had the time or energy to submit myself to the seemingly, weekly task of reclaiming the studio.
My Mondays have become designated “house things” days, which is great since we often travel weekends, but often leads to me having a total breakdown around my purpose in life…
Yesterday was one of those days where supporting and helping my husband seemed like training for taking care of teenage children. I spent the day doing laundry, but rebelling against house chores by reading Brené Brown’s Daring Greatly and refusing to make the bed. There was a whirlwind, however, of washing dishes, running to the grocery store, dropping off and picking up my husband (we’ve had one car this past week), and preparing snacks and dinner to be eaten during my husband’s evening class.
After my husband changed his pick-up time on me (then wasn’t waiting for me when I pulled up)… I snapped. I realized… this is what all those parents of teenagers complain about. I was frustrated, but the underlying issue was that I had spent all day catering to needs in the home and had neglected my work.
I work from home, coffee shops, and a coworking space as an artist and spiritual director. I’m very passionate and, typically, very sure of my calling in life toward these two career paths. On days like yesterday, however, I lose it.
I was in a full-swing identity crisis as illustrated by these symptoms: thoughts about getting my septum pierced, failed attempt to re-pierce my tragus, successful attempt to re-pierce the second holes in my earlobes, never changing out of work out clothes (that I didn’t work out in), an overwhelming desire to buy a new outfit and new deodorant, closing the door so I couldn’t see my messy studio, and reading a book about vulnerability all day long.
After I dropped my husband off for class, I texted one of my best friends about my teenage-husband day and my reciprocal angst. She shared her own stories about working from home and being married, at times, to a teenage-husband. I texted her, “I’m not made for housewifery. I’m a professional something!” She laughed and said, “I’d rather stain our bed frame than make breakfast burritos and fold briefs for days. This is America.”
This is America. And I AM a professional something.
It’s okay that I’m not called to housewifery. It’s okay that doing dishes makes me angry and that it’s hard to have gratitude while I’m folding boxers for hours (seriously… how does he have so many?!). What’s NOT okay is hiding behind housework to avoid my calling. What’s not acceptable is doing the dishes, laundry, cleaning, and organizing to avoid the hard and scary task of putting myself out there. I hide in the false feeling of productivity with a clean house, while I let my true desires and passions fester with my professional to-do lists. Then the consequence of neglecting those truly life-giving tasks is an explosion of self-doubt, self-pity, anger, bitchiness, and just plain nasty all over anyone in the vicinity. The consequence is awful and ugly and I’m mean and uncomfortable, then, I realize what it is: my passions raging against my evasiveness.
Regardless of the state of my house, sometimes I have to say, “Yes” to what I’m truly made to do and, “No” to those nagging household chores… even if it means my darling husband has to come home to a messy house. He’ll survive a mess. I won’t survive neglecting the call on my life.