Half of everything, All of nothing

esther aarts

Well, I was going to toss this one in and write about velvet and its resurgence, but after a long day filled with lingering ebola and my phone reacting every 5 minutes, I can’t help but tackle this stuff head on. At least it will be the clearest thing I do today. That and sweeping, which when you keep stacked wood in your kitchen, turns out you do it a lot.

Sometimes I ache for a task list prepared by someone other than me, a set objectives that are produced by the work of someone who doesn’t inhabit my brain and success metrics that aren’t directly tied into my sense of self-worth.

Those are things I will probably never have, but more importantly, would probably resent once they were on my plate. But often, I wish my life was just one thing.

But today, I feel like the back of terrible embroidery work. Knotted, cut up and hidden between the layers of order and purpose. embroidery is so funny that way, what can look so rhythmic and proper is in fact the mess that lurks underneath.

We are all not superwomen.

The modern woman is expected to financially contribute (if not earn primarily),  mother and raise children (or suffer the barrage of judgement and projected guilt of society if she opts out of motherhood) and LOVE EVERY MINUTE OF IT, be fit, cook clean foods, vacation, groom + remove all unnecessary hairs, keep a home- a stylish one, nurture or seek a relationship, keep up with the crafts and always have read the best books, never have a blemish and look just so put together.

Easy Breazy Beautiful.

All the while, we deny what we really need. We shrug off self care as narcissisitc, and label creative exploration as a cute hobby. Making sure our kids are happy, enrolled in activities and developing at their FULLEST potential, often seems more important than reaching for the new career, that trip alone, or our dream  job.

Don’t even whisper that you’re dissatisfied, you have it all. Shhhhh.

We are half of everything and all of nothing.

We were raised in a culture that encouraged women to GO GET IT. My school, a high achieving baby pond for HEC graduates shunned the artists. If you weren’t in the high sciences, you were dumb and limiting your options. And if you had chosen drama… it’s just because you couldn’t hack the physics or the chemistry.

And as the guidance counselor (ironic name) stamped LAWYER, SCIENTIST,  DOCTOR, PR on the standardized sheets, he didn’t glance at my result of 4/100 for intellectual analysis, no he was waiting for his next spare, to relieve himself from the discomfort of guiding young girls into the mouth of a society that expects too much.

Have it All, Be it All, Want it All. Until you get Sick of It All, or just sick. And then see what happens. Society has no use for the inefficient or unproductive. It has no tolerance for meandering or leaving a comfortable home to chase a PhD and a better life in a smaller apartment. Our society wants us to work as hard as possible until our hands are rendered useless and our hearts have been emptied a thousand times over. And our cast of women and daughters who climb the mountain every day and face the judgements of their peers, they have been led to waterless well, where the All that we’ve all been promised is actually Nothing.

And so. Where do we go from here?  In the end, it didn’t matter what we chose. Our fates are the same. So take your broom, jump kick  and spin around, cause you’re in it- wherever you are. And the only remedy to all of this, is remembering that there is no All. We are ALL the same, with the same fears… wherever we are. So let yourself be off your game, wear your pyjamas outside and be kind.


Step One: Turn the volume up.

Step Two: https://youtu.be/ufERJEdcfAY


One thought on “Half of everything, All of nothing

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