Throughout the ages, people have asked themselves, why? Why am I here? What is expected of me? Different societies and religions have answered this question in different ways. The most basic humans probably had a different viewpoint on what was expected of them then the rest of us. Of course that is if you believe that there was such a thing as a basic human... naturally though there have been differnent viewpoints throughout history.
Think of the serfs, those poor laborers throughout all time. Who lived in grass huts, lived simple lives. Did they wander about dazed sometimes as I do, wondering what they should be doing each day? Obviously they had to work, they planted their gardens and lived their lives for the most part according to the seasons.
Then the nobles, I guess nobles (people with money) have always had a sense of entitlement about what they have in their lives. They have better things then surfs and that's just the way things are.
Think about the nomadic tent dwellers throughout history. What do they think about life? Can I go live with the nomadic tent dwellers of Mongolia? What would they think of me anyway? This white girl, who dosen't know anything about anything.
There are so many cultural differences out there. Woman in some arab societies are not allowed to reveal any part of their bodies to men, men choose who they will marry... I just finished a book called "The End of Manners," by an Italian lady, though I can't remember the name because I sent the book back to the library. Wait, it's Francesca Marciano. She details the struggle a journalistic photographer, Maria Galante, has while travelling with another lady journalist, Imo Glass, through Afganistan. (I think she's giving us a hint to the characters, attitudes through their last name). They are doing a story on women who try to kill themselves because they don't want to marry someone they are being set up with... naturally they have a hard time getting any pictures of these women.
One of the interesting points that gets made in the story is the difference in viewpoint between westerners and "arabs." Hopefully I will get the sense right in relating this... they encounter a remote tribe of arabs and in trying to speak with the women find that they are allowed little access, only in the school. They almost take a picture of some of the women, despite the mens forbidding it. Maria thinks though of the remote chance that the picture could be recognized by one of the woman's relatives, thus getting them in trouble. (Whipped, beat etc...)So she doesn't take the picture.
What is interesting though is the exchange between one of the men of the tribe and women journalists. He say's that in their society women are held sacred and are repected with age... where as Western women are obsessed with staying young and are considered less valuable with age... How western women torture their bodies, have surgery, breast implants... all in the name of youth.
It kind of made me think... Yes we judge them becuase their women are not allowed to vote and are kept in strict order. Yet we are some times more barbarious in our treatment of women (well we don't beat women right? Hmmm actually some people do, I know to many battered women). Near the end of the story, Marciano puts Maria in a difficult situation. She is stranded in Afghanistan and ends up in the hands of some throughouly "Western" men who treat her with disrespect... and she actually feels to some degree a kinship with the Arab women because she gets treated in much the same way... Interesting, food for thought.
I am reflecting upon this because of my past and partially my current situation. Heck I have felt powerless as a women, stuck in my situation, can't really expound on that. Yet what is hard for me right now is defining what is expected of me.
I was gearing up to go to work... yet I am still a mother, I would have had to go into mother survival mode (my own mom is still in it). I wouldn't have had time to develop my writing talents and might not have even thought about doing it.
Then I wonder, how much time I should devote to writing? Is it a worthwhile thing to be doing?
Right now, coming off of a horrific year where I was questioning everything and nothing was settled, I am still trying to define what I am supposed to be doing each day. I know that I need to care for the kids, but I am not sure if I need to bake all of our bread and make every meal... breakfast, lunch, dinner etc. (I hate what they feed them at school, but I am not prepared to send them food from home, they don't like feeling different. Chalk up another plus to homeschooling kids). Please be better a better year... don't ever let what happened last year happen again...
How clean should our house be? How much do I need to make the kids do around the house? I have finally gotten out of whatever funk I was in where I wasn't able to laugh with the kids and play with them... thankfully.
So now... don't know if I will ever get a job... Sam's going to school to become a personal trainer, it's going to be a tough year but it will be good for him to do this... if I do get to stay home with the kids I will really, really be grateful for it.