Friday, January 7, 2011

The Happy Scribblings of a Lone Woman

My house is quiet, dark, cool. I am alone. At least for a little while longer, until the kids wake up. And oh my Lord, do I love this. I LOVE having time alone, and my own routine, and space for my own thoughts without hearing anyone else's. The older I get, the hermit-er I get.

And that's not wrong.

I've been thinking a lot lately about how society is still so structured around what women "should" be. We "should" be hospitable, and love to cook big, nurturing meals for company, and take in the wayfarer, and give of our time, talents, and energy with a smile. Until we drop in our apron-strings. This is how it's supposed to be right? That's what all the big holiday traditions are based on, and the stereotypical happy childhood - that mama and grand-mama don the ruffled apron and go all out in nurturance.

If a man holes up in his rooms, needs his clearly defined space, wants quiet, and devotes himself to learning and practicing what he loves, he's a devotee, or a scholar. He's respected.

If a woman does the same, she's an anti-social cow, and quite possibly a bit off-her-head. I mean, women are supposed to be available, aren't they? Isn't that the definition of woman? Available.

I know I still have this dichotomy in my head. When I'm evaluating relationships, I use different criteria for judging according to whether the subject is male or female. I have different expectations, and I'm pretty sure the same is happening in the opposite direction.

But I'm making myself less available, and talking to myself sternly about expecting less availability from other women. Our time is a gift to others, not their right. Those of us with a strong introversion need a lot of time alone, alone, alone, even just for the ability to think in a straight line without being distracted by someone else's voice.

And right now, I'm so alone, and so at rest, and so happy to be in the midst of it. Later, I'll have clients all afternoon, and I'll be happy to see them too. I love what I do. And I love the clearly defined 1 hour space. Good-fences-make-good-neighbours.

It's not that I don't have it in me to take up that nurturing stereotype from time to time. It's just that I won't give it on demand.



Deb said...

"Those of us with a strong introversion need a lot of time alone, alone, alone, even just for the ability to think in a straight line without being distracted by someone else's voice." You've hit it right on the head. The reason I have felt so disoriented and discombobulated lately is that I don't seem to have ANY alone time. I guess I'll have to start waking up at 5 AM. And I was just having a conversation with The Hermit about why it is that men get to do all the fun stuff like play music, but if a woman goes out late at night to play it's considered..."narcissistic". His word, and he meant it. (That conversation did not end very well)

clairesgarden said...

I'm just an antisocial cow and proud of it.

Madcap said...

Deb - Whoa. Isn't it interesting, that you're "narcissistic", and a man doing the same thing is "dedicated to improving his skills"?

Claire - How many cows in this field, do you figure? ;-) Or do anti-social cows need each their own field?

clairesgarden said...

I'm in my own field, you may visit.
but don't try to stay.......

Alecto said...

well you know what I think of all this introversion... she says as she slouches off quietly and completely guilt free to the she cave (heh).

Jim said...

I really, really, really love this post!

Madcap said...

Alecto, get OUT of your cave and get shoveling!

Jim, thank you.