Life Lessons: A dark morn

I thought we could just be people.

Every day, on the news, you hear about someone or another dehumanizing a group of people: saying incredibly racist things, trying to take away basic human rights, and the like. But those are politicians and CEOs and rich people. Maybe they’re just bad people. I thought the rest of us could just live as human beings and not worry about gender or race or creed.

I work 40 hours a week, plus physical therapy once a week for ~2hrs. Chaos takes 12 credit hours at a university. It’s obvious which of us has more time to do things around the house. Yet last night, looking around the apartment, I reached an epiphany.

There was trash spilling out into the hallway; I had to climb over piles of crap to get anywhere. Many of my important things had gone missing in the last few months. While baking, I barely had any elbow room because it seemed every dish we owned was piled up in the sink. Groceries had not been purchased for the week despite it being 11pm on Sunday night. Laundry had not been done because laundry wasn’t in the hamper because the hamper was full of clean clothes from last week that had never been folded or put away.

Chaos was never going to care whether things were clean, let alone pretty or functional or optimal. He was never going to be able to shoulder a fair share of housework. He was never going to be the one coming up with plans for V-day or our anniversary without serious prodding and hand-holding from me. So on top of being the primary breadwinner, I also have to be The Woman: nurturing him, almost parenting him, coddling the ego of my man while also doing the cooking and cleaning and washing-up AND planning not only our day to day activities but also our budget and our love life. It doesn’t matter how exhausted I am or how much pain I’m in, I’m the girl so I have to do it.

In my gaming group, there’s ongoing animosity between myself and another member. Everyone agrees he’s an asshole. But everyone gets mad at me for calling him out on it. I’m the woman, so I’m supposed to be accommodating and long-suffering and patient. I have to be the perfect victim while he bullies me or else I’m agressive, over-the-top, have anger issues, et cetera. I’m expected to change my character or my play-style to accommodate him because I’m supposed to be the “nice” one, the bigger person. Because I’m the girl.

I thought we could just be people. But instead, I have to be The Woman and Chaos has to be The Man; I have to be The Girl Gamer while everyone else gets to be just Gamers. I’m tired and I’m unhappy and I’m having nightmares again but it doesn’t matter. I can’t change the world today. All I can do is put up with it.

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One Response to Life Lessons: A dark morn

  1. JenL says:

    WAY back in the day, my (now-ex) and I were having a conversation with another couple who were a situation very similar to ours. (All 4 of us were grad students. Each couple lived together in a 1-bedroom apartment in the same complex. We were in the same program, all taking a full schedule of classes. Of the 4 of us, though, I was the only one that was also working an on-campus job – the other 3 were only taking classes.)

    The other couple was explaining how they split the chores – essentially, he would cook and do the kitchen cleaning one week, while she did all the other around-the-apartment chores (except for laundry, which they did together at the laundromat). The next week, they flipped, and she would cook and do kitchen cleaning, while he did all the rest.

    My ex, who thought of himself as a very modern, progressive man, proudly responded that we had a very similar breakdown of chores. We also went together and each did our own laundry. He took out the trash. He… and you could *see* the moment when he realized that’s ALL he did. He took out the trash. (Sometimes, when I successfully nagged him into it.)

    Did that little moment of realization change anything? Not in the slightest. He still didn’t lift a finger, wasn’t the slightest bit interested in learning anything more complicated than how to microwave a pizza, and still considered himself an oh-so-modern man, progressive and understanding and liberated…

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