The internet is on a roll this week. I’m feeling so feminist:
The same is valid for smaller details of everyday life. “He is looking for stuff. Have you seen my nail filer? He goes to the closet and says he cannot see it. It’s there. ‘Where do we keep the kitchen towels?’ He asks me time and time again. After the third or the fourth time, that shit needs to be learned.”
She continues: “It suggests to me that there is a detachment to home that I do not have the luxury of having. Because if I did, then our everyday life would be a nightmare. So I take on that role. That’s not my authentic self, but I have no choice,” she says.
So Thompson picks her battles (don’t we all?), and the question remains – if we are socialized from a young age to be this way, is it possible that we really are better at it, even if nature did not make us so? Should we just shut up and get on with it because the world would probably stop turning if we didn’t?
I think this is why I purposely don’t take note of my colleague’s birthdays at work; why I don’t bother to buy a gift or send a card; why I don’t really care if my friend is or isn’t eating their vegetables. I spent 20 years of my life sharing the load of emotional labor in my mother’s home, and I won’t fucking do it anymore. All the time I was helping with it, and I never got so much as a thank you. Instead, I got blamed when the recipient of all that emotional labor realized they didn’t really know how to function without someone carrying that burden for them. “That shit needs to be learned”– indeed. Sure, I was raised and shaped to be nurturing and caring and thoughtful, but so what? I don’t need to be that. You get on just fine without it. You get by without activating that part of your brain, so why can’t I? I’m not going to love anyone enough to make these kinds of quiet sacrifices, I’ve decided. Mutual, reciprocal work, that’s what I want.