Over the past year several conversations with my mother have revolved around the topic of, "Where the hell did this cooking, knitting, canning, domestic-type person come from?" Because, on face value, that person is not supposed to be me.
In my early teen years the plan was to own a loft in the middle of some city, working as an architect, driving an MG Convertible in British Racing Green. A man was negotiable, children were non-existent, and I went out to glamorous locations every night of the week and couldn't be bothered to cook.
The dream started to evaporate shortly thereafter, as soon as I learned that MGs have dual carburetors, which are a bitch to keep tuned up, so I'd need a second, less glamorous, car for when the MG was broken down. It further deteriorated when I started to understand that a lot of architecture has to do with engineering, and making sure the building can actually stand up, rather than just designing it all out on a piece of paper.
And then I just sort of took things as they came, and here I am today. Married, sort of looking forward to a day when there might be kids in the picture (but don't go holding your breath, mom, we'll let you know when the time is here), and digging the domestic life. Stressful day at work? Most people are calling take-out, but I'm LOOKING FORWARD to getting home and making dinner. Because nothing relieves stress like a big ass knife. Even if you're just using it to chop carrots and slice potatoes.
On reflection, it makes total sense.
I was a fiercely independent child. Examples:
- Don't you dare try to order for me at a restaurant. I can speak for myself, thank you very much.
- When riding on an escalator, I would become possessive of the step I was standing on, and no one else was allowed to share my step. Ideally, there would be a one-step buffer between us.
- Once I was of an age when I was allowed to use the stove unattended, any cooking or baking I did (which wasn't a lot, but I did have a talent for chocolate chip cookies) was done with the pocket door between the kitchen and the rest of the house CLOSED. The dog could stay in the kitchen, because she wasn't really allowed in the rest of the house, but no one else allowed in there.
(Yeah, I was a strange kid. THAT shouldn't surprise you, just look at me now)
Now, I am a fiercely independent adult. Not quite as fierce as when I was a child, but remnants remain. I can cook with people watching me, but cleaning is better done when no one else is around.
And what do all of these domestic tasks share in common? They further my independence. I don't need other people to cook for me. I can take a vegetable out of the ground and turn it into something tasty. For dinner tonight, and later this winter when there are no fresh veggies. I can replace a light, fix the plumbing, and don't need to call professionals to get the job done. And who needs clothes manufacturers when you can knit your own? Well, I do. Because I can't knit that quickly, and haven't made much by the way of clothes yet, but it's still a very practical and independent sort of thing to do.
Now that I've come to the realization I'm a little scared, though. Because a few years ago my mom gave me her sewing machine - I thought I wanted to make some curtains for my apartment. That thing intimidates the hell out of me. When I'm sewing my own clothes, then I may have snapped.
But until then, I'll be doing it on my own.