Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Unpacking Privilege: Resentment

I spent this past weekend with the kids so my husband could continue attacking our home repair projects like the one-man construction crew he is. I have home projects of my own to do: there are bags and boxes of outgrown clothing to store behind the attic wall, and other bins to pull out, unpack, fold, put away. There are baseboards to scrub and bins to buy; books to stack and art supplies to arrange. In the rush to make our home presentable before the start of the school year we've moved a lot of things up into our attic bedroom. These things need to be sifted through, organized, made sense of.

I need some time to make sense of everything, but there is no time. My husband has heavy lifting to do, and I need to corral the kids so he can get it done. This is the way our marriage must function, for now, --and this is neither the first nor the last time it will be so-- and both of us struggle with it. He doesn't want to be a one-man workhorse, and I don't want all my work to be pushed to the back burner until his is done. But this is how it is. It's temporary. It's going to get us where we want to go.

In between entertaining the children and attempting to mop the hardwood floors I tried to sooth the rough edges of my anxiety by perusing blogs online. Rather than finding any solace, I found myself resentful of the following things:
  • Beautiful houses (that do not need ridiculous amounts of work). (In my state of mounting resentment I was sure -absolutely sure!- that nobody but us owns a fixer-upper. Nobody!)
  • Expensive accessories, including, but not limited to:
    • purses (I have about 12 trillion purses upstairs that I own but never use, but no matter)
    • shoes (ditto)
    • jewelry (yep, ditto there too)
  • Pinterest boards of all types, especially those featuring:
    • clothing (I haven't bought clothing from anywhere but the Salvation Army since 2007; I'm feeling a bit peevish about it, can you tell?) 
    • home decor (I want new throw pillows. I can't have new throw pillows. This makes me grumpy.) 
    • anything nautical (get out of my face with your adorable beach house!) 
    • uplifting or inspirational slogans (if I wanted to be uplifted or inspired, do you really think I'd be sitting here feeding my resentments so voraciously!?)
  • And finally: anyone with any certainty about God and "his plan". (If God is involved enough that he cares about the minute details of your homeschooling curriculum then where the fuck has he been when it comes to the entire continent of Africa for the last several decades?!?) (And er, um, why do we have to fix up our own house instead of hiring a professional to do it?) (I think I somehow managed to think both of these things, with a special sort of resentment-fueled cognitive dissonance.)
    It was one of those moods.

    For Part 2, go here.

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