I was driving to a meeting in my local library.The sun was low in the western sky, trees on both sides of the long empty highway singing the first song of spring. I was in the mood for introspection. I have always assumed that when people say it is difficult for women to have it all, they were being stupid or worse prejudiced. I know I want to and I am not going to let some hypercritical idiots get into my head. I said to myself I was going to prove that I can have it all…a happy family with kids, an amazing career in political science and also be a published author. I was going to be like um…..uh……screech!!!!!! For the life of me I couldn’t find one women to my knowledge who had it all. Clinton…yeah right! the dude is not interested in politics or cannot be bothered to find his Lewinsky, Condi Rice..Not married. Professors I worked with..Not married, Doesn’t have kids, Divorced, Late bloomer, Cannot give a damn abt anything else, single mom….What the hell!! Where are my role models?
I am not saying that I didn’t know the travails of the career before I entered it. I am, however, flabbergasted about how difficult things can get. Being on the top of the game atleast to my knowledge, the field of International Affairs and Politics requires that you attend dozens of conferences, pally around with professors talking “Politics” till the wee hours, and basically be prepared to sacrifice everything. I am sure that the scenario applies to almost all professional careers, especially during the critical years when you are trying to get your foot in the door. My question is, does it have to be so God damn hard? I don’t want to be the “Mother” sacrificing everything for the joy and well being of her family, I don’t want to wear my tiny apron and sit seductively on the back burner with chocolate cake in my hand waiting. I want things, I want to fulfill my dreams, and I want this and I want that…I want them all dammit. I want to teach my kids to be greedy and passionate. Be greedy about your dreams, Dream about everything, and be greedy enough to want to do plenty with your life. When people tell you pfft!! that can’t be done…pop and eyebrow, elbow them out of your way and keep running. Have a passion. A life without passion might as well be no life at all…
“A little learning is a dang’rous thing;
Drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring:
There shallow draughts intoxicate the brain,
And drinking largely sobers us again.
Fir’d at first sight with what the Muse imparts,
In fearless youth we tempt the heights of Arts,
While from the bounded level of our mind
Short views we take, nor see the lengths behind;
But more advanc’d, behold with strange surprise
New distant scenes of endless science rise!
So pleas’d at first the towering Alps we try,
Mount o’er the vales, and seem to tread the sky,
Th’ eternal snows appear already past,
And the first clouds and mountains seem the last;
But, those attain’d, we tremble to survey
The growing labours of the lengthen’d way,
Th’ increasing prospects tire our wand’ring eyes,
Hills peep o’er hills, and Alps on Alps arise!”
There are times when I despair though. I feel broken when a colleague tells me about the heights she has achieved while I am removing mashed banana out of my hair. There is this show I watch “Parenthood, there is this character Julia. She is this big, successful lawyer who is doing really well in her profession. Her husband stays at home to take care of their daughter. Yet every episode shows her fighting or making up for the all consuming guilt that makes her feel inadequate, a lesser human because she is not a full time mom. Why should it be so difficult? I don’t want my dreams to fall off a cliff that ended when I was running real fast. I realize the onus is on me to fight back, to show that I have gained much more in this journey and I can do greater things now. I am going to run so fast that I leap across the chasm of broken dreams and show how wonderful it is to land on the other side on both my feet.