Tuesday, 3 May 2016

A Room of One's Own

You may have noticed that keeping this blog afloat lately has been a struggle. Take three young children, a small business venture and life, and there seems little time for ruminating on anything, let alone inspiration and creativity. It is so easy to become bogged down in the minutiae, the everyday decisions that have to be made, the spellings, the swimming lessons, the tax return. Not even having little ones who reliably sleep during the evening, makes it feel that there is no time, no proper, guaranteed, no interruptions time when the baby definitely won't stir for a feed or the 3 year old definitely won't awake, stricken with night terrors, wide eyed and tragic.

The experience of mentally drowning in to do lists and appointments and pick ups and drop offs and being needed, is reflected in the physical. Our house is littered with shoes and tiny plastic toys and cat biscuits and rice cakes and things the baby has strewn about after a morning emptying cupboards. Upstairs piles of towels, clothes small children have grown out of, books not yet read. Not only is mental space at a premium, grown up physical space has all but disappeared.

At one time I had quite a large desk, a symbol of aspiration rather than realisation, where I was going to write and sew and draw and create. But the table inevitable disappeared under post, red books, swimming certificates, forms. I sold that desk and got a new one to fit in the corner, my haven in the chaos. This is what happened.

This tiny laptop table beset by family clutter has come to symbolise my failure to assert myself within family life. Far from a room of own's own, a desk, a shelf is not too much to ask, is it? The picture shows to me the noble and flawed self sacrifice of motherhood, your disappearing self beneath the cacophony of needs, wants and demands.

My other half also works from home. This is his space. I don't show this to you as a chastisement of him. It is not intended to spark WW3 in my house. But suffice to say, this space comes complete with coffee maker and soda stream. Why haven't I demanded the same? Why do women let ourselves become encroached on, do we feel martyred and noble in our invisibility?

Virgina Woolf wonders what happened to Shakespeare's no doubt equally talented sister?
"She lives in you and in me, and in many other women who are not here tonight, for they are washing up the dishes and putting the children to bed. But she lives; for great poets do not die; they are continuing presences; they need only the opportunity to walk among us in the flesh" (Virginia Woolf, A Room of One's Own). 
So I just wanted to remind all of us out there. Our inspiration, our creativity, our abilities, they do not die. We only have to fight for them. Move them to centre stage, prioritise them. Woman or mother, we do not need to be the bottom rung of the ladder. We are what keeps everything together and we deserve a space, mental and physical space, to just be us and dream.  

1 comment:

  1. Yes, yes and yes. I am ashamed to say I didn't know that Virginia Woolf quote, but I love it. All we need is the space for creativity, which all too easily gets squeezed out.