Sunday, September 4, 2011

Why I created this blog...

In Dance of the Dissident Daughter, Sue Monk Kidd talks about a feminine wound, or the damage done to women by social and religious expectations. I read the book two years ago, and that idea has stuck with me. Despite my non-traditional parents, and a husband who does not hold any gender expectations as far as our relationship goes ( or at all as far as I can tell) I find myself trying to fill certain gender expectations, or feeling guilty if I don't. This blog is an attempt to recognize and change these feelings in my life.

I grew up in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or the Mormon church. The Mormons are a conservative Protestant sect with very strong traditional gender expectations, i.e. husband as provider and head of the household and wife as homemaker. These roles have never appealed to me, and have no bearing on my life at the moment. I'm working full time while my husband goes to school and works part time. Whoever is home and has time does the domestic chores, or we do them together. This is following the example my parents set growing up. My husband has never made me feel like he expected me to do or not do something based on his expectations or whims. despite all this, I find myself feeling guilty for not meeting the expectations I have been told I should be filling. The following is an example of this, and the catalyst for this blog.

A few days ago, I went to a storytelling performance with a couple of friends. My husband was at work, so I left him a note so he would know where I was and not worry. It was a fun performance, and I was scoping out the space for a play I want to direct. But the entire night I felt guilty for not being home when K got home. I was worried he'd be mad ( which has never happened), and I felt like I was falling down on the job by not being home waiting for him. It was really hard to enjoy the performance because of how I felt.

I have no idea where I picked up the idea that a wife should always be at home waiting for her husband, I didn't get it from my husband or parents. And I don't feel bad when I'm at school or work and get home after him. But when I'm out having fun, I feel guilty, as though my fun shouldn't deprive him of my being home. I realized this that night, and how insane it was to feel that way. I also realized things like this happen to me a lot. So this is my attempt to document and deal with these feelings, to give myself permission to use the freedom I have.


  1. I am only commenting because you're a theater education major and I love theater. When I was reading your post it brought to mind a scene in the movie "Unbreakable", a movie which some people thought was too dark but which I loved because it was dark. The scene starts out with David (Bruce Willis) identifying a man wearing an army jacket as a security threat based on intuition rather than actual evidence. Samuel Jackson's character Elijah asks him about it:

    How did you know that man
    you bumped was carrying a

    Probably the army jacket.
    Those guys carry hunting
    knives and stuff for show.

    You thought he was carrying
    a knife?


    I thought he was carrying

    But not a knife?

    I got this picture of a
    silver handled gun tucked in
    his pants.
    Like on t.v.


    You have good instincts when
    it comes to things like

    Like what?

    Telling when people have
    done something wrong?



    Have you ever tried to
    develop it?

    I don't know what you're

    You're skill.


    Listen. I got to be on the
    sidelines during the game...
    You can get to your seat by
    taking the stairwell at-

    Characters in comic books
    are often attributed special
    powers. X-ray vision, things
    of that sort.

    David exhales slowly as he stares at Elijah.

    Okay, I don't want to play
    this game anymore.

    It's an exaggeration of the
    truth. Maybe it's based on
    something as simple as
    instinct. Like being able to
    touch someone and tell
    whether they've done
    something wrong... Or the
    level of what they've done

    The guy might not have been
    carrying anything.

    Or he might have been
    carrying a silver handled
    gun tucked in his pants.

    And of course army-jacket man was carrying a silver handled gun as we later learn.

    Your post made me think of it because in the movie, David is unhappy until he begins to develop his gift of knowing when people have done something wrong. It's not a gift he would have chosen, but it was what he was given. Once he begins to develop it he learns to use it to help those around him.

    Maybe it's not cultural expectations, but some internal gift you have to know how to help others. Maybe you don't have to be home when your husband gets home, and he wouldn't ever say anything about it. But maybe it would help both of you to be happier. Maybe not, I really don't know.

  2. The issue in my mind is why I'm doing something. I love my husband, but I don't want my actions toward him to be motivated by guilt. I don't want to do something because I feel like I have to. If it's good for my relationship to do something, I want to do it. But if I do things because I feel guilty, that isn't helping anyone. It will make me resent the people I want to help, and that's not good. So I need to work through the guilt, then decide how to proceed in relationships.