So, we’re talking, or attempting to talk as I may have mentioned, and she tells me what she is learning since quitting work to stay home with her three children. She tells me that she used to take pride in her identity as a nurse, but now she is learning to take pride in just being herself. I answer, supportively I think at the time, that it is hard to value what our culture does not value. But inside I’m feeling grateful that I have a legitimate job, that I am a clinical psychologist with a Ph.D.
We don’t finish the conversation, as you may remember, and I’m left feeling confused. I notice that my ‘supportive’ response arose from a slight feeling of superiority, yet later I begin to feel that it is she, who doesn’t seem to need legitimacy, who is actually superior to me.
And it gets worse. I come to realize that actually I have nothing. There is nothing remotely legitimate or even romantic about a 47 year old mother who is trying to do something creative. At a recent dinner, my friend tells me that she is going to change her work schedule to be more available to her son in the evenings. I tell her I’ve cut back my psychology hours to make films…and blog. I feel like an idiot.
No. I take that all back. We don’t make value judgments, do we? It’s wrong. We just make different choices.
Different choices. Diversity. Tolerance. Curiosity.
I talk that talk, and even walk that walk on a good day, but sometimes my mind rages on, obedient to its conditioning–measuring, comparing, assessing, criticizing–quite symmetrical in its displeasure with self and other. Would that I could be free of it all!