I took myself out on a little date night last night. I had several things to do- homework to finish up, cleaning, reading, sketching- but yesterday was important. Yesterday was my four year anniversary dating my boyfriend Truchi.
As excited as I was about taking myself shopping, I felt like I couldn't really share my special occasion with many people, and I contemplated for a while about posting it on the blog. I feel like talking about being in a steady, long term relationship and having a boyfriend with adults, teachers, or professionals lessens their approval of me. I feel like it, even subtly, cheapens me in their eyes.
It's this same reason that I try to avoid talking about my real future plans with mentors and other established adults. If I told a potential employer that I'm really looking forward to designing from a farm house between taking care of my chickens and adorable future babies, would I lose the integrity of being a capable, powerful Stephens Woman? Would they still consider me a valuable potential employee? Or would they snub me off and consider me non-commited and unprofessional housewife? Trying to be a female professional almost requires you to swear "I want to work for the largest company I can," or "I'll do anything for this job," and generally promise your life away. Letting on that you're not in it for the rat race, admitting that you don't want to treat your career like a giant competition against "the other guy", that, no, you don't want your work life to swallow up your personal life is sort of career suicide.
I'm by no means a feminist. I'm so neutral on most topics that I barely feel comfortable even assigning myself to a political party, but in this case I want to blame my shame for being in a relationship on sexism. Throughout the past men have easily been able to desire both a career and a family life and social life without much controversy, but how often have we seemed baffled by "Super Moms" who somehow seem to manage both a family and a job? There are TV shows, books, and movies about how hard it is for a woman to "juggle" her life.
I hate that. Of course I know that in reality it's very challenging to have a multi-faceted life, but I want to know why it seems so much more simple for men. I don't think women should have to choose between fulfilling their potential in their career fields and being a mother (or, more accurately to the stereotype, a "good" mother).
Screw that noise. Let me tell you what I want. I want to be a really good graphic designer, inspired and original and hardworking, just like I am now. I want to stare out of the window of my home office and watch my adorable pink-cheeked critter playing some adorable run-around-with-the-goose game in the yard, and take a break from the designs I was working on to run around outside with her. Then I want my funny husband to come in from milking the goats and give me a big messy hug. I want to be a big contributor to big and interesting projects, and I want them to be interesting because I made them that way. I want to meet with my impressive, interesting team of coworkers twice a week to talk about our next project, which I want to kick in the butt because I know I can. Then I want to have dinner with my mom at some great little Italian place where we chat about how dumb people can be, and how funny people can be, and how proud we are of each other. That's what I want.
My Mamaw Jan used to say, "You've got to choose your choose." That's exactly what I'm going to do. I'm going to choose my choose.