Iconoclast is defined as one who attacks settled beliefs or institutions. I suppose this is what I have been most of my life, although I was not graced with such an elegant descriptor. I was more often viewed as the “shit disturber” at home, the obnoxious teacher’s pet at school (strangely teachers seem to encourage independent thought – fellow students not so much) and the one who is “this close to being fired” at work (strangely not open to independent thought).
Through my many years of unintentionally perfecting the art of alienating family members and friends alike, I have noticed that being an iconoclast does not win you popularity. I have often had an accusatory finger pointed in my face accompanied with the observation “You know what your problem is? You think too much!”
It is true. I do think a lot. And I feel a lot as well which is both a blessing and a curse. In my youth and young adulthood I sought all kinds of remedies and counselling for these twin afflictions. Some of them, admittedly, may have involved psychedelic properties. It was not until later (likely under the influence of said psychedelics) that I embraced Socrates’s conclusion that “the unexamined life is not worth living.” Mind you, he was murdered.
Now when I see the finger pointed in my direction I respond, most often calmly, with the quip “perhaps it is you who think too little.” Ah ha! Take that! Not surprisingly, my popularity has increased… not at all.
How have I maintained my sanity in a world that does not respect the importance of iconoclasticness (not a real word) you may ask? This is what this blog attempts to answer, particularly because in the last few years my life has drastically and forever changed.
While I was in mid-life transition from a career as a psychotherapist to a career in law, due partly to the unhappy news that I would be unable to have children, and then solidified by the discovery of my now ex-husband’s infidelity, I became unexpectedly pregnant by a man I had known for all of 6 weeks (he insists it was 4).
One year later I became a “working mom”, more out of necessity than choice. That strange man who impregnated me is sharing in this strange journey of parenthood by my side. He is now a stay at home dad, a role he never imagined in a million years. I suspect both of us experience these new roles a bit like an ill fitting suit (or in my case a pair of too tight jeans) – I would look so good if only these damn things fit better!
Most days I am still coming to grips with the fact that I am a mother. It hasn’t completely morphed into my identity, despite the fact that my daughter, who I love like mad, is now almost 3. The only time I have felt remotely like a “mother” is the one or two times when I baked banana bread for my daughter. Clearly, my idea of what a “mother” is needs updating.
This blog is an attempt to challenge settled beliefs about the institution of motherhood, womanhood, and likely, I’ll take a stab at fatherhood, manhood and childhood too. Why not at least attempt to alienate everyone?