Scene: Kitchen. Three women, two on the passenger side of a kitchen island. One on the cockpit side, deveining shrimp. All three are mothers. One is a professor, one is a painter of the visual artist variety, not the interior/exterior house variety, and the third is a writer. The professor is cooking. The other two are her guests. What I left out ....
As upsetting as it is to face, I am grateful for the attention I’ve been forced to pay to structural racism. As a white woman, I don’t expect to be profiled by the police, except, perhaps, if there is a profile for white, suburban moms jacked up on anti-anxiolytics.
Seeking success is not frivolous, it’s natural and essential. It's a building block towards the highest goal of self-actualization. Some people say there's another level beyond Maslow's tip - transcendence. In any case, a drive towards self-actualization and/or transcendence makes us look outside our lives and help others.
Scene: kitchen table. Remains of dinner present. Children absent. Just the husband and I and the dog, despairing of collecting any treats at all. The husband reaches into the snack cabinet and takes two cookies. He offers one to me.
Me: (After a pause.) No, thanks. IF I don’t have one now, THEN I can have a bigger one later.
Husband: Ah! The Marshmallow Test in action.
I used to have a narrow definition of success: professional advancement. Because I had very little of that as a mother and as a writer, I felt like a failure. Now, my definition of success is different. I think of it as a system. And when the system is operating, I feel successful.
Now seems like a good time to check in with those New Year resolutions. It’s the end of February, and my email inbox and Twitter feed are full of strategies for implementing habits, keeping resolutions, and bits about why We Are Failing To Do So.
When I say “we” I mean me. I was struggling to get my routine back on track. I have resolutions to keep me busy.
Most of practice is failing. For example, an ice skater spends every practice trying to refine upon and improve technique to accomplish the next challenge, the next turn, inevitably more complicated than the previous one. She spends most of that time trying and falling, trying and falling, until she manages her triple lutz. Then it’s on to the quadruple.
I’m liking this damaged people, damaged microwave analogy. I could really run with it. But is it what I want to get into? The point is, if there is a point, that once you get to know even those microwaves that look fully functional, those microwaves with deluxe features, even those combination convection oven-microwave ovens, their defects become apparent.