Tag Archive | homemaking

Fractured

I would be a long way away from this episode if I was going to blog the episodes chronologically in order. But I feel as though this is an important part of who I am and what I’ve been going through, and how I got to where I am. So I will dispense with order and chronology and just go ahead and skip to the end.

My lovely new friend, Christian Janeway and I have had to clarify on twitter that we are not the same person, just two ex-fundies who had a similar idea.

It’s true.

But Christian Janeway went on to say that whereas she chose her Janeway character and blog to catalogue her exit from complementarian theology around marriage, and I had embraced mine and later decided to become egalitarian.

That’s not quite the case, and I’ll attempt to explain why. Firstly, the dichotomy between completarian and egalitarian marriage is not quite as polarised in the UK as it is in the US. Certainly, conservative churches would lean towards complementarianism where more liberal churches would lean towards egalitarianism, it is not such a big issue over here as it is over there.

My Chakotay is not a religious man, and as far as he would be concerned, we have an egalitarian marriage. I happen to have stayed at home and adopted a more traditional role but not because he asked me to or because he forced me to (far from it). It was more a case of falling into it when children came along, but also additionally – because I had put myself under such very conservative teaching again as a young wife and mother – I forced myself into this role. I actually gave up my degree to follow him in his job. He would never have asked it of me, but I unselfishly submitted! (And I’m sure he never knew anything about it, just assumed it was what I wanted).

Even the homeschooling, when it came along was not for any conservative or religious reasons – my eldest child seemed to have mental and emotional issues (which we thought at the outset might be ADHD and have turned out to be Asperger’s), which made learning at home seem to be the best option. But of course that was the route back into fundamentalism for me.

Fifteen-twenty years later, I can see that forcing myself into a role for which I did not have adequate emotional resources or any outside support has done damage both to me and possibly to my children on many levels, including mental and emotional and academic. But whether going to school would have helped is debatable – my eldest child’s worst trauma actually happened at school when he went in aged 16 to complete his exam year, and I know that a lot of his Aspie friends who did go to school are now in the same position as he is – out of work and isolated.

Looking at my facebook memories around this time, I see that 7 years ago I was planning to leave Chakotay for various reasons, which perhaps I will look at another day, but one of the biggest reasons was his Vulcan inability to communicate and show affection. All these years later, I realise that I probably chose him precisely because he was undemonstrative and not somebody who either felt intensely or would be threatening to me. He does have a temper actually which has exploded on occasion, but really he is very much the gentle man. I may talk about my ex another time, as that was quite a different relationship.

I mention the episode ‘Fractured’ because, not long after our difficulties, I got pregnant with twins (which I was overjoyed about), but later miscarried them at 14 weeks in October 2010, and straight afterwards I was verbally attacked by a couple I knew who had just had a baby. Needless to say, being kicked so cruelly when I was at my lowest ebb was traumatic and impactful to my self-confidence etc. Chakotay’s response was to move us hundreds of miles away out of the city to the most remote place he could find. (Our New Earth)

My response, odd though it may be, was to write but I did it by multiplying my accounts on Twitter and Facebook and WordPress. I ended up with 4 separate facebook accounts, 10 Twitter accounts and 15 sites on WordPress. Yep. Each account had a different name and a different theme. I felt as though it was indicative of my state of mind, as though I myself had fractured into a million pieces.

As some of you will know, I was assaulted by a group of young men in a pub last weekend. It was not a very serious assault, thankfully. Having spoken to the police, it transpires that there was no CCTV and so I shudder to think what could have happened.

But it does reinforce for me the idea that once you have a trauma – especially if it is a childhood trauma – it becomes compounded and almost invites new trauma. I have, over the years, attracted a string of abusive friends (and abusive churches), and I have often joked that I must have a target invisibly tattooed on my forehead that tells potentional abusers “Look, I’m vulnerable! Give me a good old kicking!”

I was actually privileged on Sunday to preach and lead my first service at my current church (which happens to be a Salvation Army). I preached on the goodness and faithfulness of God. I feel as though I have so, so much to say, but this was the topic that impressed itself on my heart.

Is it a coincidence that I was sexually assaulted the very next day? I don’t know. I don’t really know what to think about spiritual warfare, the devil, hell and spiritual things like that generally. The Pentecostal in me is yelling! Are you kidding?! Of course there’s no co-incidence! This was a spiritual attack, to remind me in no uncertain terms that I’m ‘just’ a woman, and probably shouldn’t be preaching. And that message is coming straight from the pit of hell!

The Anglican in me however, a rather more rational, composed creature, can see that it really is probably more a case of having that deep seated vulnerability and unconsciously communicating it (body language? hormones/ pheromones?) as I go through life. The abusers are probably no more consciously aware of it than I am. I just need to learn, somehow, how to protect myself and communicate confidence.

Is it healthy to continue in this fractured state or is there some way to re-integrate and become a whole person again? I don’t know. (I am probably going to delete at least 2 of the facebook accounts, if that helps!) Who do I want to be? Can I be homemaker and writer and preacher?

Chakotay has told me on many occasions that I have freedom, I just don’t take advantage of it. My prison is of my own making. Part of me, certainly, really wants to be a ‘homemaker’ – The Waltons and Little House on the Prairie still look like the ideal life to me. But I’m not very good at it, and actually I think that my trauma comes into play there too. I’m just a little bit dysfunctional.

I’m part of a group on Facebook called ‘Radical Homemakers‘ – a group of (mostly UK) women who have purposely chosen the domesticated life for various reasons, but who are also committed feminists, determined to smash the Patriarchy from home. I do wonder how I got to 40 without realising or understanding what Patriarchy is or how damaging it can be. But I suspect that it probably has something to do with the nature of the debate in the UK. Whether we realise it or not, the churches here are deeply influenced by American theology, but when it is communicated over here, it tends to be more subtle. We don’t even notice it.

What is the way forward? In the episode, they have to inject the bio-neural gel packs with a chroniton-infused serum to take every part of the ship back to the point of the original trauma.

In real life? I think that means going back and facing all those demons, bringing them out into the light to see what they’re made of, and finally defeating them. Obviously it’s a little bit more complex than that, but I think that is the gist of it. I suspect that, if childhood sexual abuse had been involved – which thankfully it wasn’t, it would be a different matter and I don’t know enough about that to know how that can be overcome. But for me, untangling my background of spiritual and church abuse and dysfunctional family is the only way I can be made whole. Will it make me a better homemaker? I don’t know.

I’d like to thank you now, for putting your doubts aside and helping me to put mine aside as well. Good luck to each of you.

LLAP

Kathryn

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All mod cons!

1940s USA Hoover Magazine Advert

1940s USA Hoover Magazine Advert

We’ve been in the new house now just over a week, and I absolutely love it! We’re moving all our furniture and stuff over gradually (we were renting the other place, and budgeted for an extra month, so we wouldn’t have to move all in one day (how do people do that?)!)

The dishwasher is now in the house, but I’m still waiting for it to be plumbed in, so I have been washing up the old fashioned way for 7 people for 9 days! I have only had a dishwasher for 2 years out of 22 of being married, but having tried it, I loved it and don’t want to go back to hand washing! How spoiled I am!

I keep wondering how previous generations of wives and mothers coped with washing and cleaning and cooking without all the modern conveniences we have? My grandmother had a twin tub (separate compartments for washing and spinning) but before that, she did everything by hand. Getting married and having children was pretty much a commitment to a life of drudgery!

But the Amish, who are known for living a simple life with none of the gadgets we take for granted, believe that making life too easy is bad for the soul, an invitation to waste time with things that aren’t important or, worse, things that are sinful! (like television, perhaps, or facebook? lol) 🙂 Maybe they’re right, but I’m not ready to throw away my gadgets! I may be a homemaker, but I wanted to be a Starship Captain, remember?! I’m quite keen to get replicators installed! (It would give me time to study temporal mechanics!) 😉

In all the rush to simplify, de-clutter, downsize and go back to basics, what is most important? Why are we doing this? For me, the answer is twofold – I want to be with my children at home (and work for myself!), and I want to learn and preserve traditional crafts. But is it necessary to tie myself to a life of drudgery in order to do that? I don’t think so. Gadgets and machines are just tools. We can make use of them to make life more manageable. The trick,  I think though, is not to allow ourselves to become so dependent on them that we can’t live without them.

wwjd

 

Homemaking Revolution

I stumbled across this blog post this evening and loved the sound of it and actually, as you know, my background is very ‘traditional’ but my heart pulls me in two seemingly opposing directions (career woman Starship captain/ homemaker, wife and mother), so I love the idea of successfully combining traditional homemaking with a healthy  and robust feminism.

I have bookmarked this blog to read through properly later.

Homemaking revolution – https://adventuresinthegoodlife.wordpress.com/2016/04/07/homemaking-revolution/

Becoming the Ultimate Housewife: 1950s Housewife

Shavua tov ladies! 🙂 This is just a little bit of fun really, but I wonder – how much of this do you aspire to? 

How much of this is cultural, dated and irrelevant now, and how much the Biblical ideal/ pattern for wives?

http://www.ultimatehousewife.com/2013/02/1950s-housewife.html?m=1

Crafts and Topics for 2016

I have been thinking about what to do with this blog over the next year, and I think that, in addition to specifically Messianic/ Jewish topics, I will try to post on subjects covered in the TODKAH home economics curriculum, in no particular order:

todkah

– sewing
– knitting
– crochet
– embroidery
– gardening
– cooking
– baking
– flower arranging
– basketry
– budgeting
– child development
– child training
– home management
– making a house a home
– quilting
– cross stitch
– hospitality
– caring
(caring for the elderly, sick and injured, comforting the mourning)
– rug braiding
– women’s health
– pregnancy
– infant care and breastfeeding
– child bearing
– candlemaking
– soapmaking
– raising small animals
– home business

If you’re looking for a home economics curriculum, it really is unequalled – it is a 7 year programme for home educated teens (not to mention useful for their mothers!), and as you can see it covers far more than what is usually covered in school. (Certainly today, but even 30 or 40 years ago.)

I know that the uber-traditional title of the curriculum puts more moderate Christians off using the curriculum, but I think that is a pity. It’s not necessary to agree with Mrs Ann Ward’s very conservative views to make use of her expertise and knowledge in the areas of crafts and home management.

If you are interested in exploring the curriculum, take a look at the website, and join the yahoo group and/ or the facebook group/ page to discuss any of the crafts or topics covered.

A Girl Called Jack: 100 Delicious Budget Recipes

A Girl Called Jack: 100 Delicious Budget Recipes

This budget recipe book was recommended to me a year or two ago when we had a rough patch before we sold our house, and I will have to look at it again as we are struggling to budget in our reduced circumstances.

It’s a good collection of cost-cutting ideas and clever, simple recipes, although obviously cooking from scratch where economically viable. (Sometimes it works out more expensive, since there is economy of scale with packaged foods.)

Please note though that it isn’t a Christian book (although oddly, she uses a Bible quote at the beginning). I don’t remember anything particularly offensive, but I followed Jack on twitter for a while and found her to be quite foul-mouthed and unpleasant 😦 I didn’t follow her for very long though, so hopefully I just caught her in a bad mood and got the wrong impression. She was, though, very political and very ‘liberal’ (in quotes because ‘liberals’ tend not to be very keen on liberty unless it suits their purposes, but that’s a discussion for another post!).

As always though, take the ‘meat’ and leave the ‘bones’.

I would love to hear any tips you might have for frugal homemaking and cooking, as well as any other book recommendations.

Pesach Cleaning

I learn something new every Pesach – about myself, about housework, about the nature of sin and cleanliness, and this year has been no different.

I am sure I have mentioned before that I felt that one of the lessons of Passover is that, no matter how hard we try, we can’t get rid of all the dirt (sin, for which yeast, leaven, chametz is a metaphor) on our own, because it is never finished, the dirt just keeps on coming.

This year, we are in the middle of moving house, so clearing and cleaning two houses. The new house is exactly that – a brand new build where nobody has lived before. I thought that this side of things would be easy, but I have been amazed at how quickly the dust and dirt has mounted up. We may not have much in the way of actual chametz here, but we certainly have dust and dirt!

At the old house, the revelations have been even more startling. Moving things that never usually get moved, like the cooker, has made me realise how the dirt collects in places we’re not looking, not paying attention to, and how once a year ‘spring cleaning’ may not be enough – much more thorough, regular cleaning is going to have to be a feature of life at our new place.

And the spiritual application, of course, is that we need to be making regular self-evaluations, regular repentance, and regular washing (by the Water of the Word).

I am reminded of the classic story of the rabbi who told his students, “Make Teshuvah (repent) one day before you die.” His students would respond with the question, “But how do you know when it is one day before you will die?” The answer of course is that you don’t know, so you must make Teshuvah every day!