I’m not going to lie, this is actually one of the harder transitions that I have gone through. For the first time in far too long, life is easy — and it’s giving me plenty of time to think. I’ve got a lot of backlog to catch up on.
I used to spend every day fighting my way through difficult and strenuous chores while caring for a baby who would cry the moment I put her down. Washing was a task which took hours; we simply couldn’t wash clothes frequently, but diapers were something we did daily. Every time I did them, my hands would be swollen and sore for hours, because they simply weren’t built to repeatedly wring out every individual diaper when washing and rinsing under cold water (we boiled water in a kettle to wash them, which took nearly two hours of refilling the kettle to accomplish, but rinsing was done cold). When I did do clothes, I could never get them completely clean, no matter how hard I tried, because I simply didn’t have the right tools to work with. But washing the diapers wasn’t even the hardest part — it was drying them. Diapers hold a lot of moisture, and thanks to the Southern humidity, combined with daily thunderstorms, we were continually bringing in and hanging out the washing, and individual items often took days to dry. A lot of clothing items never did get completely dry, and ended up molding until we got them to a laundromat. It was soul-destroying daily drudgery, and now all of a sudden I have a washing machine and dryer to do it for me — all I have to do is spend a minute loading and unloading the machines. After living that way, it simply blows my mind that most women complain about “doing the chores” when a machine does all the work for them.
Unpacking and repacking is monotonous work, and it gives me too many opportunities to think. I think about being homeless, and how difficult our last home in the mountains was. Part of me has a hard time accepting how easy the middle-class life is, and I can see the odd quirks that people have developed as a response to too much comfort. I wonder if I can go back to fitting in, or if I’ll always feel separated from those around me.
I absolutely love and adore having machines to do the work for me. I’m pretty certain that I wouldn’t become the skilled dressmaker that I fantasize about being without this baseline of privilege, and I’m excited to plunge on ahead with sewing once I have myself properly set up. In the meantime I’m sorting through my thoughts, emotions, and worldly possessions, and feeling very overwhelmed by it all.