As I expand my life there’s one “should” that I constantly feel faced with and a fairly constant judgement with it from those who don’t know me. How can I afford to be a on the single mother’s pension, provide activities for Gracie, and stay at home as a full-time mum especially when Gracie is in childcare 3 days a week.
For me my life feels full – most of my writing, writing courses, exercise, catching up with friends, housework, blogging, social media for blogging, gardening are done while Gracie attends childcare. 9 – 3 disappears quickly don’t you think? And I love my life as it is. My health has no put me into hospital for nearly 5 years, although I’ve had challenging times.
But why do I find it necessary to explain? One friendly acquaintance came for a play date at my place. Almost immediately she asked what my work was to which I responded that I’m a full-time mother. She barely stuttered out in amazement “How can you do that?”
I immediately felt I had to explain (mentioned pond rather than bipolar though). But I’m not going to explain again. I don’t owe anyone an explanation of my existence. If people don’t accept who I am I don’t have to apologise and give personal details. It is hard for me to learn, but I don’t have to bring out all the skeletons in the closet.
One dear friend impresses this upon me. I like being honest, but quite frankly pop psychology and daily mail gives people a superficial and I’ll-informed understanding of mental illness. Severe mental illness is something I have to live with. It’s not going away. I’m managing better, but stress is a big factor in it reoccurring.
Work politics happens whether you’re a cleaner or a merchant banker. I have to be firmly rooted in my sense of self to embark on that path. And I’m incredibly grateful, as I said elsewhere, that the Australian government recognises this.
But I don’t need to explain this with people generally- except of course – my kind and regular followers on WordPress, twitter and Facebook.
Being on a government pension does not gives Australian taxpayers and others the right to see my life as a fishbowl.
The flip side of this is that I want to be accepted and liked. I want people in my life. It’s difficult to accept that people often do make assumptions, often do discriminate – I’m sure if I’m honest I do too – but I need to get to a point where where I only need to validate myself, not require it from others.