risky behavior in the world of Martha

This morning I had many friends and friends’ babies over for a playdate and I was once again confronted with my deliberate choices, and their occasional opposition to what I want for myself and my friends. Example. My choice: last night and this morning I chose not to clean in a freakish rampage, nor “make” my husband do it all, either. Another choice: the truth is, I don’t really have “enough” for company in large numbers. Enough good dishes to serve. Enough toys for a ginormous tribe of kids. Assy coffee and today, no cream for it. No milk in the fridge.

Well, besides the milk part, I support myself in having “less”. Several months ago we deliberately reduced our kitchen accoutrement significantly because, simply, we weren’t using it. A friend went so far as to call my deliberate downsizing “risky”. As if my life and limb were offered up in having less.

It’s true: I don’t want to be the lameass whose home feels like it’s been scrimped on. I want people to anticipate generosity, warmth, and fullness when they come over. But I also don’t want to justify or apologize for (to myself or anyone else) my “meager” hospitality – or the second-hand nature of my clothes, or cars that make odd screeching and chirping sounds, or the occasional appliance that sits in my driveway for a few days. I take responsibility for my choices and part of that means I don’t need to explain them everytime I see someone doing something differently. Besides, everyone feels insecure, to some degree, over their material possessions and how those possessions (or lack thereof) are interpreted by their own microcosm. Every homemaker feels this. The only thing that makes me different than some of them is the fact my decision to have a “smaller” lifestyle is a conscious one that I employ daily. I have opted out of the need for more, better, bigger, nicer. I am trying to make do with “what is”. And I’m accepting the social cost (whether it’s all in my mind or not).

My moves to a more sparing lifestyle are showing up in ways that are even less fun for me. Example. I have two bras now, and they have seen better days (they’re each about 2 years old, in fact). Well, yesterday neither one was clean and dry so, for the first time in my life since probably 6th grade, I didn’t wear a bra at all (I wore one of those goofy camisole things – you ladies know what I’m talking about). I’m depressed a bit, because you know? I don’t care how many holes my clothes have (well, I don’t care much), but I want a good bra. Last night in bed I tell my husband my feelings. At first he sympathizes, “Awwww…” then he pauses and asks, “Were people checking you out?” I could see where his train of thought went: from Man, that sounds like a bummer for her! to, a couple seconds later: Hey, were her breasts moving around under her shirt a lot?

I guess it’s nice to know that with relative financial hardship comes a bit o’ slattern that my man will always appreciate.

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