The house is quiet today. Bethany works late on Tuesdays, and its just me and our two Garfields, Octavian and Nelson (17 and 23lbs), who are lounging by the front window. As someone who has waited their entire life to write professionally, it's now time to make up my glamorous to-do list for the day.
3. Clean the bathroom
4. Grocery shopping
5. Clean the litter box
6. Edit a piece written by a friend
7. Write a blog
8. Clean Bethany's lunch dishes from today
9. Make and prepare Bethany's lunch and dinner for tomorrow
10. Clean kitchen and put all dishes away
11. Prep coffee for tomorrow.
12. Write 2000 words in my new novel, Storms
13. Edit early chapters from previous novel
14. Spend at least an hour reading fiction (Not a chore, but it needs to be included, writers HAVE to read)
15. Three twitter comments a day
16. Attend to various social media platforms
Welcome to the life of a professional writer! And if it looks vaguely familiar, perhaps something some of you from a certain vintage remember, Yes. I, a 210lb weightlifter with a shaved head, is a traditional housewife.
Four months ago I was fired (something I will talk about later this week. Teaser: let's just say don't stand up for yourself if you don't have a union.) and my wife picked up a new job the same day I was released. For a variety of reasons, I decided to take a shot a becoming a pro. Which meant I needed to assume all those other jobs that my wife had previously shared.
That list may not look like much, but if you TRULY want your house to be clean, that list is a fourteen hour day. And its every day. My one break comes on the weekends, when I don't blog. Can any women relate to this? Anyone at all? (And I know that I have a number of readers who also have kids, on top of that list, and they're still working on pursuing their dreams. Which, I have to say, totally kicks ass.)
Which leads me to the point of this post: I was raised in a traditional home, my mom worked part-time and stayed home with the kids. She did the cooking and cleaning while my dad went to work every day from Monday to Friday. He handled the cars, the house repairs, the bills. back in the eighties, in the small Catholic town where I was raised, this was not unusual.
Maybe it was because I was the youngest, I don't know, but I was a dreamer from the time I was a kid, though it wasn't until I was twenty-four until I figured out what I wanted to do. Only problem was that I had no idea how to get there. I worked as a youthworker during the day and wrote at night. The writing only paid sporadically and the youth work paid little.
It didn't matter. The point was the dream. I liked helping kids and I loved writing stories, so I went my own way.
It's the one thing every dreamer MUST do, and there is no compromise here.
EVERY DREAMER MUST WALK THEIR OWN PATH, REGARDLESS OF WHAT OTHER PEOPLE TELL THEM.
Obviously, that doesn't mean everyone needs to quit their job and become a full-time house husband or house wife. (We must still be responsible.) But you can't be ashamed of it, either. I know a lot of men that would never do what I'm doing, because they would feel (wrongly) diminished by it.(This is particularly true of those of certain vintage and culture. My hope is that we'll move away from that towards the equality. True equality.) Frankly, it doesn't bother me. It doesn't bother me that Bethany knows more about cars than I do (I like the red ones) or that she fixes things around the house or that she handles the budget. What matters is that I do the things I'm good at, like care giving, and write.
You can't let others dictate who you are and who you want be and where you want to go. You have to walk your own path. You have to own it. You have to be proud of it.
This has been a big year for me. When Storms, my latest novel, is done, that will be four novels in sixteen months. I'm proud of all of them. An editor is looking at my last three this month. If the situation for us changes the next two months, I'll find a job, and we'll figure out where we'll go from there as a couple. But no one else will dictate what I can or cannot do. What I should or should not do. Whether it's because I'm a man or because it isn't "normal" for a man to do the cooking and cleaning or for any other reason.
Dreamers choose their own path. Why? Because they must.
Whatever your goal in life is, whatever your dream, don't let anyone tell you what road to take. Choose the one that causes your stomach to dance and your heart to beat more quickly. We only go around this planet once. Why not make the best of it?