A Useful Woman
Copyrighted by Lorna Tedder. Originally published in Third Degree of Contrast.
Something Obi-Wan said to me when she and I last talked keeps whispering in my ear. Iâ€™m not hearing it.
I am standing in my front yard with a small chainsaw and way too Â many power tools at my disposal and not enough testosterone. My muscles ache. Iâ€™m drenched, exhausted, dirty. The evidence of my labors isnâ€™t just on my body but in the heaps of trash and limbs behind me. Iâ€™ve made tons of progress but all I can see is whatâ€™s in front of me, and itâ€™s not pretty. Iâ€™m to the point where Iâ€™d like to just sit and cry but I hurt too much to wipe the tears.
Iâ€™ve been struggling to find the time and daylight and sunshine to get this job done but the truth is, I just donâ€™t have the Â upper body strength Â to do it all. And I have never had a man in my life who would or could do this job for me, and Iâ€™ve always done it Â myself. Except that itâ€™s grown bigger and bigger until I am overwhelmed.
Later I take Â a walk Â with Â Shannon Â after Â she Â arrives from her latest forensics competition and Aislinn is napping after I wore her out Â helping Â me today. This isnâ€™t a power walk. I donâ€™t have the energy left for a power walk. Itâ€™s just an amble.
She started back to work for me last Friday, to earn money for gas and car insurance. If things go well, she might manage 15 to 20 hours a week as my assistant, and Iâ€™m so looking forward to it because sheâ€™s a wonderfully hard worker. As I discussed different jobs Â that must be done this month, especially state taxes, royalties, 1099â€™s, and Â more, she reminded Â me that she can help with all that. I admitted that all the projects (wands in the air, so to speak) have me feeling Â overwhelmed Â at the moment, but especially when looking at the yard work today.
She doesnâ€™t Â understand. Â She tells Â meÂ she Â sees Â how much I do, how much I accomplish,Â how productive Â I am, and how can I feel Iâ€™ve barely scratched the surface?
Something she says brings back what Obi-Wan said to me, and itâ€™s a phrase Iâ€™ve never quite been aware of. I can remember my mom always doing 300% for my dad and it never being enough and him saying to me to make myself useful.
Obi-Wan warnedÂ me of all the work Â going Â on this month and that I must be good to myself and remember to schedule a little fun time and relaxation. She talked to me about all my responsibilities in my high-stress day-job, about my productivity and creativity in my home business and in the career transition Iâ€™m working on. She fretted over the Â hundred-hour Â work Â week Â I often Â put in. She talked about the time I Â spend with the girls and on my home. She reminded me of all the work I accomplish, the relationships Â Iâ€™m Â part Â of, Â the Â spiritual Â life Â I Â lead Â and friendships Â I have, Â of my Â writing Â and teaching, Â of my partnerships and my pushing through and making things happen and still nurturing Â those I love and seeking new knowledge, and then she talked of how Iâ€™m able to produce children and mother them andâ€¦andâ€¦.
She paused, a smile in her voice. â€œYou are a very useful woman,â€ she said to me.
What her words have been whispering all week finally sunk in. Not exactly Â a sexy way to think Â of oneâ€™s Â self when one Â would Â definitely like a little more attention in that department, but still hitting close to home.
I marked off only about 750 things on my to-do list for today, but Iâ€™ll go easy on myself, I guess. I am, after all, a useful woman.