A biz buddy of mine is organizing a free, low-tech summit called “The New Normal.” (More details below in the PS.)
Anyway, she asked for volunteers to share presentations on how we’re “surviving this thing as a self-employed mom.”
I texted her back, “My topic—working title—would be ‘how to continue to assert your personhood separate from your kids when you’re suddenly with your kids all the time’. Let me know if that’s too esoteric.”
Nope, she said. “Not too esoteric. So important.”
Oh, that’s good, I thought. Now… to get busy on devising the answer.
I’ve had ups and downs, but overall life has gotten better, happier, and more successful as I’ve gotten older.
I am grateful for it.
I have often wondered, “What will happen the next time I fall on hard times? What will happen when a disaster comes? Will I care about the same stuff I care about now? What will I need to survive?”
So there’s this guy called Maslow who has a theory about all that.
But, my good friend Margo pointed out to me that Maslow’s hierarchy has a lot of holes.
As in… if Maslow is right about the hierarchy of needs, then why is it that when my biz buddy asked for topics related to “How to SURVIVE our new normal,” the first thing I thought of was,
“How do I continue to maintain my personhood?”
According to Maslow, I should be on
“How to eat emergency Go-Pack canned food in front of my children without crying because I never thought in a million years I’d actually have to eat some whack-ass Go-Pack canned food?”
Or… “How to wipe my ass when I run out of toilet paper?” (That’d be a short presentation because the answer is: use a clean, wet washcloth. Please stop hoarding toilet paper.)
But instead I thought, “How do I continue to maintain my personhood” first.
Does that even matter?
What does “mattering” even mean right now?
A few weeks ago, my 80-year-old mother read a poem by Miklós Radnóti at a “Jewish Poets of the Holocaust” reading.
Radnóti was a Hungarian poet who in 1944 was forced to march hundreds of miles from a labor camp in Bor (now in Serbia) back to Hungary. It was the same march her father—my grandfather—was on. My grandfather survived. Radnóti did not.
According to my mom (and to this article) Radnóti wrote poems while on the march. They were found with his corpse.
I guess Radnóti never met Maslow.
I’m not comparing the COVID-19 situation to a forced death march.
I guess what I’m saying is… this is a huge hardship.
A lot of things that matter are on pause.
But the ideas and beliefs that matter to you most don’t ever have to go on pause.
My belief that when womxn give ourselves permission to claim a platform, speak a message, and be heard, we are dismantling the patriarchy is not on pause.
My belief that writing is one of the most accessible ways we have to claim a platform, speak our message, and be heard is not on pause.
That thing that people need to know that only you can say: keep saying the thing.
Keep saying the thing.
PS: Join this Facebook group to get access to that “New Normal Summit.” It’s free and there’ll be no selling. Just presentations from over a dozen self-employed moms about how we’re surviving this thing. Find out what answer I devise. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯