Friday, August 01, 2008


It's very strange to be done. The euphoria hasn't hit; as always, after a period of exams and great stress, when it's over I merely feel relief. Bruised, battered, but relieved. It's strange to think you get your life back, just like that - no exit interviews or preparation for post-traumatic stress. They just let you loose.

I'm not complaining. I'm planning books to read for the hols, swimming cossie purchase, catching up on Doctor Who, that sort of thing. Today we're off to the Botanical Gardens, which should be glorious - it's the kind of sunny, scorching day which I've only experience outside while heading to get lunch and briefly letting myself bake out there.

You enjoy the stupid things you would normally loathe and dread. Like doing handwashing, as I did this morning. And then it hit me - my maternal grandmother did this every week for 26 years as her four children got muddy and sweated and dirtied their clothes and sheets and everything in between. All by hand. It's playing on my mind a lot as I digest A Room of One's Own, which I finally read. And loved, obviously. I normally do read only detective novels in times of high stress, just as I watch shows - Bones, CSI, Law & Order - of that ilk, obsessively, when stressed. However, I had ordered the book from the library (honestly, it's like Netflix for books and is GLORIOUS - I love the NYPL), it arrived, and I decided that now was indeed the perfect time to read it. Its original purpose was to remind me of why women need money, and independence - and so remind me that I need to pass the Bar for the sake of equality in my relationship, if nothing else.

It did much more than that, however. One of Woolf's observations that struck me, that I keep coming back to, was the recognition of women's limited experience; that Jane Austen couldn't leave her house without an escort, that what women knew was so inherently domestic because they were constrained there. And millions of women lived like that, without remark or record. Like my grandmothers, who each raised four children and worked their entire lives. It gave me a kick up the backside, therefore, to realise that I was enjoying the break from the mental stuff to do the handwashing, and think just how different my life is from theirs. So really, I shouldn't be that pleased with myself. On the other hand, recently I've been such a mess that showering is an achievement, so maybe I should give myself a little bit of a break. And stop being so flaming earnest.

1 comment:

Greg K. said...

Congrats on being done!

That MBE sure did suck