Housework and Feeling Useful

Since I got laid off last year, I have tried to embrace my new position as de facto housekeeper. Mr. Something (aka the Patient One) is off at business school, being responsible and fancy and such, and while he helps out around the house, he’s got his own thing going on. I actually enjoy cooking, baking, and laundry, so I don’t really mind that much. Dishes and tidying are my least favorites, but they get done, for the most part.

One of the most emotionally damaging things about being unemployed is that you don’t feel useful anymore. I don’t really contribute to society at all, in a traditional career sort of way. I hate feeling useless, like a waste of space. I have things to contribute, work to do, and because I don’t have a paying job, it’s sort of hard to do that.

When I cook an awesome meal, or bake a really good cake, or do all the laundry, or clean the kitchen, I feel like I’m helping. I’m helping Mr. Something get through business school without eating fast food every night, and I’m helping myself eat delicious things and live in a nice place. I’m improving my surroundings in a way I can control, and when it comes down to it, control is something you don’t have when you are without a job.

So I take control. I put on (a lot of) Buffy, I swivel the TV so I can see it in the kitchen, and I scrub ’til it shines. I made my own Bisquick the other day. I’ve rediscovered the crock pot. I get a sad amount of satisfaction from vacuuming (and a similar amount of satisfaction from spelling “vacuuming” correctly on the first try). I have an arsenal of delicious recipes that I can make for dinner. I’m proud of these seemingly simple and basic achievements. When you’re trying to come out of a crushing depression that makes you sit and sit and sit and sit, doing stuff feels like you just ran a freaking brain power marathon.

This apartment is not going to trap me. I will make it ours, and it’s going to be great.


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