Today I brought dishonor and shame to generations of Haitian women – at least the ones in my family. I maligned the good name and character of those who lived long ago and those who live today. I insulted my great-grandmother and the great-grands before her, my grandmother, my aunts, my mother and my older sister (though she’s older by just a couple of years). I disrespected all of my female relatives who pride themselves on caring for their men, their families and their homes.
What’s worst? I don’t care. That’s right. I don’t. I’m free of caring. I’ve agonized over taking this step for the last two years. Vacillating between the stress it would reduce on the one hand and the stress it would cause on the other. Today I decided I can handle the anxiety of not feeling like a loving and caring wife, a nurturer, a potential mother. If it means getting back a few extra hours of precious time, I can forfeit the title of “Proper Haitian Woman”. Not that I was ever really in the running. You can’t be crowned Ms. America without the basics of beauty, talent and poise. And you can’t be crowned Ms. Proper Haitian Woman without the most basic of basics: knowing how to cook a delicious meal.
And you lose any chance of the crown when you do what I did today: hire someone to clean your home.
Well, women of my family, there it is. I’ve failed to be the proper Haitian woman you all worked so hard to make me. While you did it – and did it well – when I was growing up, I’d rather not follow in your footsteps. I don’t want to work 10-12 hours and then come home to cook a fresh meal, scrub, mop and dust. It’s honorable, but it’s not the path for me.
Before you complain that I’m wasting money, may I remind you that the value of time can never be measured. Yes, we’ll have to rearrange our budget to fund a once or twice a month cleaning, but it’s worth it. I am your granddaughter, daughter, sister, and niece. I know how to make a few dollars go a long way. Bring on a week of eating plain spaghetti if it means D and I can spend quality, stress-free time with one another on the weekends. Time we don’t have on weekdays because of our work schedules.
So, family, here’s my crooked ruler. Use it to measure me so I won’t fall so short. Not that I care. Well…maybe a little.