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  • Writer's pictureJose Arrieta

Emancipate Yourself From Mental [Load] Slavery

Today, I went to three supermarkets. Got the fruit and tea my wife wanted. Took initiative and took the trash to the recycling center. Went and bought extra supplies and organized our home a minuscule amount. I had a car for a day, it was the least I could do. Tomorrow I will clean our home so that when my wife comes from her weekend off all is great!

But you know what, I could not hold my fingers from writing to my wife and telling her about it. Hey Honey, I took some of your mental load out of your shoulders! Ain't I a good boy!

It is pathetic. Not 24 hours go by and I need to write to her that I took iniative for something at home. Worse still, I feel proud now of not writing her. My whole body cries to tell her how a good boy I am.

Emancipation has two meanings. Both involve the setting free of one person from the control of another. Children and slaves from parents and slaveholders. But the same is true of my actions. I am pathetically unemancipated.

I am not alone. I am the last in long line of unemancipated men in my family. I grew up sorrounded by unancipated men. I love sorrounded by men who cannot handle their households. And at most provide some extra money at the end of the month to pay a misserly contribution to their emotional and organizational lackings.

I grew up thinking that this was enough. That as long as I earn more then that should be alright. But thanks to God I became an Atheist and thanks to having been raised with a normal heart, I became a feminist. I fell in love with a feminist. I learned how being a grown child at home plunders my home, her, and our happiness. I learned that I need to emancipate myself.

The task is trivial but my incompetence is brutal. I stumble and fail at astonishing rates. Even now, I write a post to publicly shame myself on my inability of taking a little of the mental load of our household. How can I cannot just be like a woman and have the courage to handle my life!

For months I keep saying that I am an man and therefore a coward. Some people find this fact funny. Men find it wrong. But facts are facts. Show me a a cis gender man and you show me a person who did not have to fight as much as anyone other demographic to get where they are. I know from experience. Women break ceilings, queer people closets, and laws to live life's true to themselves. Compared to them, I am a coward.

That is not true. I was a coward. I am a recovering coward now. I know empathy, I can see care work when it's done. I can see the value of housework. I do care work also, even if less often than I should. I am trying to improve. But I am miles away from emancipation.

But crying and pitying myself does not help anyone. In this journey the travel is not important. Reaching the destination is what matters. I do not want to write the second version of this post in a year or a decade from now. I want to be an equal partner to my wife. And I will.

PS: This comic book by Emma goes a long way to explain the million little ways in which grown men ask their life partners to be their mom, to handle the complexities of life and make them happy. #fuckthatnoise

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