We seem to slip so easily into the traditional gender roles of breadwinner and housekeeper. So many men still earn more than women. And even if they don’t so often the woman in a relationship still takes on the brunt of the housework and childcare.
There are articles about it, but I’m seeing it in the people around me. “I’m doing the cooking, cleaning and shopping” several women friends have told me. Some are also homeschooling and working during the coronavirus lockdown too. Others have lost their work.
I don’t know which is worse. To have to work on top of it all or to lose that work that for some many women I know is an important part of their identity.
When something like the coronavirus invades our lives, we do what we have to and are grateful that we and the people we love are healthy. But it’s as if so many women I know have taken a step back in time falling away from themselves and the things that fulfill them into a time when women were dependent on men for certain kinds of security.
We’ve experienced this before. Throughout history women have rocked back and forth between dependence and independence to greater or lesser degrees.
From what I can see, each time we come back stronger. Evolution is a slow process that I trust. But it’s not so easy when you’re one the other side of it.
I stopped at the old house on the corner. As much as I wanted to buy a few of the perennials they were selling, I also wanted to meet our new neighbors.
We talked for a while, I bought some plants then, later Jon and I went back. He wanted to meet them too. We stood outside the house talking. It seemed the most natural thing in the world, but something we wouldn’t have done just a week ago.
When I think of it now, it almost seems like it was foreshadowing the Gradual Opening that is happening where we live. The governor just announced yesterday that Washington County, our county, would begin gradually opening up.
And that’s when I started this entry on my Corona Kimono. I didn’t get to finish the background last night so I did it this morning.
This is the first thread drawing I made entirely on the front of the Kimono. You can see it in the photo below.
Jon got off the phone with Sue Silverstein, the teacher from Bishop Maginn he works with to help the students who go there. He told me about one of the students that I met when I visited the school with him, who is quarantined in her home with her whole family.
They all have the coronavirus. And they, like so many of the families that Sue knows, have run out of food.
Every week I send Sue two or three envelopes with Price Chopper gift cards that people have donated. She then distributes them to the families who need them most.
This got me thinking of all the money the government has given to big corporations yet there are so many people all over the county without food. And how minorities and people without money are disproportionately dying from the coronavirus.
It’s that story of the rich and poor that never seems to change.
So far The Army of Good has contributed over $12,000 to help feed families who are hungry. Some people donate large amounts of money and some as small as $5. It all helps. And this is the beauty, the other side of that very well known story.
I don’t watch a lot of news, but I try to get the headlines every day and listen to Governor Cuomo’s daily press briefing. Not only do I want to know what is going on regarding the coronavirus, but I also get visuals for my Corona Kimono.
For some time I’ve been hearing the stories about how dairy farmers in Upstate New York were dumping their milk because they couldn’t get it processed. And in so many places food pantries are running out of food.
Today Cuomo talked about a program that the state began that buys the milk and food made from the milk that was being dumped to help stock the foodbanks downstate.
Now that we know for sure (one of the few things we do seem to know) that face masks are becoming a regular part of life, I decided to do a drawing for my Corona Kimono with a face wearing a mask.
I wound up putting it next to the first thread drawing I did on the Kimono from April 6th. Some of the words on that one was ” a low menacing hum”. Today so many states are talking of partial openings that I chose those words to go with the mask.
I also wrote the word Plateau on the Kimono today. As in the virus hitting its plateau.
I finished the drawing I began yesterday for my Corona Kimono. I see now I forgot to put a daffodil in it, but I do see a space to the right of Kitty, just above the zero in twenty where it would fit nicely.
I was thinking of my friends, the people I now only see on my computer screen or hear on my phone. I was thinking of the Plexi dividers between me and Wendy at the post office, between me and Kathleen at the Co-op.
That made me think of paper dolls. How they’re separate but connected.
The paper dolls I drew on my Corona Kimono are reaching out to each other but not actually touching.
I saw the film short over 20 years ago, it was animated and only lasted minutes, but I still think of it.
There was a long flat object (which reminded me of a float in a lake) floating in a gray space. On it were about five tall thin men in gray overcoats. They kept running back and forth trying to keep the object they were standing on from tipping over.
I thought of that film short today as I was stitching my thread drawing for my Corona Kimono.