via my sister on Twitter.
via my sister on Twitter.
At school it’s all so straightforward: you and your peers are moving together en masse towards adulthood with your life events punctuated primarily by exams. In your 20s, while some get married and others start work, a large number of you go to University – either way, you’re embarking upon THE REST OF YOUR LIFE*
(Along the way, you find out that it can be more of a stumble through the undergrowth but if you’re lucky you emerge scarred but not fatally so, and perhaps a bit more wise about the people and things that might cause you harm)
And then come the spates of weddings. Next, the rash of babies. It’s a very predictable course, but for some reason I’m a bit staggered: I have no less than five friends expecting this year and there at least four more that I’d wager are going to send me a text or email over the course of the year with the happy news that they are pregnant, to which my first thought is always, if I’m honest: “Wow, you’ve been busy!” followed swiftly by “Eww..didn’t want to go there” and “Oh my goodness a little you!”
At first, I guess I took the “miracle of life” for granted, but with some of my closest friends falling pregnant this year, watching them grow, both in size and knowledge, has been nothing short of amazing. I feel at once awed and humbled by the female body. Hearing all the detail about baby growth and development I find my thoughts immediately shifting to women in less fortunate circumstances, who bring their babies to term and into this world in poverty or instability, sometimes by themselves. I think of the statistics and how despite medical advances, pregnancy and childbirth is still a dangerous act that’s miraculous and grounded, visceral and wonderful, ancient and timeless all at the same time.
And yet, I still don’t feel it, that supposed tick-tock of the biological clock. I marvel at, and yet have no desire to enter the sisterhood of the motherhood, that secret, incredibly intimate but powerfully symbolic space. When I was 29, I fretted that perhaps I had taken a wrong turn somewhere in the undergrowth and emerged scratched and staggering into the wrong clearing while everyone else was getting married, buying houses and having babies in the next clearing over.
I hope I will one day; but right now I have filled my house with words, music and flowers. I love and am loved. I tend my garden. I explore my clearing.
*and for some reason, it is always presented as this neat and tidy finite thing, when in fact it’s a bit of a plan, a bit of a muddle and a lot of pretending you’re all grown up when you actually still find a video of cat pushing another one down the stairs utterly hilarious.
All things considered, I’ve had a good week. I’m officially back on the wagon, having rebooted my New Year’s Health and Exercise resolutions for the third time (yes, in February) and apart from a recession-based midweek meltdown (which mainly involved wailing “Where is my money going?” while forlornly clutching my bike helmet – lost my bike before Xmas, can’t afford to replace it, yadda yadda) – apart from that, I was in good spirits.
But the news cycle? C.R.A.Z.Y.
One. The Pope resigned.
Two. The Vatican was struck by lightning.
Three. A meteorite over Russia injured hundreds of people.
Four. North Korea decided to do some nuclear sabre-rattling.
Five. Reeva Steenkamp was allegedly murdered by her boyfriend, Paralympian Oscar Pistorius.
Marina Hyde’s article on her treatment in the Sun newspaper, which put a picture of her in a bikini on its front page, is excellent.
I’ve also been following the hashtag #HerNameWasReevaSteenkamp on twitter, which makes the point that Reeva was more than just Oscar’s “girlfriend” or “lover” or just a “pretty blonde” eg:
Reeva’s story is particularly poignant given that yesterday was not only Valentine’s Day, but a day of action for the One Billion Rising campaign, protesting violence against women and girls worldwide.
And I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year: “Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown.”
And he replied:
“Go out into the darkness and put your hand into the Hand of God. That shall be to you better than light and safer than a known way.”
So I went forth, and finding the Hand of God, trod gladly into the night. And He led me towards the hills and the breaking of day in the lone East.
So heart be still:
What need our little life
Our human life to know,
If God hath comprehension?
In all the dizzy strife
Of things both high and low,
God hideth His intention.
God knows. His will
Is best. The stretch of years
Which wind ahead, so dim
To our imperfect vision,
Are clear to God. Our fears
Are premature; In Him,
All time hath full provision.
Then rest: until
God moves to lift the veil
From our impatient eyes,
When, as the sweeter features
Of Life’s stern face we hail,
Fair beyond all surmise
God’s thought around His creatures
Our mind shall fill.
God Knows by Minnie Louise Haskins
Reconstructed Richard III and Lord Farquaad from Shrek. Uncanny.
Jimmy Kainja dissects some of the coverage of Chilembwe Day in Malawi:
1. Is my hairline receding or are my baby hairs just really fragile?
2. If I go down to get a glass of water and I fall, I live alone so technically it could be days before someone comes to find me.
3. My hairline is fine. Totally fine.
4. I should get a cat. Or a puppy. A cat. I’m adopting a cat, like, tomorrow.
5. DID I TURN THE OVEN OFF?
6. Ugh, I’m too warm to figure it out.
7. I am thirsty, though.
8. Nah, not that thirsty.
9. My hairline *is* somewhat damaged, maybe.
10. If I was married, I could have my husband get me the glass of water *and* check on the oven.
11. Repeat: That is not a reason to get married.
12. If I got a cat, maybe I could train it to run for help if I fell down the stairs?
13. Grandma got married at 35, so there’s still time. Needing a glass of water is still not a reason to get married, though.
15. I can’t get a pet, I killed my cactus*. Plus, I’ve been abandoned by a cat before*
16. *yawns* My hairline is fine.
*An unfortunate incident involving boiling water and eggshells.
*A childhood cat who moved into the American Embassy up the road for their imported cat food. (This was in Malawi)