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Friday, 21 July 2017

Incubating life


Incubating life

Having returned from a three week painting holiday, I had a small hill of washing that needed ironing. The magnitude of the task was enough to render me defeated. After all, I had seen the men in my life hire earth moving equipment to move mounds of soil outside the house, that were comparable in size! Yet, my tenacious attitude would not allow me to admit defeat and I took to the task with vigour. Those who heard me mumbling under my breath, followed by heavy sighs, and looks of desperation, may have misinterpreted my vigour for loathing, but I can assure you that a lot of energy went into the emotion, whichever version you prefer to believe.
To make the task pass less painfully, I switched the telly on and hopped through a bouquet of entertainment that neither reminded me of a bunch of lovely flowers, nor convinced me that the term entertainment served the purpose. Yet, I managed to find a movie I would not mind watching a second time and returned to the ironing. I should explain that I had set up the ironing board in the middle of the lounge to make the chore as entertaining as it could possibly be.
My movie of choice was Eat, Pray, Love. This inevitably led to me shouting life coaching advice to Julia Roberts at a pitch reminiscent of South Africans watching the 1995 World Cup Rugby game. I ate my way through Italy with her, scolded her all the while she was praying to the wrong god, and completely missed the plot when she finally found love.
This was because a mobile phone had forced its interference upon my perfectly planned day. My mom answered the phone, and utterly oblivious to the fact that I was watching a movie, seated herself in the lounge to have a conversation that lasted almost the whole of the third chapter of the movie.
By this time, I had inundated Julia with so much life-altering advice that it hardly seemed to matter if I followed her to the end of her quest. She would be just fine if she heeded only half of the things I told her. Instead, I unashamedly eavesdropped on the conversation my mom was having. Now, this was entertaining! Have you ever listened to two women engrossed in a conversation? Even if you can only hear one side of the conversation, it promises to be good. It is like a really good trailer to a movie. The exclamations range between surprise, joy, unbelief, shock, horror, back to joy, escalating to ecstasy, dropping to sympathy, and coming full circle back to surprise. By the time the call ended, I was literally burning with curiosity. Who was it that called? What did they say? What news was there to share? Was it war, divorce, an epidemic, did someone die? I had to know!
Inevitably, the answer would be something mundane. Surprise at the identity of the caller. After all, it was mere days since the last time they spoke. Joy at being reunited, if only over the phone. Unbelief at how hot the temperatures had become this summer. Shock that predictions indicated that temperatures could rise even higher. Horror, to think that the schools expected the much-adored grandchildren to be out in this kind of weather. Joy, that at least the mothers took great care in treating their skins with sun block before they left the house. Ecstasy over the fact that someone, who they could not recall right now, were going to have another baby. Sympathy with the fact that she would have to start the pyjama drill all over again at her age. Surprise at where the time had gone while they were chatting over the phone.
The conversation trailer was much better than the actual conversation. Much like many a movie I had made a point of seeing, after having watched the trailer. The whole day’s events left me perplexed about the psyche of the female of the species. Why did we take things so much to heart? We seemed to feel deeper than the males who appeared to have the ability to simply shrug life off. It was as if we had to inhale the emotions first, taste it with our inward parts, pass it from one organ to the next, and even incubate it, before we were ready to let it go.
Just then, Julia was ready to sail off into the sunset with her Don Juan, I had reached the bottom of the mound of clothes, and some wonderful smells were emerging from the kitchen. So, I did what the men do. I shrugged all of these deep concerns off and hastened to kitchen, where I ate, prayed and loved with my family.
Us women, we incubate life, for life is born from our bodies. We take life seriously, but we are resilient that way. There is no need to avoid our emotions. We face them and deal with them, because we can. So next time you hear a woman’s exclamations over a mundane life, remember that women value all life, be it mundane, or not, for we are the ones who incubated it.

An original essay by Miekie (Marietjie Uys).'n Oorspronklike essay deur Miekie (Marietjie Uys).

Marietjie Uys (Miekie) is a published author. You can buy my books here:
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