The Company of Other Women

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I remember sitting on a balcony in Cape Town back in 2006, overhearing a conversation between two women. The one mused, with all the sage wisdom of a 21-year old, “I get on way better with guys than with girls.” And the other – an ancient gal on the cusp of 30 – gave a brusque reply that resonated with me: “Yah, most women do. It’s a competition thing.”

It made me think, “Oh, so it’s not just me.” And for a long time that was how I thought about friendships with other women. I took it for granted that girls just didn’t really like each other.

My friends were mostly guys, and at the time I thought it was because I was a tomboy; one of the boys, up for whatever and not hung up on being ladylike. If I’m horribly honest with myself though, I think it was more because I was really insecure and I needed the approval of men to make myself feel good. I was a slutty drunk, I was usually stoned and I had a gross streak of always wanting to be with other people’s boyfriends.

Understandably I didn’t have a group of girlfriends, I had one or two individual friends who were left-field enough to put up with me.

Why am I telling you all this?

Well, maybe it’s just my stage of life, but I’ve been reflecting a lot recently. It took me a long time to grow up and out of my bad habits, and having a hubby and a baby have been central to that process. So now, when I look back with the clarity and perspective of time I see how insecure I was, and I’m amazed at how I got through life without the company of other women.

Today my female friends are rocks. They are blessings. Their wisdom and companionship means so much to me – I’d be seriously lost without it. I think the realisation really started hitting home when I fell pregnant and, since then, the truth of it has become a major encouragement in my life.

I discovered that I had something in common with other women, something that I really didn’t have with men. I guess that many people just grow up with an innate sense of their self worth, and have healthy friendships from the get-go. But for me, I think I finally started to step into the confidence I have now when hubby hit a home run.

When I hang out with my ladies, there’s no competition. There’s just understanding. There’s peace in our camaraderie, and a total acceptance of the chaos that comes with being a mother.

Nowadays, the company of other women is something I look forward to; something I cherish. I love this season of my life, and the ruckus it brings. I love that I survived my 20s and I love that there’s such hope in new starts and new life.

Booyah.

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10 Things

I have actual guilt feelings about not writing anything sooner.

My hub’s been away since the end of October, and I was expecting to write the crap out of my feelings, but mostly I’ve been hiding on the couch after work, watching Downton Abbey*.

The truth is that I’ve been processing the pregnancy thing, and the logistics of childbirth. That last post took it out of me.

Recently though, I’ve managed to come to terms with the inevitable, thanks to the awesome words of moms all around me. It’s been overwhelming to share my fears, and be met with such support and wisdom.

As a result, at 34 weeks, I’ve progressed from worrying about labour pains to binge researching ways of avoiding cracked nipples.

Also, I’ve managed to compile a list of things that I can’t wait to enjoy again:

1: Beer – Those non-alcoholic impostors can go sit in syrup. I want a tall fresh frosty draught. Maybe two.

2: Mouldy cheese – It’s hard to avoid Gorgonzola or Roquerfort when dining out in Cape Town. Seriously, we live in Foodie Central and there are so many fancy freaking burgers I have not been able to devour.

3: Sushi – Cooked prawn and veg substitutes can only tide one over for so long.

4: Denims – It’s been months since I wore a pair of jeans. The mere thought of anything with a waistband makes me twitch like a junkie, and I WILL NOT go the route of the maternity jean pant.

5: Sleeping through the night – Rumour has it that in about three years I’ll enjoy this particular boon once more – I guess until then I’ll have to settle for not having to stumble to the loo every time I finally get comfortable.

6: Finally getting comfortable.

7: An aerial view of my southern hemisphere – I know it exists, but I can’t interact with it.

8: Wearing my high tops – Picture a praying mantis trying to ride a tricycle and you have a pretty good idea of what I look like putting on lace-ups.

9: Gravity – While I know that this is what makes life on our planet liveable, it’s really pissing me off at the mo’. Right now, anything that falls on the floor is dead to me. I guess the upside is that I’ve become pretty damn adept at catching things with my feet – a skill I would have killed for when I was at college and all about those hacky sack boys.

10: My brain – Just last night I left my car unlocked, on a dodgy street in Plumstead, for two hours, WITH THE KEYS IN THE IGNITION.

I think that all in all, the third trimester has given me a newfound respect for the humble robot mech. When you see them on the big screen, you’re all about the mech operator – uhh yeaaah boooi. But I know – and so do all the preggies and moms out there – that when you have a melon-sized critter cavorting in your torso, you call very few of the shots.

My gut-commander isn’t that bad though. Its demands are reasonable. Right now for example, it needs a grilled cheese sandwich.

I’m powerless… to… resist…

*that storyline kills off characters like it’s related to George R R Martin.