Browsing Category: Rambling

This above all: To thine own self be true

punk shakespeare

I like to think that I’m generally pretty true to myself. It’s taken me a long time to get to a place in my life where I can be open and confident about all facets of my personality, where I don’t have to hide who I am. I proudly declare my interests, my irritations and those causes for which I’m willing to stand. I suppose that’s one of my proudest achievements as an adult – I feel  like I know myself and I am not afraid to be my own person.

That is, until this new phase of my life started. I don’t like to pigeon hole myself as a general rule, but there are certain identities that I accept and have embraced. Things like geek, gamer, woman, journalist, blogger, food pornographer. Whatever the case may be, I’m happy with the things I do and how I’ve chosen to define myself. Continue Reading

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Happy? Who’s happy?

There was a running joke in my family for years. You see, my parents didn’t get along well with their parents, and the acrimonious relationship led to some rather awful comments over the years. Now, I’m not entirely sure what the context was or even whose parents said it, but all I know is that at some point my parents were arguing that they just wanted to do something and be happy together, to which one of their fathers said, “Happy? Who’s happy? You think your mother’s happy?”

It’s one of those awful quotes that made us laugh for far too many years as we wondered how anyone could be so blatantly and proudly unhappy. It’s been a joke we whip out whenever one of us is saying how something might make us unhappy, or how all we want is to be happy about something. Continue Reading

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Feelings, migraines and hormones

Myprodol

I had a horrible migraine today. It still isn’t totally gone, but I’m now able to see out of both eyes and function to some degree. I’ve had migraines for my entire adult life, thanks to hormonal fluctuations. Some women are lucky enough to stop having migraines during pregnancy – I am not one of them. Instead, I am now afflicted with migraines without the support of my trusty narcotic pain killers. It’s not fun and drives home that awful pregnant feeling that my body isn’t totally mine at the moment. I’m sharing it, and it’s not always easy. But it will be worth it.

Meanwhile, I’m feeling a bit more emotional than usual. Not all the time, not to the point where I’m crying over putting parmesan on my pasta or something, but it does feel like my emotions are magnified at the moment. All of them – the ones that make me feel like I’m madly in love with my husband, as well as the ones that make me irritated with coworkers or the ones that make me feel like I have to fight the world.

There’s a part of me that likes to dismiss these feelings. They aren’t ME – I’m the levelheaded geeky girl who can think logically and handle situations “like a normal person”. Whatever that’s supposed to mean.

But then, I remember many years ago, when I was a depressed teenager in therapy, my shrink pointed out that PMS and other hormonal changes didn’t create unreal emotions. I was actually angry/sad/frustrated, but those feelings that were normally quite manageable simply became amplified when hormones were involved. I suppose the same is true of pregnancy hormones – they aren’t creating feelings, but amplifying emotions that are already in existence.

Right now, I want to fire up my console and play games for seven hours straight, I want to block out the world around me and delve into the joy of gaming. I want to read my awesome book. I want to distract myself from the fact that I am feeling such big things all at once. But that’s sort of not the point.

I suppose, like my lack of codeine for migraines, it’s a time in my life to just experience what I’m going through. The good, and the bad. I’m going to try and focus on the feelings that make me feel good, though. I’m excited to spend time with my husband tonight, playing games and being silly. I’m happy to have my gorgeous cats to cuddle with as it gets cold once the sun goes down. And I’m going to put off all the other stuff until tomorrow. Maybe by then my migraine, and oversized emotions, will have subsided.

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How much equality is there in raising a child? A Women’s Day ramble

burning-bra Yesterday was Women’s Day in South Africa, which means today is our day off from work. I often laugh at the public holidays in South Africa, but I sort of like Women’s Day. Okay, I hate all the marketing that goes along with it, and the fact that one day has become an entire month, but it’s nice to see women celebrated. There is so much that women do, that women are expected to do, and even the most staunch feminists among us fall into that trap. And I can feel myself doing it.

Being pregnant has made me think about these things a lot more. How will I raise my son/daughter? How will I teach him/her about gender, about how to exist in society, about how to be his or her own person and not cave to social norms? I am very happy to have a husband who appreciates me, who treats me with respect, who loves me completely and is totally supportive of all my endeavors. However, I wonder if even he will fall into the same gender traps.

Sure, I know that he will be an active part of our kid’s life. He will change diapers, watch the baby so I can go for a long shower or bath, or maybe even take care of things to give me a night off.  But I wonder what the balance will be. I plan on breast feeding and expressing so that he can also help with feeding, but I wonder what the proportion will be of boob and bottle. I am fairly confident that he will watch the munchkin so I can attend events or have a “night off”, but how many nights off will he have in a week? It’s not me being resentful of him or questioning priorities. It just seems to me that even the most empowered women I know seem to do more of the childcare than their husbands.

So, how much equality is there, really? I work from home, which means that in theory I should be able to look after the little one and still continue working. But how will that actually work – I already see my work not taken as seriously as his because I can do mine in slippers and pajamas. Will that only get worse once a baby is in the picture? Will it also mean that I can do nighttime feedings alone because “at least I’m at home all day”? The assumptions just seem to spiral out in my head and get me rather nervous.

Plus there’s that big question – what sort of feminist would I be if I DID take on the lion’s share of raising the child? What sort of feminist would I be if I did sacrifice more of my career to raise this child than my husband will? Is this yet another reason that I’m a bad feminist, or is it just the reality of life that someone needs to make time to take care of a baby and it’s simply more cost effective for it to be me? Also, supposedly mothers “just know” what their babies need – food, rest, a nappy change – so won’t it also be “easier” for me to just do it, even if that flies in the face of gender equality?

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Is this all worth it? A first time pregnant fear

someecard pregnancy

I am growing a human. As I type this, there is a tiny creature inside me, leeching off of my energy, my nutrients, my wellbeing. No, I haven’t felt miserable throughout my pregnancy; for the most part I’ve been able to carry on doing things that I enjoy, except for eating dinner. But I do occasionally suffer from crazy mood swings, and when my awful but normal migraines come, I’m not allowed to take my awesome narcotic painkillers to make them go away. It’s tough but not horrible and I’m getting through. I just have this niggling worry.

Is this all worthwhile? People say parenthood is like nothing else you can experience in life, that motherhood is amazing and that the love I will feel for the little thing growing inside me simply doesn’t compare to any other kind of love. I’ve felt it in small moments – seeing the little legs kicking on the ultrasound, or that moment when I realized that one day a little human is going to call me mommy. But then those moments pass and I just feel gassy and queasy and not quite myself.

I keep telling myself that it will all be worthwhile, that the love I will feel when little Harley or Mason is born will make me forget all about this time. But then I realize that the first few months also might not be much fun when he/she is just crying and pooing the whole time. Oh, and sucking on my boob. I will be sleep deprived and need to find the ideal position for breast feeding while still gaming. It’s going to be tough and I then start to wonder why I signed up for this.

But then I remember all the fun things I want to do with this tiny life that’s growing inside me. I can’t wait to give the little baby a bath and play with those itty bitty feet. I can’t wait to read him or her all my favorite bedtime stories, and a chapter each night of the Odyssey or other classic mythology. I am so excited to watch this little person who is part me and part Dean grow up into a real person – someone who will tell me I’m an idiot for not liking The Hobbit, or crazy for loving Doctor Who the way that I do. Someone who will be excited for the new game release, who I can buy little geeky dolls for over the holidays. I am so excited to have such fun experiences with the tiny life growing inside me, and I have to keep reminding myself that it’s going to be a fun adventure. Sure, there might be exhaustion and discomfort in my future, but that’s not the only thing. There will be new life and a tiny person who will be a part of this world only because Dean and I loved each other and wanted to take this step.

Geez, I just hope this isn’t a giant conspiracy from all the procreators out there. I hope the good outweighs the bad, because at the moment, I’m only have the icky experiences and I could really use some incredible ones.

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