I went to my mother yesterday. She was making dinner while the rest of the family lazed about doing nothing.
‘I feel so stressed,’ I told her, ‘I don’t know why. All my exams are over.’
She carried on stirring the cheese sauce for macaroni cheese (i put chilli flakes in mine. I have an obsession with chilli flakes lately. My brother says I will get stomach ulcers. BUT THEY’RE SO GOOD?!!?!), but I knew she was listening.
‘I feel like everybody expects something from me and I am trying my best to meet everybody’s expectations but it is never enough, and I go to bed feeling guilty that I haven’t done enough, or been enough, and it’s giving me anxiety!”
My mother turned to me, and she was smiling slightly but her eyes were dead serious.
‘Well Lenora, that’s what it feels like to be a woman.’
Her voice was encouraging, supportive, sympathetic, sad.
For the first time in my adult life, I saw my mother as a woman, not just my mother, always getting on with things, always dependable, always listening to what I have to say. That’s way too much expectation for a singular human. But they do it. They all shoulder it up and carry it through life, and the bundle just gets larger and larger.
And that, I think, is simply amazing. The amount of strength one woman can garner. Woman are strong, folks. They are built to carry the weight of the generations on their shoulders.