I’m lucky enough to have grown up with a mom for a writer. I remember many years ago, talking to her about writer’s block and the horror of staring at a blank page/screen. How can it be that someone so creative, smart and/or interesting could be without any words? Her belief at the time was that it wasn’t that the person didn’t know what to say, but that they weren’t giving themselves permission to write what they were really thinking.
I don’t believe in censorship, although we all censor what we might choose to say on a regular basis. We do this to be diplomatic or tactful, to fit into societal norms, to keep people around us happy or a myriad other reasons. It’s normal and accepted and even encouraged. We’re supposed to be aware of our words and actions and the impact that they might have on others. This week has been filled with biting my tongue and not saying the things I’m thinking because I’m not supposed to say them. I suppose that’s why it’s been so hard to write this post today – I spent longer than I care to admit staring at the screen before I could get myself to start writing these words. So here are just a couple things I probably shouldn’t say.
It’s been odd lately how I don’t even realize that I’m having a particularly hormonal day until I start to cry over stuff that would never make me cry normally. Today’s realization came while watching the hilarious and thought provoking Last Week Tonight with John Oliver. I watch his videos every week and always adore them. This week’s one was as brilliant and hilarious as always, but it ended up making me cry.
I knew that I was feeling a bit sensitive today, but the hormones are really driving me nuts lately. I seem to cry for no reason, or over stupid crap. A couple weeks ago, I cried because I couldn’t find my absurdly gross and processed Kraft Mac N Cheese in the Spar that usually imports them. That’s right, I phoned Dean from the shops nearly in tears because I’d gone down every aisle and couldn’t get the mac n cheese that I wanted. I feel like the very definition of a pregnant woman/crazy person. And yet, there is some element of truth that is revealed when hormones are raging.
It was a bit of a difficult weekend for me. I had fun and it wasn’t something on my mind the whole time, but there was some drama at work. The joy of my work being on the internet is that the whole world can see it. Over on lazygamer.net, I wrote a review of NBA 2K16. It’s a really great game when you get to experience the cool basketball action, but it’s also primarily locked behind online servers, so if the severs are down, the gameplay experience is seriously less than optimal. I wrote about the good and the bad in my review, the way I have for countless games, but the response I got was filled with quite a lot of vitriol. I’m used to this, and have come to expect it, but it affected me in a new way this time.
I often joke with the guys at work about being the only woman, about how my opinions are automatically seen as less valid because I have a vagina. The reality is that when people agree with me, they generally don’t even notice my gender. When they disagree, the easiest thing to do is blame the fact that I’m just an idiot woman who shouldn’t be writing game reviews. We laugh at the comments like that, and often joke about feeding off the hate. But now I’m bringing a little girl into the world, and even if she is the smartest person alive, she will be criticized for what she thinks because she’s a woman.
Yesterday was heritage day in South Africa. It’s basically used an excuse to braai (grill/BBQ) because that’s the only thing that everyone in South Africa seems to share as common heritage. Some people embrace their individual heritages, with Afrkaans people delighting in an excuse to eat Melktart or English people… um, colonizing all the room in the shopping centers? I’m not 100% sure, but basically it’s one of those public holidays here that everyone happily takes advantage of as an excuse to make fire, hang out with friends/family and generally enjoy a day off.
People have been asking me and Dean about how we will raise Harley, though. I mean, she’ll grow up here in South Africa, so she’ll probably have a South African accent with the exception of the odd words that she only really hears from me. But heritage is about more than an accent, it’s about knowing where you come from. Of course, with international parents, that’s a bit more complicated.
This morning, I am feeling particularly happy and excited about the baby growing inside me. I love her already, and she hasn’t even entered this world yet. She is growing inside my body, but also seems to be growing in the size she takes up in my head each day. There are still moments when I stop thinking about being pregnant, about what’s going on inside my body, but then there are the reminders that make me think about her again. Usually, that’s a good and exciting thing, but last night was different.