Friday, May 15

Tribal Life

I realized that since I last wrote a blog post, blogging has really become a "Thing"and it is highly unlikely I will ever get back to having a faithful group of "followers", or better, "people to virtually exchange thoughts with"who wouldn't rather be reading some blond super fashion blogger or the blogging reincarnation of Martin Luther King meets Ghandi meets Malala. Nevertheless, for the past few months I have started to feel the increasing urge to write my thoughts down and perhaps to share them with the world. I am pretty sure there are a billion people out there better trained, infinitively more talented writers and with much better thoughts than I but these thoughts are mine right now and I feel like putting them out there.

The inspiration for this blog post is the concept of shared life. Our time, Western culture, technology at every level, have increasingly isolated us, making us feel more and more independent but, quite frankly, more and more lonely. On a day to day base this actually works to our advantage by making us more productive and efficient. The world has changed, perhaps our makings have changed too but when it comes to pivotal (both "physiological" and "pathological"), key times in our lives, we remain at the core of our being not too far removed from our ancestors, perhaps closer to our prehistorical forefathers than to our robot-alien-fantasy posterity.

My sister is currently pregnant. My "baby" sister, that is. I mean: there are still at my parents' house dozens of pictures of her in frames as a wee infant - and now, she is about to become a mother. FYI, she is no teen-mom, aging a socially acceptable 26 and married. As soon as she found out she was pregnant she demonstrated an unexpected level of maturity like as if she had made an invisible instant shift into adulthood. It is bizarre to me that I menage to remember so vividly things from my childhood yet I struggle to pin down how I was at 26 (which ain't that long ago, y'all!). But my sister, despite being a grown woman at every level (working, married, pregnant, doing the dishes, hosting dinner parties, etc..) has always conserved some sort of child like characteristics to her character yet, with the announcement of pregnancy, it seems that all those were swept aside to make room for Motherhood. I
was pleasantly surprised. But then, out of the blue, over the past few weeks (when the physical changes really started to make themselves apparent and the realization of the baby actually coming soon) something started to drip out: a little scared girl who had no idea on how to face the enormous transformations taking place before her very eyes.I mean: I am a medical doctor, I am older, I have seen this before but, believe me, I would be scared shitless myself. Thinking back to adolescence when I was outraged when at 12 my mother bought me my first "training bra" and handed over in some sort of weird-awkward-solemn-right-of-passage "now that you are a WOMAN" shit - I had never felt more embarrassed or humiliated. That happened in October. Up to the previous summer I had been flanking my lanky "Moogly" from the Jungle Book physique in a one piece (aka only bottoms) and jumping from boat to boat, rock to rock, swinging from trees (literally), playing with the boys (I had no female friends up to the age of 14) and now, out of the blue, my kind and attentive mother had handed me over this beige - pink-blue-yellow polka-dotted piece of equipment I was supposed to put on under my clothes? Horrified. I was horrified. And, ok, I do acknowledge I may have been a tad melodramatic about it. However, if you think about it adolescence (as much of a physiological phenomenon as pregnancy) is a much more lengthy process, ideally designed to allow one the necessary time to process the small and grander changes that are about to occur.
With pregnancy, no matter how well-read, educated, prepared, cool, mind-strong, determined, you are, your brain and body will have the hardest time adjusting to the fast paced changes taking place meanwhile you are still required to being a functioning human being...which leads me to the subject of "what the heck do people find so fascinating in superheroes?" - being "normal" (whatever the hell that means), my friend, that is the powerful stuff.
Anyhow. My sis, bless her heart,  is naturally stressed, struggling to make sense with her mind and anatomy and physiology of what is happening inside of her and in the context of who and what's around her. I am reminded that part of this struggle is a direct result of isolation, the isolation our society has forced onto us. An old Nigerian adage recites "it takes a village to raise a child". True that. It also helps to have "a village", "a community" (whichever sense your cultural context imposes to the word), a family: the old, the younger, the professionals, the wackos, those you admire, those you despise, a well of information, a continuous dialogue of shared experiences (mistakes included!) even to grow a still unborn baby!
Within tribal communities in remote areas of the world in as much as within smaller urban areas it is still possible to find this kind of mentality. It does not matter then if at age 30 you still have never held a baby. Someone will show you - women raising women, by proxy, by example.
One last brief mention to the new up-rising "virtual" communities. There is a lot of comfort (and BS, mind you, to be found) and, like EVERYTHING IN LIFE, they require discernment, contextualization, critical approach.

Ironically I spent the best part of last night browsing the internet for maternity bras. Karma is a bitch.