Mar 8, 2015

Three ordinary women. Three extraordinary women.

On this important day I want to celebrate three women. I am not painting a picture with the big brush. I am aware of demonstrations, speeches and honoring around the world. Very aware. But then there is the little world. The one close to me. So today I want to celebrate Audrey, Josephine and Janette.

I turned acute on Friday. Which was really annoying since the sun was finally out and Audrey and I had planed to once and for all get the one and only major errand done: buy me a new bra. Every woman on this planet who is trapped in a culture wearing bras knows when the old one is well over time, the need for a new one urgent and the resistance against entering a fitting room taking care of this awful business fills you with such anxiety, you have come to the way of no return. You just have to get it done.

The thing was, I wasn’t that bad when we parked the car in downtown Umeå and Audrey helped me out. It happened on the way to the first fitting room. A snap. In my pelvis. Baby steps. “Are you sure this is a good idea?” Audrey says. No it’s not, but a woman has got to do what a woman has got to do. “But we could do it some other day?” No, this is the day, let’s do it.

Audrey’s patience with me in that fitting room... It’s actually kind of blurry to me. 90% focus on the pain, keeping my body standing up, fending shootings off. 10% focus on what I was actually there to do. So it is thanks to my beloved Audrey and a nice lady in the store that I was back at the house later,  exhausted but equipped with not only one bra, but two!

Saturday Josephine came in the morning to get me to the bathroom, and later for breakfast. As she does every morning. Josephine is 23 years old, has two horses, a puppy and a 2,5 year old daughter. Josephine and I share most everything in our lives, and since we see each other every day, we have plenty of occasions to talk. Somehow though, it’s never enough. We are always short of time. And always waiting for that moment when we will have a real good sit down conversation, not just the bits and pieces while she is assisting me with my basic needs.

I was in bad shape yesterday. And the weather! There was this horrible rainstorm so that Josephine couldn’t even take her horses out for exercise. Which was annoying since her little daughter was with grandma over the day, and she was for once off duty. So how to use this day in the best way. “Maria, what do you say, could I come over later for a cup of tea and talk for a while?” Are you kidding me, of course you can!

While the storm eased out Josephine tucked herself and the puppy in under the blanket on my couch. We had our tea. And for hours we told each other what was on our mind. Uninterrupted. No glancing at the watch. Of course we only skimmed the surface on our never ending list of important matters, but those we covered, we covered well. Suddenly it was dinner time and Josephine cocked me her thai chicken dish which she makes for me most very Saturday evening. It was a good day after all.

This morning I woke up in terrible pain. The kind of pain that makes me really scared. Sweat breaking out in fear. Nowhere to hide from it. Josephine helped me with my morning routines. After that, alone with my pain. Then there was a knock on my door. “Hello, it’s Janette, can I come in?” But of course you can!

Janette lives in my village. She is about ten years younger than me and most likely the sweetest person ever. She is also incredibly beautiful. And even taller than I am! Now and then she shows up on an impromptu visit, always bringing something. Today her daughter’s fresh baked very healthy muffins, still warm from the oven.

Janette loves dancing. She knows I do too and she is so sad that I can’t. She wishes for me to rise from my couch, break out from the prison my body has become and just dance. Dance the pain away for ever.  And oh how I wish that too! I love the image, it really feels like that would be a way to heal. But how to get there?

The weekend is over. And so is International Women’s Day. I haven’t been in this much pain since December and it could have been the most terrible weekend. But thanks to Audrey, Josephine and Janette, it wasn’t. Three ordinary women. The extraordinary women.

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