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The Woes of Womanhood

Bra shopping. Hands down the worst shopping ever. If you don’t like the F word, stop reading. I really don’t feel like filtering my thoughts. Right now, I am angry and despondent, all at the same time. Match that with my hate for shopping and you will begin to understand how I feel.

I am out of proportion. And I know for sure, I am not the only one. I don’t have a big bone structure, I wear a size 12 jean and I weigh 65kg. Not too much if you consider that tomorrow, I will be 50 years old. Yes I know I am slightly overweight; it doesn’t bother me. I am unfit too. You know why? Because I am fkn clumsy. I have been born clumsy. If I try to walk fast, I will end up twisting my ankle. I am that girl that trips over nothing. Sport is not my thing. Never has been, never will be. But when it comes to boobs, oh, I was in the front rows. I got dealt a hefty pair of boobs. Try and find a bra that is COMFORTABLE, AFFORDABLE, and in my size – 36F. I dare you.

“Oh Hilda, you can’t possible wear a F cup! It sure doesn’t look like it! Are you sure?”

Yes. Yes I am. You see I have had this problem for years. My boobs start somewhere under my arms. By the time I have them nicely in the front, instead of them trying to hide in my arm pits, they are a F cup. Since I started wearing a bra, it has been a battle each time I need new ones. I go into a frenzy when I see my bras need replacement. It takes me days to build up to the courage to go shopping. Only to walk out in total dismay, angry at the entire world of lingerie.

Bra Boutique I hear you say? Oh sure! Let’s start at R1500 for one bra. Have you any idea how much yarn I can buy for all of that money? And having only one bra will be a bit of a bummer don’t you think? So we are looking at least R3000 for two bras. Hell no.

The first problem when I ask for a BIG cup, is that the staff immediately assume, I WANT to look like somebody out of a horror movie, wearing the ancient ‘cross your heart’ thing. How the hell am I suppose to look sexy to my husband in something like this? Still, I would buy it if I could get the right size!

This one looks better even if ever so slightly, but still, no size.

Cross my heart. This is me rolling my eyes so badly, I have trouble focussing afterwards. Did I mention I am on the autism spectrum? Did I mention I have serious sensory issues? I cannot stand any clothes that feels hard to the touch, that squeezes and scratches. This bra above? Horrid. Horrid I tell you. So hard, it is disgusting. And no F cup.

Oh did I mention? They only make BIG cups, for BIG people. I shit you not. In most of the lines, the E cup only starts with size 40. So when I see something like this in a shop, only to find out that the F cup is only available in size 40, I want to slap somebody. I just don’t know who. Maybe the idiot who decided that all small built woman, have small boobs, is a male. Send him to me. He needs to be educated.

Now add the following to the problem: My gynaecologist wants to throw a tantrum every time I see her for a check up. I have two sausages under my boobs. Scar tissue from wired bras. Breeding ground for breast cancer she says. Sports bra you shout! NOT. I am yet to find a sports bra that prevents me from looking to Mrs Wobbles when I walk. Oh, and they don’t separate my boobs either, so I have this huge fat sausage. A uni-boob. Think of uni-brow.

I was desperate enough this time, to look at bras for breastfeeding mommies. Really. I makes sense doesn’t it? When you are breastfeeding, your boobs are BIG. So maybe there, I will find a bigger cup for a 36, right? NOT.

The nice looking, lacy, sexy bras are in the front of the store. This wall is reserved for BIG woman. But still, nothing for a small woman, with big boobs. Besides, life is too short to wear a beige bra.

No, I am not yet done with my rant. When I was young, I got so desperate, I went to an underwear sewing course, and for years, I made my own. Unfortunately, all with wires. The technology needed to lift a hefty pair of boobs, and keep them there, isn’t available to the home seamstress. I had an entrepreneur who made bras for me for many years. Unfortunately, the last batch I got from her, were not the quality I was used to. Her business has grown (good for her), and her work is contracted out to various seamstresses. Not the same anymore. So back to square one.

I feel like burning all my bras. Walking around ‘tossel-tieties’ until I die (translation: pompom-boobs). There is only one problem. What if I have to run? You know we live in Africa. Here you never know what to expect. If I run today, they will lock Dries up tomorrow thinking he has beaten me silly. I will have bruised, blue eyes. Guaranteed.

I am now going to sit and crochet while I cool off. The worst part of this morning was the staff member. “Just try this one, or this one”. FFS. I know what I want. And she didn’t have it. Nobody does.

Sunday we will go to a bra boutique. It might seriously compromise my yarn shopping in New Zealand, planned for later this month. It makes me sick just to think about it.

Oh, and don’t get me started on massage beds. I will rant about that another day.

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Family, oh hell the woes of family

You know, my family has been anything but peaceful. I grew up in a very strict household, where every family member was too shit scared to make any mistake. I feared my father like you can’t believe. Why? He never knew I was autistic; the first melt-down was dealt with severely. That hiding stayed with me till this day.

Religion was everything. Church twice on a Sunday, prayer meeting Wednesday, youth meeting Friday, and I never had a choice. I just had to participate. Slacks were regarded as a sin; we only wore dresses below the knee. Hats in church. No make-up. No nail polish. No movies. Sin. Absolute sin all of that.

But was there love? No. From a young age, I had to hear that I was the unplanned child. The one who wasn’t welcome. The one they didn’t want at that age. My siblings married while I was still young; when I hit the tumultuous teenage years, they were living happily married in another province. They didn’t hear what I heard. They didn’t see what I saw. They didn’t feel what I felt. They don’t understand why I am the way I am. Still today, I am just the family scapegoat. Anything that goes wrong, can be blamed on me.

And yet, even thought I knew my mother never wanted me, I craved her love, her acceptance, her appreciation. The only thing I could do better than my siblings, were to knit and crochet. And I became obsessed with it. I had to be the best. I wanted to show her that I was worthy. Worthy of her love. Worthy of her wanting me. I never happened. With each project, I always got the same response: “hmmm, not bad, not what I would have done, but I suppose it will suffice’. As a child, I never knew that was a subtle type of rejection. My soul probably knew, but my mind didn’t. It pushed me to new heights each time. Each time I gritted my teeth and tried harder.

There came a day, when I was knitting something, my mom stood watching me, and she said these words: “the learner has surpassed the teacher; you are now better than me”. I nearly fell off my chair. My heart was pounding. My mouth was dry. My hands were shaking. To her, it was just a passing remark, one she probably didn’t even mean, nor remember. To me however, it was huge. I managed to stay calm, keep a poker face and left the room to cry for a while in the toilet.

My mom lived with my sister for 11 years. In all that time, she complained about my sister and brother and law. This, that, the other, whatever. Always complaining to me, and to my brother. So eventually, she moved to my brother. So she started to complain to me and my sister. My brother this, my sister in law that. Eventually I asked her to move to me. She did and the entire family was upset with me. Apparently I caused an upset in the family through one simple question: “mom do you want to move to us?”. That is all I did. I asked a question.

Two weeks ago, out of the blue, my sister and brother in law came to see us; they wanted her to move back. Only afterwards we realised that the same thing happened. She gossiped about us, to my siblings. What she said, I don’t know. I don’t want to know either.

Today, after another incident, I decided to resign from my family. If I can resign from a crappy job, then I can resign from a crappy family. I have tried for nearly 50 years to fit in, to be worthy, to be accepted, to be understood, to be loved. And I never got it right. So why keep trying. I promised myself that today, was the last day that I spent in tears, because of my family. They never wanted me, so I gave them what they wanted. I withdrew. Completely. Does it feel nice? No. Am I happy today? No. But I will be. And I know in the long run, this is the only way I will remain happy and live a fulfilled life. Blood may be thicker than water, but blood alone won’t keep you alive. You need the water too.

I have water. I have a wonderful husband who will fiercely protect me. I have kids who will jump in the face of danger to protect me. I have soul sisters. They know who they are. They carry me when my legs don’t want to move. They encourage me when I want to give up. They love me for who I am. And they have never made me feel unwelcome. Ever.

I have to forgive. I know I do. And I do it daily. I have learned a long time ago that forgiveness is a decision, not a feeling. Every day I get up and decide to live forgiveness. Unfortunately, many people confuse forgiveness with reconciliation. It isn’t the same thing. I don’t want to live a bitter, angry life, so I choose to forgive. For that exact same reason, I choose to not reconcile.

I have a gaping hole in my heart. A hole that only a mother can fill. And my mother will never fill it. She doesn’t want to, and today, I don’t want her to either. I am tired of trying to show her that I am worthy. I need another mother.

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Yarn that just keeps going……

When I bought these three hanks of Manos Silk Blend from Natural Yarns, I had no idea what they would become. I bought them purely because they were beautiful.

Never in my wildest dreams did I expect three hanks of 50g each, to go so far!

I started off with a buttoned cowl. When the first ball was nearly done, I decided to first make a hat. I wanted a matching hat and cowl. So I knitted the hat. My dearest husband came home, took one look at the hat, put it on, and claimed it. I was shocked. I did not think he would like these colours! But I was ecstatic that he like it! The hat took less than 50g!

So I started another hat. Same pattern. The third hank was used, and there was some yarn left again.

Hmmmmm….. so still some left!

Well, I decided to knit a baby hat, for my baby box. I started a baby box to make things with left over yarn. Either it can be given as gifts, or, it will wait for my next grandchild.

Three hats!

After the hats, the cowl got finished. It is lush, And long enough to double up if I want. The buttons are from Button Mad.

And I still had some yarn left! Can you believe it???

So the antique milk jug displayed in my kitchen, got a small mandala.

What is left? Not much….

Now this, is how you use expensive, special yarn!

The last little bit will go into a bottle. The bottle is topped up with yarn and lamp oil every now and then. Whenever we want to start a fire, we use the soaked yarn scraps as fire starters!

Now what next? Hmmm…. I think a bit of sewing will be in order. I have a very important quilt top to make, before my New Zealand trip. The quilt is for our first grandchild!