When I woke up this morning, I was exhausted. I’m not really sure why, since a blackout sent me to bed very early last night. Every morning, I get up at 4.00, do my Zumba for a bit over an hour, get my baby ready, and walk her to school before I head out to work. Some mornings, like today, I skip the Zumba part and sleep in for an extra hour instead. It really depends on how tired I am.
This morning as we walked to school, we saw a rainbow cloud. It was a pink cloud draped across the sky, and it was shaped like a rainbow. The rest of the sky was a lovely turquoise shade, so it was really something. We also saw a KCC saloon car. It’s blue number plate said KBJ 666U, and on the side, it said ‘Cheese’. I really need to get a serious camera.
Anyway, we stared at our rainbow cloud, and my princess noted it followed us while we walked. She said we must be rainbow babies, because the pink mummy rainbow cloud was running after us to keep us safe. How I love that child.
At the school gate, I kissed her goodbye then crossed the road to head toward the stage. I’m not sure why, but I suddenly felt like playing curb-curb-pavement. It’s a game where you walk on the curb and try not to step on the pavement or the tarmac, because they are oceans full of sharks. You basically spread your arms for balance and pretend you’re walking on a tightrope.
I was concetrating so hard on my game that I almost fell over when I heard laughter. I looked up to see my baby’s teacher grinning at me. She was standing with her teenage son, and it was him that had laughed. I suppose I made the boy’s day. I smiled and waved, then continued with my game. I felt like a little girl again, and it wasn’t a feeling I wanted to let go.
I suppose that scene could work against me. I suppose the teenage boy could walk into school and make torturous fun of my child, saying her mum is a bigger baby than she is. It’s hard enough maintaining credibility when the other mothers show up in power suits and car keys while I routinely attend meetings in jeans, a hoodie, and a backpack. Plus, when I was asked to give the Class 8s a motivational speech on Prize-giving day, I said, “I went to school here, and I turned out okay. Besides, KCPE isn’t the end of the world, you’ll be fine.” I’m not sure if the uproarious laughter was ironic or not, given the purple dreads and tattoos, but at least my baby hasn’t melted with embarrassment … yet.
I think of my mum when she was my age. She was in the church choir, had 4 side businesses, 69 chama meetings, a different hairdo every week, 53 pairs of shoes, 45 handbags, tons of well-used make up, and a mother-in-law. She was beautiful and stylish and my teachers were always hitting on her. She had one full time job, two part time jobs, a husband, and 3 kids. She could cook, sew, knit, plait, dance, give shots, speak French, and at my dad’s office diwali party, she sang a Hindu song just to impress his boss! She was – in my eyes at least – the ultimate woman.
Me, I have a gorgeous baby girl and a backpack. Every morning when I leave the house, the neighbours ask if I’m going to college. I’m sure they wonder exactly how my rent gets paid.
I feel like I skipped ten years of my life – the ten years where they taught us how to be grown-ups. I look at my classmates. They all have marriages or managerial jobs or shoes that aren’t made of denim and canvas. They drink wine, get waxed, drive cars, dress up, and wear their hair like … hair. This morning I saw a girl who was a mono when I was clearing, and she looked like … my mother! A close friend once pulled me aside and said, ‘We’re at a point in our lives where we need to stop wearing jeans and t-shirts. We’re not in college anymore.’ She was wearing linen pants and designer blouse at the time, and that was two years ago. Am I missing something?
The thing is … I don’t want to grow up. I don’t want to dress in silky tops and high heels while listening to jazz, neo-soul, and Afro-fusion. I don’t want an active credit card. I don’t want my investment banker on speed dial. Okay maybe I do, since I’d like to make my millions fairly soon.
I don’t want to watch business news instead of Boomerang. I don’t want to read newspapers instead of Twitter or Kite Runner instead of Sweet Valley High. I don’t want to go for Blankets and Wine instead of Terrific Tuesday, or eat tiramisu instead of vanilla ice cream. Okay, actually, tiramisu would be awesome if I could have it once a week. Just as soon as I taste and decide that I like it, which I will.
I don’t want to play office politics to get a promotion, or join a women’s group, or host my mother-in-law’s chama – partly because I don’t want a mother-in-law in the first place. For me, it’s enough to know my baby girl is happy, my bills are paid, my flat has keys, my taxes are handled, and I can buy Baileys legally. That’s as grown up as I want to be. All that other stuff is overrated, and being a rainbow baby is a lot more fun.
If the little boy whose day I made turns nasty, it mighht not go so well. The princess is emotional. She gets that from me. She’s the type to burst out crying over name-calling, even though her tears are driven by her temper, and every tear will be punctuated with a barrage of returned insults. She gets that from me as well. So I hope he doesn’t use my dance against her. And I hope I can teach her the opinion of the world isn’t as weighty as it seems.
Opinions are things that upset me, even though I have some strong ones of my own. I just finished reading Approval Addiction, and I took a lot from it. For one thing, I realized I’m not quite as addicted as I thought I was. Two, my outward action may not change, but I’m now completely transformed on the inside. I’m doing all the same things, but for all the right reasons, which is a really good thing. I’ve learnt a lot about myself and had a lovely healing phase. Plus, I was actually reading, so yay!
A lot of things have gone my way today, and I’m now a lot more hopeful for the future. I don’t know how long this up-mood will last, because my feelings are fickle. But I’m going to enjoy it for as long as it is here, and then I’ll deal with whatever comes next. I waste so much time trying to worry about the future and figure things out that I don’t enjoy each moment in the present. I choose not to do that anymore, and I hope my guardian angel will remind me every day.
In other news, I’ve had a rough time recently, and was thinking about getting a tattoo of a tortoise. I figured it would be my new spirit animal, since whenever things get thick, I can retract and hide inside my shell. Plus, it makes its way so slowly, is said to be wise, and never goes house hunting. But a quick search on Google showed me tortoise tattoos aren’t very … pretty. Plus, they may not work well with my skin tone.
I thought about getting a turtle instead, but that beats the purpose, since turtle shells are so much softer than a tortoise. That’s why people can, you know, eat them. So I thought hey, what about a Ninja Turtles Tattoo? But nah, they don’t work without the colour. Also, I’m not entirely sure I want another fresh tattoo. So now I’m looking for a Ninja Turtle Wristband … holla if you have one for sale! I don’t really need to hide anymore, but a Ninja Turtle Wristband is an awesome thing to have, no?
♫ Drive ♫ Incubus ♫