Each with a burden, real and trivial-A A +A
Saturday, July 7, 2012
WHO would ever know the burden another one is bearing if we do not stop, get to know the person well, earn her trust, and then listen.
You’ll be surprised at what a person can hide, especially women who have to hide their emotions from their children so as not to further disturb them.
“I have to be strong for my children,” has been said by several friends in several instances, and in their declaration I learn to respect.
We can’t help it if children to cling more to their moms than their dads. It’s biological. It was the moms who carried them inside the womb, and breastfed them. Men, oh, you know the extent of participation in procreation. Some remain as mere donors, disappearing into other donation boxes as soon as the pregnancy test turns pink to run away anew at the next accident. Many do take their roles seriously and contribute their part in rearing their children. Still, they cannot breastfeed nor bear a child in the womb. They simply do not have the equipment for these. Thus, children at whatever age, cling to moms, and moms pretend to be strong.
Each one appeared carefree, smiling, their sense of humor overpowering. There are cracks, however, that can be detected as the burden becomes heavier and that’s when friends are sought.
More fascinating, however, is how these women jump back, looking all right, just thankful for having unloaded their burden, somehow, even to a friend who is not in a position to extend real help.
There is truth indeed that in many instances, a person in need only needs someone to listen to them. In many cases, they already know what they have to do, they just need a sounding board.
Affirmation, one friend once said. That’s what we, women, usually need, she added. Affirmation that we’re doing the right thing, affirmation that we’re strong, affirmation that we’re beautiful.
With the quirky sense of humor that she has, this lady who was then nearing 50 said, that’s the reason why she is not above telling acquaintances, who dare ask her age, an age far older than she really is.
Why not? She said, when all she needs is affirmation that she is beautiful and that is enough to make her day.
“You’re not old yet, ma’am,” some workhand would say when she seeks out manual help to carry this or that with the excuse that an old woman needs help.
“That’s what you think, but I’m already near 60,” she’d say. And since she’s not, then such statement from a woman at that, would be met by disbelief and an exclamation that usually goes along the line of, “You look much, much younger than that!”
From experience, she said, when you challenge a person who says that to guess your age, that person will deliberately state an age much lower than you actually look. Say, 40! But that will only work if you are not fishing for the truth and you are confident that you look your age or younger.
Affirmation, she said, that’s all you need to make your day, and that affirmation need not even be true. Why sweat after the truth when the situation is so trivial, you know nobody’s going to tell the truth, anyway. Sweet tongues have their uses, this wise woman said.
But then, not all women are the type you’d want to hang out with because of their carefree outlook in life. There are the whiners and the vain, where anything that’s not about them is not interesting.
Thus I remember an old acquaintance who was making so much fuss about being young, whimpering and whining because somebody thought she was already 38. I looked at her and thought, she did look 38. I kept that to myself, but she wanted affirmation of a different kind.
“Do I really look old?” she whined.
“What age do you think I am?” she persisted.
That put me in a spot since she did look 38. But since she was whining, then I thought, she’s obviously younger, but how much younger would that be? Wait… Maybe she’s 35. For women, there’s not much difference between the matured look of a 35-year-old and a 38-year-old woman. I decided to be kind and deducted five more years.
“Thirty!” I said, feeling good about myself.
She howled. She was 28 then. Oh. That’s what you get for whining for the wrong reason and making sure everyone hears you’re younger than all other women in the room. Had she simply said that someone just thought she was older and not made a big deal out of it, then soothing voices would have said, “You definitely look much younger than that.”
Numbers are always tricky, you know, and affirmation is all that you need, so don’t go into the specifics. Reserve the whines and the whimpers to real issues in that way, you are not unnecessarily vexed (and hexed).
I can’t help but wonder how old she looks now… and all because she made such a big deal about her age. email@example.com
Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on July 08, 2012.