The small blonde and her white dog

Heading home at the end of one of my daily postpartum walks, as I like to call them, I stop at a traffic light and wait for it to go green before I can cross the street. Next to me another woman stops, carrying her dog – a small, white, fluffy and very energetic animal. I look at it and smile. I think it smiles back.

“Each with her own baby”, she says in a loud, high pitched voice, looking at my boy all tucked in the wrap on my chest, under the winter cover.

“He’s so cute”, I reply trying to assure her I’m not judging, but simply admiring.

She’s a short, small blonde, wearing bright pink lipstick, dark sunglasses and a ponytail. Her outfit is all black – hooded parka, shiny tights and platforms. The kind of woman tall women typically hate and the kind that typically hates tall women.* The kind insecure men typically prefer because it makes them feel big and strong.**

The small blonde and her small, white dog spring forward as the light goes green and then briefly stop on the other side of the road so that the dog is released from its owner’s arms and they continue their quick walk down the narrow sidewalk, beside the crazy traffic (which I manage to ignore most of the times and imagine it’s a waterfall or the sea on a stormy day).

The next day, as I’m walking out of our apartment building, I hear footsteps coming from the elevator behind me so I stop and hold the front door, waiting for the steps to approach. When I turn around, I see the blonde and her white dog. We say hello and then they quickly walk past me. But as the couple gets to the warden’s kiosk, the warden quickly comes out and stops them:

“One for you and one for the doggy”, he says handing the small blonde two candies. “They’re sugarless”, he adds as she thanks him and puts the candies in her coat pocket.

During their short conversation, the white dog raises one of its hind legs and pees on the wall next to the warden’s door. They both pretend not to see it and the warden goes back inside his kiosk, careful not to step in the dog’s urine, while the small blonde and her white dog walk away.

Once again I am left behind, feeling like a whale carrying her calf – calmly and quietly floating in the blue vastness, slow and steady, witnessing everything, taking it all in and releasing it all, lacking the motivation to speed up, deeply sunk in our meditative wisdom. We seem as old as the world itself.

*Since most women typically hate other women, for various reasons that escape logic and defy reason, but are typical of the misogynistic, patriarchal, consumerist society that educates them to compete. God forbid they should form a powerful sisterhood. (That sounded so bitterly feminist, didn’t it?)

**Since most men (around here, at least) are typically educated to try to seem bigger and stronger than they truly are and pair up with weaker specimens of the opposite sex so as to dominate, use and abuse, instead of aiming for a real partnership, on equal terms. (Is it just me, or did that sound even more bitterly feminist?)

I used to despise pregnant women

I thought they were ugly, disgraceful, stupid, naive, helpless creatures, fooled by society that it’s their duty to sacrifice their bodies and their freedom to perpetuate the species. I thought men had it so much easier for them, so much more freedom and control. And I hated it. I used to roll my eyes when I passed by a pregnant woman in the street. On rare occasions I used to feel pity. But it was disgust, contempt and anger that mostly animated me around them.

The radical feminist in me denied their right to happiness and freedom of choice. Their situation had a simple and certain explanation in my head: manipulation and brainwashing by the patriarchal consumerist society. Yes, I was in my early twenties back then, in my last years of university, passionate about gender studies and still badly suffering from older wounds.

When I graduated, I got into a gender studies master and I remember I was attending a course taught by the the coordinator of the program, a well known Romanian feminist. I felt so angry at her views and stood up, in my military leather boots and my all black outfit, and powerfully voiced my own point of view on a popular culture matter, which made her exclaim:

“Girls, it seems we have a misogynistic feminist among us!”

So now, sitting among these very pregnant women, moving slowly and carefully, like whales in shallow waters, calmly petting their huge bellies, and among these breastfeeding women, their swollen breasts, dark nipples and visible veins, all smelling of milk, their babies squeaking in their arms and looking curiously at everyone around them, toddlers running all over the place, listening to talks about types of birth and breastfeeding positions and benefits, feeling my own little baby squirming and kicking in my seven month pregnant belly, I am one of those women.

my seven month pregnant belly