Before I rush off to the next subject that’s screaming to get out (after adopting my brand spanking new attitude of “Oh, what the F*#&”, all kinds of stuff keeps popping up), a short return to the last subject. The lost, the one-way, the abandoned, the doomed, the love. So bring on the post-tear phase, shouting “Am I not totally worth it!”. Result: the urge to prove oneself, to oneself, to the world. A leap into ones wardrobe, attempting to be “oneself” optimally. Restoring ones self-esteem, preferably garnished by occasional moments of outside-world approval.
Hmmm, all this while residing in an abandoned corner of Kenya coast. I moved house, I’m writing while lodging in an empty house (owned by friends in Nairobi).

blah-dee-blah-dee-blah… I had a piece of cloth and now I have a homemade dress. The collar is slightly off, but when viewed through the eyelashes, it’s pretty as a picture.
So, femininity. Some sort of broken-heart-mending-tool, something like that…

Brings me to a subject that I haven’t EVER discussed!
Femininity vs. ‘me myself and I’

Let’s be fair. Even though I might be doing tough stuff in every male sense of the word, I errr have to admit I’ve never felt so feminine as i did the past year. I discovered a femininity I didn’t know I possessed!
Driving the tractor doesn’t exactly make me feel Indiana Jones, though I do identify with his clumsiness… I feel like an amazone, riding through the desert on a huge roaring horse! Tough, feminine, strong, invincible, irresistable! (calm like a farmer, enthused like a little girl)

And I’m thankful for being a woman, because when driving a tractor without suspension, you’ll be needing every bit of hip- flexibility you have, with all the potholes and rocks you encounter. Comes in handy too in the event of technical breakdowns along the road. No need to ask for help, you’ll get it anyway! (tough aid, no patronizing “oh, let ME handle that”. No, real men that dive into the dust under the tractor.)
Heehee, anyway, since I like that roughness myself (or should I say: the dust and soil under the carriage?), and do not suffer many technical breakdowns as opposed to ‘the neighbour’, situations are mostly the other way around. About every forthnight or so there’s a car or van that needs to be towed to the next village. Dressed in my long skirts (when in Rome, do as the Romans do) I tie together ropes, start the engine and leave the men standing open-mouthed or applauding (not on purpose, uhuh!). African women relate to me a lot better at such moments, they already know that they are at least as strong as I am (‘yés’, I nod toward them), they think I’m showing great example of femninine strength, they straighten their spine, ‘me too!’ I show their men: ye-hes, don’t underestimate women, they’re pretty strong.
Meanwhile, the men are quite charming (enter female charm, and the women are happy their men are being approved of.
Many a westerner is convinced that african men are quite useless, stupid, dumb. Constantly being sold the concept that one’s hubby is a total thicko isn’t very mood-enhancing, let alone true!) I say hi, and move forward. laughter, respect.

I wish I’d be able to do that at home. Say hi, move on. It’s a lot less easy to make independence, or resembling loneliness, into something glorious. Gradually I’m getting to learn more about standing in my own strengths, but being a 100% woman and not being ashamed of it, is a huge power.
Female power, earthly woman power, maternal strength, the most beautiful thing there is…(just look at the animal kingdom, the main reason to feel threatened is when approaching a female and it’s spawn: lions, elephants, buffaloes, snakes,…)
To discover ‘oy…I’m like that too! I don’t see why I was being so complicated in Holland: competition, anxiety, why should I or my female colleagues follow down the tough and individualistic path of a male world, meanwhile wiping our feminine strengths under the carpet? (unless we’re talking about picking up men, though I have to admit that even then these optimally feminine females here are more optimal about that too!).

In case one has lost one’s bearings…

Some advice given to me on my own website:

from Aye, in the guest book:

“This one goes out to all girls on tractors, seeking adventure, doubting themselves occasionally…!!

But you CAN bet on adventurous girls on tractors. They’re there when you need them, whereever they may be. Sometimes, adventurous girls on tractors adopt an attitude that’s way more tough than they are in real life. But, more often, adventurous girls on tractors tend to be way more tough than they realize.
Sometimes, adventurous girls on tractors are only human. At times like that, they should realize that they ought to be very proud of themselves. And if adventurous girls on tractors need to, there’s nothing wrong with keeping silent.
Real happy endings come unexpected, once you ceased believing in them, and adventurous girls on tractors are secretly aware of that. Adventurous girls on tractors always end up on their feet, and I hope they keep realizing that for themselves.

Everything will be allright!
Sometimes, one needs to deflate completely to rediscover one’s courage.

Letting go of all obligation, stuff of which you thought you had to do, back to basics. That’s what I’m reliving now…so I already know, I’ll be away from home for a long, long time, and sometimes girls on tractors have a bad time… everything will be allright, everything is allright!

original post: 26-03-07