I just finished reading Tina Fey‘s Bossypants. In it, she talks about the moment when she and other girls realized they were women. Mostly these moments occurred during adolescence through the attracting of male attention.
I remember those moments well in my life too. The creepy forty-year old making eyes on the subway, the bespectacled a-hole who pinched me between the legs on a crowded bus, and a bunch of others that suddenly crowded the life of my early teens. But none of these make the moment when I truly reached womanhood.
That moment surfaced recently, about three weeks after my third son was born in August. In the wee hours of the morning, I woke to sudden screaming, shocking sound. Before it was even awake, my body leapt into the air and dismounted on the side of the bed. The shriek came back. Wartime siren? Are we at war? Ambushed?
I ran into the hallway, heart slamming, still trying to force my mind awake. More blasts of sound, louder now. An air raid?
I looked up. Oh. It’s our fire alarm. Not going off exactly, but sounding its warning that the batteries were dying. I worked on catching my breath, on willing my heart back down into its proper spot.
The ceiling contraption kept issuing its blaring noises, but now I was conscious of something else. That in between the screechign blasts was absolute silence. Nothing stirred; I was in the hallway alone. Four male hearts, peppered in the three bedrooms of the upper floor of perhaps 650 square feet, beat in unperturbed rhythm of deep sleep.
That was the moment. That’s when I heard it, the primal voice of some ancestral matriarch, watching closely my initation into the walls of her womb. “You,” said She, “Save boy brood. Man also. You. Woman Now.”
Image credit: smokealarmkeepsbeeping.info