I have a thing for pregnant creatures. Nostalgia is undoubtedly involved (when one has peed on a stick and seen the positive sign ten times, one feels connected to pregnancy) but it’s the awkwardness that whimsically bedazzles me. Pregnant creatures wobble and waddle. They huff getting on and off their feet. They look like someone took and shoved them into the wrong skin. I relate to that. Awkward is something I don’t seem to be able to get away from.
In fact, there are times when awkward is the only bridge over troubled waters. This is the place I find myself in lately. When I’m not having a zen moment about this, it ticks me off. I’ve been backed into the awkward corner one too many times. To heck with being chased around by that guy, I say. Today I’ll go out to meet him. Tell a story on my own terms that in its day was plenty awkward.
Once upon a time, I worked somewhere that required me to wear long skirts, nylons, and sneakers. With my future in fashion temporarily stalled, I was working in an industrial kitchen. Daily duties did not involve vigorous intellectual work outs, but I’ve never minded practical tasks, and I enjoyed the people I worked with.
The kitchen bathroom was a one seater tucked beside some chemical storage just beyond the food prep areas. Following a routine visit, I carefully washed my hands and exited to return for duties. Two feet out I encountered a shy male co-worker, visibly agitated and walking past me rapidly. His head was down. He held a hand to the side of his head as if he was shielding his eyes. I found it strange, but he was such a goodhearted man that I forgave him his quirks immediately.
Other people’s oddities don’t feel that awkward to me. I smiled, shrugged and carried on. Which is when a friend of mine (who happened to be a nun) began tearing madly across the kitchen. Hair nets are encouraged in industrial kitchens; running is not. My friend sprinted in panic from the far end of the kitchen, past an aisle of stoves looking neither to the left or to the right. I stopped to observe. Interesting moments were not common in our line of work. To my surprise she ran straight at me, at last lunging for my side.
Unbeknownst to me, my conservatively long skirt was offering a whole new way of viewing me. On the side of me my co-worker had passed in such haste, the bottom of my skirt was caught up in the waist band of my nylons. Young nun friend gave it a mighty yank and I stopped sporting a most revealing new style.
The best metaphors are ones that really happen. I think that story works for my life about now. (Although where my sprinting nun will come from I still wait to see.) But back to the pregnant thoughts. Before I could post the picture of the three ewes above with guesses about who was carrying what, Violet gave birth to four beautiful lambs in the dirt just outside the barn. Three survived, one did not. This is another true metaphor. Some things die. Yet on the other side of an awkwardness that cannot be bypassed, other things are born so new, fragile, and hungry for life, that they take your breath away.
And so I trek a bridge I’d rather not.