Curdled Soup or How a Woman Thinks
You wanted to know the contents of my head? Are you sure… ? Do you know the danger…? Your mission, should you choose to accept it…. To boldly go where no man has gone before…
One thing you should know about a woman’s mind, if you don’t know already, is that it isn’t arranged and categorised according to any logic a man would understand. It’s not a programmer’s mind, a mathematicians mind; it doesn’t relate to a flow chart or a set of formulae. Its made up of thoughts, sure.. but also feelings, emotions, instincts. It’s a maelstrom of chalk, cheese and everything in between. It’s a sort of responsive soup.
You know, I shouldn’t be telling you this… I may have to kill you…
I can’t be sure, for the very fact that I am a woman, and don’t think like a man, but I believe that a man can think in straight lines, putting his feelings and emotions and instincts aside, and act purely on the basis of logical thought. A woman can do this for a short time (probably nano-seconds) and have flashes of what it must be like, but mostly she is influenced by many other things than rational thought. She knows about rational thought but she can’t and shouldn’t ignore the many other factors.
When I was considering having a third child, or leaving it at two, I had to try and weigh the factors in my head. I had two boys, and wanted a girl. The ‘Cons’ were very simple. I had been tied to the home being a housewife and mother for 5 years, and would be until Russell, my youngest, went to school in another three years’ time; another child would extend that by another two years at least; further loss of earnings, expense, the physical strain on my body, the size of our home (perfect for 4, stretching it for 5), the fact that the third child could well turn out to be another boy, and that one shouldn’t bring a child into the world in a state of disappointment that he was the ‘wrong’ sex… the simple logistics of an extra seat in the car… and several other all very real and factual ‘Cons’.
Weigh that against the ‘Pros’ … I yearned for a girl child.
Now you would think logic would prevail… that entire factual sensible list would far outweigh the simple yearning…
Put the simple yearning into the mix and it curdled the soup.. it wouldn’t blend, integrate, I could not set aside the deep gut feeling inside me that was longing for a female child. Note here that I don’t try to say anything more about it, to describe it – because this yearning wasn’t a thing of words and sense and logic, it was a deep gut ache, a feeling, a need. It can’t be expressed in words or logical forms that conformed to any sort of sense… it was just a feeling… but it was ready to overwhelm all the good sense logic of the list of Cons.
Put side by side, the balance could tip either way, and probably would tip towards the yearning, if I had not had anyone else to consider. My husband didn’t really want another child; he was very happy with our two boys. But he was a good sympathetic man and he wouldn’t push me when I tried to explain my dilemma, and since the greatest loss would be to my time and effort and not his, he was prepared to leave the decision to me.
I agonised.. struggled.. fought … I knew at the time and know now that it was one of the hardest decisions I ever had to make in my life, from the point of view of struggle. Here I am today with two boys, and you might think to yourself “logic prevailed… she made the decision”. You would be wrong. I decided to leave it to fate. My husband made the appointment with the hospital for his vasectomy, and the only thing I ‘decided’ was that we would not use any contraception until he had the snip… and what would be, would be. I remember that when the time came for him to go, and I wasn’t pregnant, I was relieved, and today I don’t regret it, but I still feel that tiny yearning voice call to me, the voice of the girl child I never had, and now will never have.
So.. I am sure you will be shaking your head in mock (or very real) despair, either having glimpsed with horror the faint vision of a ‘curdled-soup’ mind, or not having any idea really what I am talking about.
I don’t actually mind having this sort of process inside me. I know for a fact that if I didn’t have the feeling/instinct/response side of my character, I would feel something akin to having lost a leg suddenly… It’s something I rely on and use every moment of every day. It adds, rather than detracts from my life, and is as much a part of me as legs arms and lungs – essential – and very real. This is not an apologia… just an explanation, from a creature of Venus, to a creature of Mars.
It’s only when one comes face to face with the creatures from Mars that one feels (note that I use the word ‘feels’ and not ‘thinks’) that one is somehow … mmm… what is the word I am looking for… not ‘weird’, not ‘substandard’…. different perhaps, oh yes, certainly different. Not quite a freak… but an alien. A woman is aware that she is perplexing, infuriating, annoying sometimes, to the creatures that don’t have this ‘soup-for-a-mind’.
In a world run by the Martians, a woman is often made to feel less than normal, less than worthy, because she has this complex ‘soup-mind’. Women can stand up and say they are equal, know they have advantages in equal measure to men, but she can’t explain them, because there are no words for them in the language the world speaks … in any language. I believe it is the true mystery of femaleness, the part that men can’t understand and will at worst condemn, at best find amusing, hopefully tolerate without understanding, and predictably often dismiss.
I can tell you what I am thinking, but the rest? the mix? That isn’t tellable.. God help us.