I'll Trade You My Dignity for That Tunic

In 2004 I was in the best physical shape of my life. I was the full back defender on a ladies Gaelic football team in Atlanta and running everyday. I had also just started my first professional job, pulling in $30K a year and receiving massive praise for the work I was doing from my superiors. I was on a trajectory to the big time. One winter, I was preening in front of the mirror before work, marveling at what was before me.

Wow, Malaka. You look good I thought.

My closet was full of the latest fashions. If the look was equestrian that fall, I had it. Asian inspired? I was there. Oscar De La Renta is doing African prints? I could find a nice knock off anywhere. That morning, I knew I didn’t want to have children or get married anytime soon. Having a family means making sacrifices, and I was far too hedonistic  to be sacrificing anything for some strangers, never mind that those strangers may have been born from my own body.

6 months later I was pregnant.

Every mother talks about the sacrifices that they have had to make for their children. Across the board, there are certain forfeitures that women have to make for the care of their young. Take any pick that you like from the list –

1) Sleep

2) Time

3)Sleep

4) Sanity

5)Sleep

I knew instinctively that once I had children, the majority of my income would be redirected to their upkeep. Suddenly, instead of buying a pair of shoes every week, I was reduced to buying a pair quarterly. Instead of purchasing this seasons “it” coat for myself, I find that I am browsing the racks at Children’s Place and Target to see what would look best on the kids. The girls each have 3 (brand new) coats between them. I’ve been wearing the same one since 2005. My husband have spent a ransom in daycare over the last 6 years. I summed the amounts, and we could easily take a trip around the world twice with the money that the local creches have siphoned off us. None of these things came as a surprise…but nowhere in my psyche did I ever imagine that the total sacrifices would be so deep and extensive. I never imagined that I’d be forced to surrender my very physical appearance for the sake of my children.

You see folks, I have a beard.

After child birth, I developed loads of facial hair, including a certain mass of lip whiskers that sprout at the most inopportune time – like just before a job interview. Every time I’ve had a c-section, I have have had my pubes shorn by a complete stranger. I have then been stripped naked from the torso down, gutted and had my insides set on a table in a room full of other strangers. A little facial hair is hardly anything to cause me major embarrassment. Thus, I faithfully trek to my Vietnamese salon and have them wax those bad boys off every two weeks. No big deal, right? Wrong.

As I mentioned a few posts ago, things have been tight financially. In the same space in time, Nadjah has taken the big-girl decision to become a Girl Scout Daisy. We have to purchase her uniform/tunic and other accoutrement for her troop this Friday. This Friday, I will also be due for my bi-weekly shearing. Here again, the snaked head of Maternal Sacrifice reared her repulsive reptilian face. I must decide whether to go get waxed, or buy my daughter’s uniform…which of course is no decision at all. The uniform won straight out.

Something about the winter air has made my beard grow exponentially. It’s thicker and fuller, as though innately trying to keep my face warm. I am certain that as I am cheering her on at this Fridays ceremony, the follicles that adorn my face will do their utmost to steal the limelight, bursting into full shiny black bloom, and certainly doing their best to be noticed as I pose for pictures with the other posh Alpharetta moms.

Ah well, what’s one more week to pose as the Black Abominable Snowman? It’s just a shame it’s no longer Halloween – at least then I could justify my jacked, mannish appearance.

  • I know what you mean! I, too no longer have time for any luxuries. I used to love getting my nails and toes done and even sleeping in–no rest for the wicked, eh? My every waking minute when I am not at work is spent catering to my two boys and their needs, desires, wishes, and whims. But you know what, I don’t think I’d have it any other way.

    By the way, I love your style of writing:)

  • Thank you!

    You know, I wouldn’t have it any other way either. I wear my barf badge with pride! 🙂

  • Malaka, I chanced on your blog the other day, and I knew, just KNEW I’d be back for more! I love how you write. This post had me laughing so much (and God knows my laughter is hardly the stuff of ladylike behaviour)

    Looking forward to the next. All the best!

  • Okay Girlfriend! Time for a DIY moment.
    If only I lived around the corner………………

  • @Davida – A kindred cackler! I’m so pleased to make your acquaintance. I just visited your blog, and you’re quite the writer as well. Very insightful stuff!

    @ Misty – What’s your choice? Would you wax my beard or make the tunic? The tunic might be easier to tackle. Hee hee heeee….

  • Khadija

    I can’t stop laughing. You are hilarious!

  • Okay Malaka,
    I’ve never waxed any body part in my life! As a matter of fact, I’m from the rare breed of people who hardly grow ANY body hair at all. The last time I shaved my legs or underarms was when my son was 2. Sadly he has grow up and is now 13!!!
    So, I can deliver a baby and sew up any parts of your body that happen to get torn off, but I’ve never waxed anything!
    Let’s get started!