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The limits of my feminism

Mis à jour : 26 nov. 2019

Driving my car between Montpellier and Lançon de Provence, under a bright summer shining sun. I just dropped my son off at his grandparents.

In eighteen years of marriage and fifteen years of mothering, I was no longer used to choosing a destination by myself without a discussion or negotiation about how to get there. I decided to take the small roads, longer but much more pleasant, where I could admire the Cypress, the Lavender fields, typical Provence landscape, and open the windows to let the Cicada song into the car. It would certainly not be the majoritarian choice if the whole family were there.

After a difficult year of living a hard mourning, I needed a change and to be in a different place for a while in order to keep my sanity. As soon as school holidays started, I came down to the Provence, my little paradise on earth, where I will be, all by myself, for a few weeks, until my husband arrives. Distractedly by my thoughts, I suddenly remember that I need to buy some food for my fridge, because tomorrow is Sunday, everything will be closed. I stopped at the first market that I see on my drive. There, staring at the shelves filled with many terrines, tapenades, wines and cheeses, I had a long moment of hesitation: I don't remember what I really like anymore. After so many years of always prioritizing my husband and son’s tastes and wishes over mine, it was strange to choose, casually, oriented by me and me only and my unique gastronomical desire. I felt almost guilty. I took a salami, some olives, a beautiful loaf of bread and a few beers. Safe values. I left the market proud of myself, but still looking around as if I would be caught committing an egregious offence.

I cannot deny that it was not as easy as I thought to leave my husband in Alsace and my son in Montpellier. I had to past my emotional comfort zone. However, this moment of solitude has been very fruitful as it is allowing a reconnection with myself, with my wishes and desires, my tastes and thoughts, very often drowned in a form of female altruism unconsciously implied in our social roles of mother and wife. As if a form of progressive donation installed furtively, as if a self-abnegation introduces itself in our life style imperceptibly but affectionately as it comes with an unconditional, indescribable and huge love!

Maybe that is why I am feeling this strange mix of melancholia and pride for having defeated my worst enemy – myself – and decided to live this moment meeting my own self again. This is what I realized in that precise instant, alone, driving my car between Montpellier and Lançon de Provence, under a magnificent bright summer sun. Suddenly, I felt myself as feminist again, as I was in my not so far away youthfulness.

Soon after arriving in my destination, I took a shower and feeling light, happily went to bed. But it was without counting on an uninvited horrible visitor, a big insect who decided to keep me company. My first reaction was to run away but I had nowhere else to go. I had to confront it. We started our battle. I took a piece of paper and bravely tried to catch it with my own hands, trying to keep it alive and then throw it into the garden. In these times of animal annihilation, I prefer to respect nature and biodiversity. He was much more reactive and smarter than I and very quickly hid under my bed. Defeated, I took my pillow and went to sleep on the couch in the living room. The Forficula Auricularia declared its victory. The day after, I asked some help from my landlord who promptly helped me. And that is how I found out, stunned, that the limits of my feminism adopt the shape of a vulgar centipede.

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