When I was at a playschool this morning, I declined a young teacher's offer to help me unload heavy cartons from my car.
"It's ok. I can manage."
Not that I'm being a showoff or anything but I think I made lifting those boxes look quite effortless. Now, how can I make a sweet young lady heave boxes of soil from the car?
Later I swung by the mechanic's workshop. While he was checking the engine for suspected oil leak, I was busy reorganising things in the boot. He saw me lifting a big trolley with one hand and exclaimed, "My, you're strong!"
I wasn't sure if it was a compliment. I mean, aren't girls supposed to be girly and dainty, like damsels in distress? It made me self-conscious. I felt like Xena the warrior princess.
I was quite the tomboy as a kid. Sandwiched between two brothers, I was often arrowed to do the unpopular tasks like running to the provision shop 2 km away or helping mum in the orchid farm. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed those chores. I also loved climbing trees and catching spiders like the boys in the neighbourhood.
Even as an adult, I relish physical activities that make me sweat. I have lots of freckles to show for. My hands are calloused and the soles of my feet are toughened from all the running.
That doesn't mean I dislike girly things. While I adore artsy jewelry and pretty clothes, I could never dream of creating my own. My hands are just not made to handle delicate objects. When it comes to cooking, I'm the kind who whips up robust and hearty meals. I fail miserably when it comes to baking dainty cookies or decorating cakes. That's not to say I don't enjoy eating them.
I like being strong. Through the years, I have harnessed my strength and put it to good use. It has proven to be very useful and I'm glad to be built this way. Almost like Xena.