I have always thought of myself as pretty strong. I can move almost ANY piece of furniture anywhere in the room. I can lift my 32 lb son with one arm. I can carry FOUR loaded shopping bags, for goodness' sake, and two gallons of milk in one hand. But lately, I have noticed that I am getting weaker. It all started when we were at my cousin's house, helping load furniture onto a moving truck. Now in situations like these, I am no ardent feminist: I let the menfolk do the heavy work. Yet I am also no wilting flower about it: I do what it takes to help out. I happened to be helping Mike carry a bookcase to the truck, when my cousin, Ronda, walked past us, gasped, and cried "what the HELL are you doing, Carly?" She grabbed the bookcase out of my hands and carried it out to the car, Mike trailing behind, trying to keep up with her furious pace. What makes her so much stronger than me? Why was she horrified to see me carrying a bookcase that, frankly, was not heavy at all? Why? Why?
I reassured myself by saying that I must just look girly and weak from the outside--especially that day, as was wearing pink sweater and diamond-encrusted star pendant from 'Cookie Lee'. I often think that I look dumber, girlier, and weaker than I really am (the blonde hair and penchant for pink clothing give me sort of an Elle Woods look. And, like Elle Woods, I am really quite sharp and strong on the inside. At least, this is what I have always told myself). "Looks can be deceiving," I told Mike on the way home, flexing my muscles.
But my bubble really burst this last weekend while Mike and I put together a fence for Radcliff in the backyard. We went to Lowe's and bought some wire and some fencing staples. I couldn't lift the wire onto the cart. Fifty feet of wire, and I couldn't move it anywhere. Mike handed me the bag of staples instead. Then, when we were working on the fence, Mike needed me to hold an 8 lb sledge hammer--8 lbs, that's more than 20 lbs lighter than my son-- against the back of the post so he could hammer in the staples. I could barely keep the thing up, not to mention provide a strong resistance to his hammering. At one point, we switched, thinking it might be easier for me to hammer in the staples. What took Mike three powerful hits took me ten. I just stood there, in a futile attempt to hold the hammer straight. Mike was laughing at me, and I was feeling v. deflated.
So I guess all this patting myself on the back all these years has been wrong. I am weak, girly girl with a pink rabbit fur sweater and a 'Cookie Lee' necklace.