Questions of Gender: 99 Word Flash Fiction

I was a girl. I wore dresses but I didn’t have those monthly cramps and pains my friends suffered. Lucky, I thought. Perhaps I was. Boys attracted me. I fell in love but no pregnancy happened for me. My friends all had babies, cooking and changing diapers. My husband cooked for me. My friends led a conventional life but I did what I wanted – no constraints were placed on me. Menopause came unnoticed. No mood swings or hot flushes unlike my friends. Lucky me I thought. Now I wonder as talk is of grandchildren – was I ever a woman?

In response to Charli’s prompt “gender”.

About Irene Waters 19 Writer Memoirist

I began my working career as a reluctant potato peeler whilst waiting to commence my training as a student nurse. On completion I worked mainly in intensive care/coronary care; finishing my hospital career as clinical nurse educator in intensive care. A life changing period as a resort owner/manager on the island of Tanna in Vanuatu was followed by recovery time as a farmer at Bucca Wauka. Having discovered I was no farmer and vowing never again to own an animal bigger than myself I took on the Barrington General Store. Here we also ran a five star restaurant. Working the shop of a day 7am - 6pm followed by the restaurant until late was surprisingly more stressful than Tanna. On the sale we decided to retire and renovate our house with the help of a builder friend. Now believing we knew everything about building we set to constructing our own house. Just finished a coal mine decided to set up in our backyard. Definitely time to retire we moved to Queensland. I had been writing a manuscript for some time. In the desire to complete this I enrolled in a post grad certificate in creative Industries which I completed 2013. I followed this by doing a Master of Arts by research graduating in 2017. Now I live to write and write to live.
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11 Responses to Questions of Gender: 99 Word Flash Fiction

  1. Yes you were and are. (Some say you’re one helluva woman)
    I have no children. We miss out on things and we get to do other things. I don’t regret it. Families are fluid and adaptive too. I can do mama & grandma things with kids not in my gene pool or with nieces and nephews. You and I are still role models and we bring a perspective to our families and friends unique and vital.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Absolutely D. I’ve had a good life and although it is a BOTS I have to say it is not necessarily how I feel. I agree – Helen Reddy’s song applies to us all.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Drawing a blank on the song but know I’ll slap my forehead soon. I do know that none of us need define ourselves by our reproductions. (Unless it’s our ART)

        Liked by 1 person

      • I am woman hear me roar….. I might be showing my age here well and truly. I know that we don’t need to be defined by our reproductions however I do believe that we only live whilst someone is alive who remembers us. With a genetic linkage parts of us will travel forward. will certainly outlive me and for those whose children trace them they will live for perhaps a little longer. For me without children I would be forgotten quite quickly but you are right – our art saves us and ridiculous as it may sound this is one of the reasons I wanted to be published in Australia as it gives me a permanent place in the National Library – way beyond the length of time my book may be in print.


  2. This is an interesting piece, Irene. It is not a BOTS is it? I am sure you have a daughter.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh, okay, that is good to know. A lot of ladies in my career (chartered accountant) chose not to have children. I think that is better if you want to really climb the corporate ladder as it is difficult to have both. I worked reduced hours until my son, Michael, was 8 years old. Then my work became so demanding, reduced hours no longer worked for me so I increased them to full time. I decided against pursuing partnership as that would require a lot more admin work. Those are the choices I made and I don’t regret them. Most of our female partners don’t have children.

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  4. Pingback: Gender « Carrot Ranch Literary Community

  5. Irene, it humbles me to read your self-examination. This is a deeply personal and poignant post. It also saddens me that you worry you’re not a woman because you don’t have children. Nature plays a peculiar game of roulette, granting some but not all our wishes, bestowing talents we never asked for. I consider you a woman of enormous talent, success, strength, perseverance, intelligence, and empathy. Perhaps more importantly, I consider you a whole person – that’s something wonderful to celebrate.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Sharon. I probably don’t feel as strongly about my womanhood as expressed in the flash but I do occasionally see the irony of my life. Particularly at this point in time where I am reflecting perhaps more than normal. Thank you for seeing me as a whole person – it is indeed something to celebrate.

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