Adaptability can be a daunting thing. Yet it can be rewarding.
It’s the second day of Christmas. I stuffed my face with a lot of Christmas food that for the first time ever I made (but if you’re trying to stay healthy here’s some cookies). I even made kifli with the help of my mother and it is that story that I want to tell. No, not the making of the kifli, but the story of adaptability.
Why do you need adaptability anyways?
I grew up in a pretty traditional household. A patriarchy, where you need to keep your mouth shut and do as you’re told because you’re a woman and hierarchically you fall beneath the men. I grew up in a family where if you don’t know how to make the perfect coffee you will tarnish the family reputation, by not marrying well. All because you don’t know how to boil fucking coffee.
Now, the story of my mother. My mother is an entrepreneur for more than 10 years. She has a degree in biochemistry, speaks multiple languages, writes amazingly and is an amazing housewife.
My mother is one of those people everyone can sit down with, talk and get along. She can get along with 20 year olds and 80 year olds equally. But, if you piss her off, you’re done. She remembers everything you’ve done. She remembers every single time I was disobedient, with a time and date and the exact thing I did wrong.
My mom wanted me to study in Sorbonne. I didn’t. My mother always believed in what she calls quantum leaps. A quantum leap is when you achieve double success, I guess. Okay, basically, if she studied in a different city, a quantum leap is if I study in a different country. Anyways…
My mom is an excellent housewife. I personally hate the word, because I can see female oppression in it. But my mom loves it, I guess. She has tried to teach me good values my whole life. Not only to be obedient, but to work, to listen etc. She wants me to marry well (lol). So she’s a bit old school.
My mom’s adaptability
But, what you don’t know about my mother is her adaptability. It is an unknown fact, but my mother can barely use her right arm. So, she had to adapt a plethora times in her life. As a naturally right-handed person, she trained herself to use her left one. She went so far she became a left-hand person. Including her handwriting.
You know how most left-handed people have sloppy handwriting because as they write, they smudge the paper? My mother doesn’t. She has better handwriting than me!
Furthermore, marrying my dad and coming to the family, my mother had to adapt once again. Probably more times than she would now. You see, in my family, you must earn your respect. You must be obedient and a “good wife”. That meant dealing with my very demanding grandmother too.
My mother has always been a diplomat. She has always been a woman of a strategic mind. One who always knew to pick her battles. Thus, one of her favorite sayings is a tagline from an old Levis ad. On the ad there’s a topless woman kneeling to a guy and the tagline reads: I will submit, so I can dominate.
In other words, I will do as you want me now, but I will get it my way later. For her, it has proven to be an amazing strategy. And in most cases that’s what she did with my grandmother.
Unlike me, my mother always knew when to shut up.
But, being adaptable sometimes leaves deep scars that not even time itself can erase. However, I believe not only it made her stronger but it made her life easier.
Well, when you adapt to a situation quickly and effectively, you are bound to win. I mean look at the whole corona situation. All the businesses that adapted swiftly managed to salvage their companies. Furthermore, it’s something that Darwin himself has said too.
So, in order to win at the game of survival of the fittest, my mom with her disabled arm had to overcome a lot of (unnecessary) obstacles. One being cooking.
Macedonia is famous for its dishes. It is not a very known fact, but in Macedonia you can make more than 5 foods solely from water and flour. Thus, Macedonian housewives are amazing cooks. More importantly they have to be. That’s an indicator they’re worthy of marriage (I mean talk about sexism and chauvinism and just objectifying women).
In Macedonia, festivities are a tough competition between housewifives. Who made the best kifli, who made the best salad, who made their husband and mother-in-law happier. Macedonian patriarchy is a constant battle for respect and attention. My mother, unfortunately, was no exception from this.
However, unlike other women, my mother only had one arm she could use. She had to get creative. Other women used rolling pins to roll the dough. My mother couldn’t.
That meant she needed to think of other ways how to be a good housewife and win over my grandmother’s approval as a young wife. So, my mother once again adapted.
She created her own recipe for kifli.
Get this: you see these kifli in this picture? They are her creation. My mother literally invented these forms because she couldn’t make kifli like all the other housewives.
Moral of the story: Adapting is not the easiest thing, but only those who adapt swiftly will survive and earn respect.
So, next time you’re in a difficult situation. Adapt. As soon as possible. Because only those who adapt survive the battle of the fittest.
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