The other day, the ladies I refer to as my girlfriends at work decided it was lunch time. Grateful for the opportunity to leave my desk and clear my head a bit, I opted to tag along. Girl trips like that are always fun, we chat about the little things that matter in our world. That particular trip was so much fun that after we had gotten our food, we decided we deserved a little treat and soon found ourselves at the ice cream factory.
Amidst the deliberations as to what to buy, my eyes caught the motif on the wall. The extremely artistic person behind the wall branding had discovered and highlighted the similarities between a well made dessert and a proper lady. Soft spoken and un-forceful is the lady, so soft that it melts in your mouth is the dessert. Comfortably cool without freezing is the dessert; calm and collected is the lady. Her voice is never too loud or too strong, she is soft and graceful, always in charge. She’s a constant delight to the eyes, polite in her ways and captivating in her gait.
I could go on and on, but you already get the drift. A good dessert is just like a lady, in its sweetness, delicateness and the satisfaction it provides. Tapping one of the girls, I told her to read the writing on the wall. When she was done, she smiled and looked at me, anticipating my next statement. Nodding, I confirmed her thought with a question. “Na wa o, so this is what a lady should be, am I sure I’m a lady like this?”
This thing called womanhood; it’s an immense blessing and a huge responsibility. From the tender age of five, when the boy child is left to enjoy being a child, the girl child already starts to learn that she is different, she is female. Sit with your legs closed. Eat with your mouth closed. Don’t let anyone touch you there. Stop crying, you have to make your hair. Don’t you know you are a girl? There, she is already intimated with her life calling, a calling too important to wait for her to grow. It’s a knowledge she must have, a consciousness she must carry. She is a girl and the world expects a lot from her.
I often marvel at all the things I am supposed to be, and not be. I am supposed to be graceful, always. There shouldn’t be a time when I am not together or in control. God forbid that I feel anger and actually scream. Even when I’m freshly out of bed, Im supposed to be beautiful, completely pleasant, always welcoming. I am expected to multi-task. It’s almost like men were bestowed with one brain and I, ten. How can I have forgotten to prepare dinner simply because I have a tight deadline to meet tomorrow? Why should the baby be left to cry just because the husband’s bag needs to be packed? The children should have ample space to play while the house remains perfectly neat and it’s my work to keep it that way. I must hold everything together without myself falling apart.
And even in the quest to love. It’s so simple for him and so complex for me. I must be proactive without been defiant. I must be submissive without being foolish. I should know when to give and when to take. To not do one or overdo the other is a sin. After all, I’m a woman, I should know these things.
But then again, do we ever pause to ask? Who made all these rules? Who said I can’t laugh with all my heart or go after my dreams because I’m a woman? Who defined how I’m to love or what beautiful should mean? Yes, I agree that I’m special, extremely deep, and strong in a different kind of way. I understand that by carrying my child in my womb, I naturally bear the chief responsibility to ensure he turns out right. I know that my husband can’t function optimally without me and God gave me to him to fill in the gaps. Yes, I agree with all these; but I also believe that no one should define the quality of my love, the depth of my service, the weight of my emotions except me and He who made me.
I choose to look to Mary, a woman like me who was bold enough to cry sufficient tears to wash her Lord’s feet; intense enough to wipe them off with her hair and self-assured enough to express her love in her own way.
I would no longer hide behind the veil of womanhood or make an excuse of being the weaker sex. No more would the world define how I live, laugh or love. I would laugh with my heart, hard enough till my stomach hurts. I would cry when I need to, letting the tears flow while I clear my head. I’ll look good in the way that I consider beautiful and wear my Lord proudly. And when opportunities arise that I see are within my abilities, I will get up and try, refusing to let the world tell me to sit and watch because I’m a woman.
But first, I’ll seek the truth. From the one who made me in the beginning, who correctly defined womanhood because He has the right to. And when I discover what His will is, I’ll pursue it with my life, finding my rhythm in His, living my life to the fullest accountable first to Him, and then to me.
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