You are a good woman. Let’s absorb that for a second. Let it sit. YOU are a good woman.
You may know that, but do you understand? To know is different from to understand. You may know you need help but do you understand the reason why, for instance? These are two halves of the same whole; both are needed for a complete mold.
So yes indeed you may know you are a good woman. How could you not be?
You carry the weight of insults on your shoulders silently. You are present when others are in need, the quiet cord of strength providing a rope to those that have lost their balance and scream with needs. You are the voice that echoes certainty, so of course you are a good woman. But did you know? You were a good woman when he came back home smelling like an alcoholic trove? Did you know you remained a good woman when he smiled through his teeth and lied about the distance you felt so desperately? Or did you even know you were still a good woman as you stood beside your good name while he insulted and cussed and used and even abused you taking advantage of who you were, changing the shape of who you are and threatening to kill who you could become.
Yes, you know you are a good woman but do you understand what it means?
Do you understand it means you don’t have to bear his selfish needs? Do you understand that it means you are free to live independently? Do you understand that it means just because you stop giving does not mean you stop caring?
Because the problem is just this exactly. We confuse what it means to be a good woman with staying silent through the pain, remaining faithful through his escapades. We think being a good woman means that you take. And take. And take…without expecting a return – without asking for any gain. We think being a good woman means that you stay-that you remain paralysed and powerless in that pit of pain.
We think it means you are a good woman that you refuse to say how much harm his words have caused you to your name.
Yes, we have isolated what it means to be a good woman into a list of required nuggets we can proudly say, how Bisi has stayed married for ten faithful years, or how Olamide has never spoken ill about her husband’s illicit affair. Yes, that is a good woman, we say. But that is not the meaning behind that name.
A good woman should not be burdened by another man’s intentional fists of pain. A good woman should not become victim to his stabbing words as they slash her worth into shreds while she screams silently because of the shame. A good woman should not have to carry his stench on her name. A good woman should not have to excuse his mistakes repeatedly seeking to hide behind a mask filled pomade. A good woman should not be used and abused repeatedly and exposed to the harsh light of shame without any real dreams to look forward to because she has been too scarred by the nightmares she has silently accepted in her days.
That is not what it means to be a good woman; but society has told us that is what it means. Society has dictated to women that they must carry the cost of their men’s pain. That even if he cheats and beats and screams and slashes your worth and your wrists and stabs you in the back repeatedly with deceit…you stay.
But how does that make sense at all? Why should you have to dictate how a woman should choose to bear her worth based on a man’s decay? Yes, his decay. Society wants a good woman to cover his decay with her grace. How is that even possible when a nightmare can only reveal a portrait of pain?
You are a good woman. You do not need to stay. You remain a good woman even if you choose to walk away. You still carry the essence of grace even if you decide to turn away. Do not give into society’s staples of what can be described as shame.
It is not shameful to choose your happiness over his pain; neither is it shameful to choose your future over his failures. Or what is the alternative? To stay stuck in that pit of pain? To remain hopeless in a place that carries no seeds of promise? You can leave. You can walk away. Whoever has stripped you of your being, cannot dictate what it means to have life in your veins. You are a good woman. You can step away.
You do not lose the right to that name. After all, you tried and you slaved; after all, you spoke and remained silent trying different tones of conversation, different postures of engagement to make them all see your pain. Don’t listen to whoever tells you to stay in that place. You need to be free, not riddled with the disease of their shame. They have made their mistakes; why should you pay the cost for their shame? Who made you the cave where they bury their pain?
All I have to say today is: you are a good woman. He does not determine how you should spend the rest of your days. No one has that power over your path so don’t live in present regret, bleeding silently in deadly pain.
Now, good woman of grace shiver off society’s cape and walk into the understanding of your name. You are a good woman. Choose to walk in the understanding of that power each and every day. Don’t you dare let them take that away. You are a good woman. They cannot tarnish your name.