Woman where art thou?

I remember lying down flat on the red dusty gravel filled soil in front of my secondary school dormitory, I remember wondering what did I ever do to deserve this?

I remember the demands of a ‘senior girl’ that I fill her cup with beverages from my provision; I remember being sent to kneel down for an hour under the scorching sun for not obliging the request.

I remember feeling out of place for being a girl, sometimes enjoying its benefits, other times absolutely abhorring its natural calls.

I remember crying my eyes out as they teased me for having a boyfriend in junior secondary school. I remember smiling as an undergraduate after a date.

I remember smiling at my aunt’s kids, thinking how much fun it would be to have a baby. I remember looking at my four month old daughter, wishing I could ship her away to my mum for a while.

I remember sitting at home pregnant with my daughter, wishing the four walls of the room played out scenes from my favourite movies or served as portals to my favourite places. I remember catching a forty-five-minute bus each way to school and back, going to work when I could, while logging around my ever growing second pregnancy.

I remember feeling content with speaking to dear ones through social media thankful the drama of sharing personal space was cut out, I remember wishing I had my mom with me in the labour room.

I remember that through all these times I have always felt that I had no choice but to be strong. I remember feeling the need to make sure my burden hung squarely on my shoulder and on no other.

I remember wishing I could become a child again.

This is my personal journey and most of it has been my choice, while others have been thrust on me my circumstances. It’s interesting to see a come thread running through my journey, a myth that I had come to believe at an early age; the myth that every real woman is strong, able to shoulder every challenge. I absolutely scoffed at women/girls who cried so easily, women/girls who worked their wiles on others to get their way. I especially find it hard to cajole people, a trait that makes me a poor salesperson except when on a mission. And after many years of being me ‘the way I wanted’, motherhood has shaped me into someone who has had to embrace every facet of herself.

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I have learned to cry simply to relieve my tension, to not feeling worried that others might see me as weak or manipulative, because if they feel that way perhaps they feel guilty for not doing enough.
I am learning how to make both impromptu and well thought out decision through checklists.
I am learning to refine my communication skills, realising that patience is very important to the process.
I am adapting to the possibility that living day by day does not make my life less impactful than having high powered dreams/goals. I am accepting that it might be slow but it is not meaningless.

As I read the three waves of the feminist movement, I can’t help wondering what was the overriding goal of each phase? I find myself coming back to the word choice. Without choices, life would probably be crippling, both mentally and physically. Everyone wants the right of way on the narrow streets of life. Sadly this is not possible, thus the need for rules and laws, but if the law gives right of way to Mercedes or Nissan brands only hasn’t it failed in being equitable? This is perhaps why road signs/instructions address car dimensions and potential and not brands.

Humans much like cars come in different dimensions, and varying horse powers regardless of similar dimensions. I don’t know much about cars but I assume it would be unrealistic to expect all cars with a 2.0 engine to perform exactly the same way. There are several factors which would impact on its performance including brand, model, driver, country of use, other components etc. All these factors determine the pricing of these cars. Women(men) are in the same way similar and it’s my belief that what most women want is to be treated in ways that respect their individuality, giving them room to accomplish their dreams.

Whether in their personal or professional lives, women want to have the right to progress in any direction. They don’t expect rules to favour Mercedes above Nissan, rather they want rules that keep everyone safe on the road. Choice …. choice. Sadly this idea offends many, for a choice in the corporate world might ultimately cement the place of choices in the community. It is as though the world prefers to confer rights on a maladjusted man rather than any woman. Sometimes a Childs’ choice seems more valued than a woman. We prefer that which might be seen as frivolous than one which requires thoughtful and considerate engagement.

Bringing the point closer to the home front, often in the family we find the womans choice clinching loosely at the bottom of the scale of preference. We have taught our sons the act of having the final say, of laying down the rules, of taking charge without knowing what they are actually in charge of. We have taught our daughters the perfect timing for the first word, the perfect sequence for following instructions, the act of supporting missions without teaching them how to spot impossible missions. 20180106_174851

We failed to teach both how to construct the middle bit of the conversation, how to get to build up to an amicable conclusion. We have taught them to imagine a beautiful end but equipped them for a bloody battle of wits, choices, manipulative skills and little about integrity in the confines of a small room with an audience of one. But that’s a discussion for another day.
Where are your choices taking you? What sort of woman are you becoming?

Your tears are not your shame
Your scars are no regrets
Your strength is not in words
Your weakness is not in silence
defined by a moment you are not
shaped by moments you will be
live those moments truly and wholly.

Choices come at a price but certainly not the price of being superhuman. Society has equated a woman who wants the same privilege for the same role/responsibility as a woman who wants to be a man. Should choices take away from our masculinity or femininity? If my husband asks for help lifting heavy items does that make him less masculine or me less feminine? Earning more or less, exploring my potential doesn’t change my gender or does it? Should it.? How I chose to display my feminine side is subjective to me. Some people will earn more income and undergo personality changes, others won’t, should this be the bases for rules?

In my opinion, the only feminine movement that counts is that which protects the individual woman, giving her room to grow and blossom. To explore her choices, curbing them only when they mitigate harmfully against another. They say we are our own worst enemies and it is true. When last did you complement, support or encourage another woman?

There is a universal truth: we can’t have it all. However, there is another truth: we always have something to add, to own.

What’s your choice worth?

What change?

“On a micro and macro level, bad leadership gives birth to two individuals; imitators or dissenters. Both with a deeply seated weariness of leadership (good or bad), both unable to trust themselves or endure the reformative abilities of good leadership.” 

“Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you want to be done because he wants to do it.” Dwight D. Eisenhower

An effective leader should aim to achieve the following:
1.Visualize the future i.e. have an inspiring vision of the future.
2.Communicate and inspire people to engage with his/her vision.
3.Strategize/structure the delivery of the vision.
4.Motivate and build a team, that can achieve the vision. 

2017 was an entertaining year, a year for re-defining leadership. Political, religious, business and cultural leaders were questioned, challenged on different platforms. Some leaders fell beneath the bar, while others excelled. However, I found their response to scrutiny more interesting than their actual performance, equally entertaining was the public reaction to these responses.

From the oval office to its North Korean equivalent, a better demonstration of tyrannical, unstable leadership cannot be found. In the past, tweets from the oval office were anticipated for a profound understanding of societies ills. Presently, however, they are anticipated for a horrendous display of insensitivity to global issues and at best for satirical humor and comic relief. On the other hand we wake up each day dreading to discover an entire country has been decimated by a leader whose ego supersedes his office. Here I was thinking, wonderful things come in small sizes.

While citizens governed by the oval office are divided into three camps; those disappointed by the lack of basic leadership etiquette, those who celebrate it as they had no faith in past leadership modules and those disillusioned by any form of leadership. A different populace exists across the globe in North Korea, citizens restricted from expressing their displeasure for a fear of bodily harm. Both leaders have received cautions and sanctions from the united nations, it’s populace, neighbours, friends and enemies alike, but, all to little or no avail. When we scream for change what do we mean? A departure from the norm, a drastic departure from altruistic leadership? Change on a one-way lane powered by a one size ego, headed to fulfil a single dimension fantasy. Is that what we mean?

Going back a few years to 2015, we cried for change in Nigeria, moving forward to 2017 one cannot help wondering if we got short-changed. The year saw Aso rock riddled with bio-hazards, long periods of sick leave, blatant disregard for certain regions in the country and projection of another regions agenda. Despite public outcry on several platforms decrying the poor state of leadership, the incumbent leader seeks to project himself for leadership in 2019. Is this the change we sort? Change which produced four members of parliament earning post-humus income; if we earn a living what are they earning? A dying?

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What you see, determines what you demand from tomorrow.

Religious leaders weren’t spared, people challenged the need for tithes and general giving to the church. Tithe and offerings of some form has been a part of most religious bodies, a way of sustaining  their physical edifice and structural representative.   However, this act of giving has been abused with some leaders making demands on members regardless of their economic status or wellbeing. Others disburse of said funds without proper transparency or accountability. 

Equally disturbing is the seeming indifference of these leaders to societies ills especially when opportune to speak up or make impact. The lifestyle and speech of some of these leaders often contrasts with the teachings of contentment found in the scriptures.  Thus, I am not surprised by those who view the church as a fraudulent business run by expert con men. With many of them demanding a review and change to the status of the church. What change I ask? That members stop giving? That ministers live in penury? Should we re-evaluate the principles of giving? Where does faith come in?

From the streets of Hollywood to the doors of Sub Sahara Africa, women made their opinions known. A male dominated world wasn’t the way forward anymore, it wasn’t enough to set the table, it wasn’t enough to sit at the table, women want  the right to; restructure the table, populate the table, or simply change the entire setting. Feminism was redefined, sexual harassment was re-evaluated and the merits of marriage scrutinized. Once again the echo of change reverberated through the world, should we be weary of every man? Are all women innocent? If we are equals why are men still largely expected to propose? Why do we silently expect women to back down when an impasse occurs in relationships. Why not stick to merits? Why not take gender off the table?

When we cry for change we must consider the impact of such movements on the future. We must consider the goals of those against us but most importantly we must consider those who are with us, else we wake up to find the prize stolen by another. Must we pull down the entire system, isn’t there something to salvage? Perhaps more importantly we should give our best to understand the system, walking in the shoes of those held by the system before attempting to reform the system, lest we become armchair critics. People who speak for change but do not work for change, either have nothing to lose or have a lot to gain indirectly.

What change do you want?

The bill; women and society

The Nigerian senate a few days ago rejected a bill proposed to eliminate all forms of discrimination against women. A bill that would have set the ball rolling, promoting equality for women across the Nigerian society. It comes as no surprise that the said bill was rejected.

Equality: the ​right of different ​groups of ​people to have a ​similar​ social ​position and ​receive the same ​treatment. Cambridge dictionary.

The state of being equal, especially in status, rights, or opportunities. Oxford dictionary.

“You will never find the real truth among people that are insecure or have egos to protect. Truth over time becomes either guarded or twisted as their perspective changes; it changes with the seasons of their shame, love, hope or pride.”  ― Shannon L. Alder


The above quote is very apt for describing the thought process of the individuals who refuted the bill; standing on the grounds of religion (Christians and Muslims alike) some senators deemed the bill a challenge to deep held beliefs. And to that I say what a load of crap. I can’t speak for Muslims but I know without a doubt that Christianity in no form encourages the subjugation of another human being. It does encourage a wife to submit to her husband: her husband not all men. God in his infinite wisdom knowing how the human mind can misconstrue things equally demanded that the man should love his wife like Christ loved the church (a part of the instruction numerous men choose to overlook) Why? Because love as Christ demanded bears no thoughts of harm towards it’s recipient (neither emotional, psychological or physical harm). Outside the matrimonial relationship the universal  instruction for dealing with people regardless of gender is to live at peace with each other. 

“Like a compass needle that points north, a man’s accusing finger always finds a woman. Always.” ― Khaled Hosseini

And this my friends is the crux of the matter. Everyone knows the guiding rule of the blame game: blame the weaker opponent, the older child accuses the middle child who in turn accuses the last child. The man accuses the woman after all who will come to her defense. They do not want equality because it leaves no room for errors to be swept under the universal carpet ‘it’s a man’s world’. Equality weighs your capacity not your gender; your competence and not your brash ability to intimidate another. Don’t get me wrong the ‘equality bill’ will by no means immediately change our nation, it’s still struggling to do so in more advanced countries. However, passing it into existence sets the stage for progress. But Nigeria recognizes the rights of women : they work, they are educated, they vote. I do not agree, NO. ‘Nigeria’ decided where to re-position women in today’s society, it decided we follow. Pass the bill, set the stage for equitable partnership across board. Set the bar for merit based awards, not sex based awards. (Every pun intended)

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