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Source: Esther A Kat

Ever since I was young I always had milestones set up in my head about where I would be at a certain age in my life. So 20 was the ‘meet-future-husband’ stage. 23 was the engament stage, 24 I would be deciding whether to go with Vera Wang or Oscar De Larenta for the wedding ceremony and 26 I would be welcoming my first bundle of joy, “Tinashe/Munashe/Damian” into my life! Just writing this is cracking me up but I had it all figured out. Right down to the spacing of my children and the type of house I would live in.
Fast-forward a decade later, at 24 I am not even at the ‘meet-future-husband’ stage and I can proudly say I’m grateful for that.
Life really is a lesson and as I grew up I learned that being a woman in a very masoginist society means the rules are very different for us. Nowadays a woman has to put her needs before everyone else just so that she can be capable of taking care of everyone else. By needs I don’t mean getting her nails done (although that is very therapeutic) or having the latest Remy hair (which is also therapeutic) I mean choosing to make the decisions that will lead you closer to your dreams first and then paving the way for others. My mother had the ability to drain herself to the extent that there was nothing there left for her. I always admired that about her. It was a decision she made. But I always knew she wanted me to choose myself first. Put God, my education first, then career before the stereotypical African utopia – marriage.
Not to say I don’t like marriage, I love everything about it. What it means and what it stands for. I definitely want it, but I am old enough to realise that I am defined by more than that. My talents go beyond being a wife. And I say that not to insult the act of being a wife but to insult those who believe your value goes down when you are single. I know I have been treated a certain way because I’m unmarried. These are the things you deal with as a woman. When you’re single you automatically become an easy target for alduterous and sexist attacks. It’s just the truth.
I had people (in the church) making mountains out of moles hills over my dressing. It’s not like I was wearing crop tops to church for goodness sake! But what is decent on a married woman isn’t decent on a single woman because you have the power to ‘stumble your brothers’!? I know single women who are talked about using the ‘P’ word because she just happens to be happy and making her money. Like it’s impossible for a woman to buy herself nice things in this masoginist economy…
Being a woman also, you have rules. He doesn’t. I know a lot of guys who tell their girlfriends to ‘report’ to them if they’re going out but a guy will go out all day ‘errday’ without having to check in with you. To be a woman means you’re a 24 year old who has lived a pretty decent life but somehow your curfew is 5 hours before the sun goes down. ‘You’re a woman, good women are always home early!’
Being a woman means the world, the church, religion has control over what you put on your body. To cover the face or not, to show thigh or not, to show arms or not, to braid hair or not and to wear jewellery or not. There are so many rules that the safest place to be is prison.
Being a woman means you’re single because you’re stubborn, difficult, loose! Because it’s impossible to make the decision to be single, right!?
Being a woman means the explanation for your bad mood will always be PMS! It has nothing to do with the fact that you may be overwhelmed or upset about the snide remarks.
Had I known this is what ‘utopia’ felt like I wouldn’t be picking Oscar for my wedding dress at 24.
I choose to just not care anymore! People will always have an explanation for why you shouldn’t be above them. And as a woman it never goes away. You have to learn to be selfish. You first, then the judgemental Judy’s after. If you aren’t Christian enough because you went to church looking bomb but modest instead of boring and modest then that’s on them not you beau!
Be amazing, be beautiful, be strong, be happy and always be aware of who you really are…

EAK

estherkatonga

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