Dear Hard Girls,
I am overwhelmed by how you received the first article for the column last week. It tells me that you have faith in me and you believe in the vision of this column. You are the real MVPs and I am happy to be associated with you.
I implore you to join hands in empowering as many women as possible with the message this column brings every week. Share the link with your friends and family. This week, share it with your boyfriends, fathers and brothers too. They too must hear our message.
Read on and I will look forward to your feedback.
Growing up in a home that cherished farming of both crops and livestock, I had a curious mind. For instance, I wondered whether men gained weight when they were castrated, just like other mammals. Till date, this question haunts me. I almost asked my clinical pharmacy lecturer last week, but I couldn’t bring myself to do it.
Apart from the silly questions, the farm also taught me very important life lessons. I noticed that when a new fowl was brought, it was bound to the feet and tied to a tree. After a while when the ropes that bound them were loosed, it took a while for the fowls to take cognizance of their freedom. Sometimes, it took a ‘shush’ to wake them up to their new reality.
Let me bring this home. Several years back, women were bound. Cords of culture, religion and ignorance were our bane and we could not break free from it. These made us soft, spineless and oppressed. We were peripheral members of society.
Today, the chains that bound us have been broken, to a very large extent. We have precedence; the achievements of many women across the globe and some legislation, although more can be done in this regard, especially, education to spur any woman on to be an achiever. Despite this, many a woman still feels chained to the old cords that bind. Even the few who have noticed the freedom play it safe in our free world, keeping ourselves around the coop and not departing too far from the place where we were once held. Only a few have mastered the art of soaring and playing in the leagues that were until now the preserve of men.
This begs the question why.
Most of us are afraid. Before I started this column, I had a chat with Elikem who thought it was time to write on women empowerment issues. Very usual of me, I had an excuse. Then he said something, “Able, the only way to defeat your fear is to face it. You can’t run from it.”
I denied running from doing this. However, deep down, I knew the truth. I was scared. I dreaded how people will brand me a feminist, not that I have not had my friends call me that several times. The thought of people slandering and maligning me at the least provocation gave me the creeps. I felt inadequate. I was afraid that I would make mistakes along the line and that people would forget that I am human and that I also make mistakes. I was afraid they would judge me by my faults. I was afraid of losing myself in the quest of doing me.
You can relate, right?
Elikem was right. I had to face my fears. And face them I did! That is how come you are reading this article now. I have a strong conviction about what I am doing with this column and I will do all in my power to empower the lady next to me to aspire to greatness.
Many women are safe players, playing by the book. We have what it takes to do exploits, yet we stay in the safe zone. Why dabble in little waters when the shore is available? “It is okay if only our feet touch the river of success. Let the men go in full body,” we say. We are satisfied with mediocrity. We celebrate ordinary achievements and after that, make beds in them and rest on our laurels.
We must take risks. We need women in the front. Not just a few women – many of us. This article is not a call for a few. I am reaching out to the hearts of each of you. I beseech you to believe in yourself. Make a resolve to be the best you can be and be determined to attain the greatest height available to you.
I am not writing to you as one who has attained my goals. What sets me apart is that I believe in humanity, I am one who believes in the woman and one who knows that women like everyone else can make it in life. This journey is not for the faint-hearted, the safe player and the underachiever. It is going to cost us. We must count our cost and be ready to pay them at each turn. As a matter of fact, the cost of our decision to succeed in life is one reason for which we should come together, unite in this resolve and build one another up.
Let me reiterate a point I made the last week. This platform is not about me. It is about every woman. I have the hope that this place will be a community where we all will share our achievements, our fears and our challenges. It is my desire that one day, many young people who need inspiration will log on to this platform and find it. Even more, I believe that one day, when you tell the story about how you made it, #HardGirlBut will feature prominently in it.
I, therefore, make another passionate appeal to you to come on board. Feel free to share your stories with me either in the comment section or send me a mail via firstname.lastname@example.org. Remember that, when you have the right women holding one of your hands in support, you can defeat the world with the other. Together, together.