She shall be called Woman

She shall be called woman

A female human being, an adult female person. Aristotle called her an incomplete or mutilated man – “The female is as it were, a defective male”, he wrote. Idiot!

Aside from these scholarly definitions, what does it really mean to be a woman?

It means that you are damned if you do, damned if you don’t. That you will always need vindication if what you stand for is not co-signed by a man. It means that you will be jeered when you try something new. What? You think you have the ‘balls’ for it? In order to be heard, you will have to speak louder, maybe even shout. You will have to hold in your tears when you feel overwhelmed, crybaby!

It means that for you, dumb is good. ‘Dumb’ means sweet. And you should be grateful for being granted the honor to share in this ‘man’s world’. The so called ‘smart’ women are full of it! Full of what? I don’t know, maybe they mean ‘it’ preceded with ‘s’ and ‘h’? These smart ones are arrogant, bitter, loud, demanding, unreasonable and unlikeable. In fact, they are stupid. Is Ignorance bliss? “The educated differ from the uneducated as much as the living from the dead”, said Aristotle.

As a woman, you will be misunderstood, appreciated, loved, despised, admired, abused, cherished, chastised, adorned, tainted, glorified and embarrassed in equal measures. One man will exalt his mother while abusing his wife. Another man will support his wife’s career in the corporate world and frown at the female politician who wants the top seat. You will be expected to work and help bring home the bacon, while at the same time you will have to be the stereotypical ‘bare foot and pregnant’ woman when called upon to tend to the home.

You are allowed to scale the ladder but not to go all the way to the top-you simply don’t belong there. If you dare sing to the tunes of Destiny’s Child’s ‘Independent woman’, you warrant some name-calling for daring to forget who runs the world.

The other day, a male colleague sought my assistance in gluing together a torn 500 shilling note. On this slow Monday morning I am feeling uninspired. The excuse that it is a Monday would normally suffice but not today-the weather has mood swings. It’s a gloomy cold Monday. Insult to injury – I am suffering a headache and a sore throat; call it a hang over if you will. I don’t know if it’s the drinking or the chattering the previous evening that earned me these ailments but it’s not a great day by any standards. I tried coffee but wapi?

I am seated at my desk trying to work. I start looking at some photos I had saved in one of my folders where I come across a full length photo taken with Hailey. I analyze it; Hailey’s pose is so ‘America’s-Next-Top-Model’-ish. She has her right arm folded to her side, the wind is blowing at her ‘Cinderella-inspired’ dress and she is wearing this smile, coy and sweet. Even at her tender age you can already tell she is a ‘woman’ in the making. I know every mother thinks that their kids are the most beautiful on the planet. Shamelessly, I am no exception. Aristotle has an explanation for everything; He says “Mothers are fonder than fathers of their children because they are more certain they are their own”. Tsk, the nerve of that guy!

My analysis of the photo is interrupted by my colleague, who has a roll of cello tape in his hand, he mumbles some greetings even though we’d been through that when we met in the morning. Seeing that he has my attention, he goes on to produce a 500 shilling note from his pocket. “Si you glue this money for me?” It is torn in half.

I ask why he wouldn’t do it himself. If I was to do it, he had to ask really nicely. After all, What it lies in our power to do, it lies in our power not to do – yeah, Aristotle once again. He (my colleague, not the smartass) had tried piecing the torn note together but was unable to do it right, he pleaded. Since I had a headache and couldn’t get into a testimony on stereotypes – as badly as I wanted to- I agreed to help the poor ‘dude’ in distress. “Give it back when you’re through, will you?” he says, tongue in cheek. “Very funny!” I retort.

I placed the 500 shilling note on the table, brought the two pieces together and with the precision of a surgeon, passed the cello tape over it to make a classic merge of the two pieces. Former President Moi’s (or is it Jomo’s) picture was perfect, not even the contour of his shoulders was crooked. Had I been doing this job in my previous life? No. I am a woman. But do I say?

I know I make it sound like I just performed brain surgery but you must understand that as a woman you do everything; sew, clean, cook, love, nurture, you hurt and rejoice with your heart. You piece together torn notes, torn relationships, torn children and even torn men to make them whole again. You find an inner strength inside of you that you never knew you had until you needed it. You hold together those minute pieces of the puzzle that to the outside world seem so negligible but are in essence the integral part of the whole. It’s what we do.

She shall be called ‘Woman’ – Does this one word do justice to who she is and the role she plays? Maybe. Maybe not. Because to some, she is shit while to others she is THE shit. We should however never forget that regardless of how others see us, Happiness depends upon ourselves. Aristotle said that too. What a genius huh?

Cheers to all you wonderful women out there! I would drink to that but I promised myself not to touch alcohol for a while. Nevertheless, be proud of who you are woman!

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