Russian Writer Fyodor Dostoevsky in1839, as a young boy, wrote a letter to his brother. That letter contained these words:
‘Woman is a mystery: If you have spent your entire life trying to puzzle it out, do not say you have wasted your time. I occupy myself with this mystery because I want to be a woman.’
The underlined words are those I have taken the liberty of substituting. When Dostoevsky wrote this, he wrote ‘man’. I have simply reworded to apply to me. Before I stumbled upon this words, I had been trying to define a persistent feeling; and the moment I read this sentence, I knew that feeling had been captured.
I have always been a bit obsessed with the female psyche and some people have found this strange, especially since I am female. My gender’s behavior had been a bit of a head-scratcher for me (as I am sure my behavior is to everyone else). This might be because growing up, I was told I looked like a boy, So I guess I started to mentally and emotionally function like one. It took a lot to make me cry and in my opinion, if you asked, going to the market was the worst form of human cruelty. It didn’t matter that my head was full of long hair and I was soft and fragile but because I look like my dad, I was somehow compared to the male gender. Thanks to the evolution of my face, those days are long behind me. However, I have to acknowledge my near scientific fascination with the mystery called the female is as a result of ‘dem days’.
Over the years, thanks to the beauty I see around me and certain writers and poets, I have come to love being female. I have also embraced all our craziness. Now i can go through a roller coaster of a day, i.e. sad in the morning, optimistic by mid-day, explosive by early afternoon, weepy at night and not be the least bit exhausted. I just love being female now. My evolution will happen this way: first and always I am female, then a girl, later a woman and finally one day I will be an old woman.
A poem that has helped me along this journey is one written by Eve Ensler. She is the famous playwright of The Vagina Monologues. Her poem I Am An Emotional Creature is one of the best I have ever read .This is perhaps the loudest call I have heard for females to embrace their complexities. The lines I love in this poem are :-
I am an emotional creature
Things do not come to me
As intellectual theories or hard shaped ideas
They pulse through my organs and legs
And burn up my ears…
I love that I do not take things lightly
Everything is intense to me
Even though these are some of my favorite lines, I am not really emotional and things do come to me as intellectual theories and sometimes as hard shaped ideas but the theme of the poem is not to be ashamed and embrace your natural tendencies; and so I have.
I am in the woman stage of my life. I have left childish ways behind but not my child-like spirit; it feeds my creativity and provides me with the naivete I need to sustain and accomplish my goals. I have taken up more responsibilities and look forward to extending my family. When I hear people say, “having my own family” it just does not totally sound and feel right.
Other women have come before me and paved the way and this makes me glad. Sometimes I study women who have ‘conquered’ the world to see if they have embraced womanhood and how they show it. I realize through watching them that womanhood cannot be given a single definition. There are women who have found themselves and let go of their self-consciousness. Their oblivion as they walk and let their saggily wiggily bellies accompany them is evidence of this. They haven’t let themselves go but having a six pack is obviously not crucial in their scheme of things. Their lack of vanity and confidence can shame any young girl hiding her love handles in a loose top.
There are also those that have found and stored up wisdom along the way. I identify them by how they understand me when I am rambling and struggling to get my points across. Hours later, my head still reverberates with the simple truths and guidance heard from them. Then there are the warm and maternal women who spread their arms and give me a welcoming hug at our first introduction; one can never have enough loving mothers.
There is no need to get stuck being a girl; it gets ridiculous after a certain age.
I look forward to my progress in the woman stage. Not so much for the saggy belly but for the warm hugs I hope to give out and the wisdom I hope to have acquired along this journey of womanhood. With a bit of luck, anytime I meet a young bewildered girl, I should at least be able to point her in the right direction.
The emotional and physical inconsistencies along the journey are just the aggregates that turn and metamorphose a girl into a woman.
… Yeah, I also studied Geology in the University and sometimes it seeps into my writing, so there you have it.