Sadly, the new order of my life didn’t turn out to be for my good, as I jumped from one guy to another seeking some sort of validation, to become complete, to be reminded of how pretty I looked, how much he was needing me or why he liked me. Oh, how I loved the attention, it took me on many hunting sprees to feed this newly found new obsession, but that wasn’t me. It couldn’t have been. I had not been raised that way. My mother’ words at 13 were, “Get yourself an education, get employed and your man shall give you the respect due to you.” This was how I would get my voice and the recognition I was apparently in dire need of. Yes, that was the plan.
Had that life lesson not been disrupted by her sister while I sat at the front of the class absorbing all that I needed to know before graduating into the practical lesson. I’m pretty sure she didn’t mean to if she meant for anything at all. She had her things in order, qualifications and a permanent job, the perfect starter pack! You would think she was living the life I dreamt of, surprisingly neither of that nudged her man to respect her. Unless if respect in the urban dictionary was now defined as confiscating your spouse’s earnings and using it as you saw fit without her consent. At that time, I didn’t think it unfair. I said to myself, that is just how some things are. That my uncle did all that because she allowed it. You know when you are young and overzealous and assume that no one can get in your way. That was me then. I wondered how it was possible that an educated woman would become a prisoner in her own house, how nothing she had achieved would help her govern, or have a say in how her parliament was run. I was confused and that confusion swept me into unending circles of crazy, in search of a method that would work for me. I fell short of many stereotypes because I was merely built from dynamic backgrounds, tailor made to my own personal experiences, producing a hybrid between what I refused to accept and what I thought should be practiced instead, stood in limbo trying to figure me out but hit a dead end each time I discovered a new path.
Much too quickly, I became a disappointment to my mother’s teachings. Teachings that had been passed down generations longer than my memory could remember. My mother, whom society would scorn or praise depending on who I became or rather chose to become. For she had taught me well, and I heard her. When she said I should know how to cook, when she said I should sit well and cover up when I dress, that makeup was for trophy girls and not wife material. I heard her. She gave me the standard upon which I would refer to my entire life. “Mukadzi chaiye anodai…haadai..” I heard her well the first time, and she continued to make every God given day a constant reminder of what I should or should not do. And I beckoned to those principles. I tried my best to because I wanted to be the best. I wanted to live up to her expectations and make her proud.
Watching her sister, however, who seemed like she was the perfect wife you know the kind of person you look at and say, “That is who I want to be when I grow up.” dawned new realizations. She did all that my mum was initiating me to be able to do, but I never thought she was happy in her marriage. I was too young to understand why, but I knew when the protector becomes corrupt, the ‘protected’ become the oppressed. So what then did women, particularly married women do to be happy? I had thought after the bedroom rituals and feeding everyone, they would sit with their feet on the coffee table and call it a good day, and it just was not that simple. Meaning it was almost always inevitable, yes? I didn’t want that kind of life, but I couldn’t tell my mother that. That I didn’t want to be either her or her sister. She was not wrong to teach me all this, and not only because she was my mother, but as a woman I understand how important it is to be able to fend for your family. But I didn’t want to be raised to be somebody’s when I could just be somebody. I didn’t want to be wed into an ownership regime, becoming one to me was about bringing equally into the partnership, or is it not? Like the woman of Proverbs 31 who I know to have been industrious and a leading woman, whose husband led only from the city gates where he beamed with pride at choosing the perfect mate. However, I am sure that man listened to his wife when she spoke, considered her words of wisdom as the finest advice he would get, commended her for the work she did, complimented her in public and never raised his hand or voice at her.
This again is not the end #donthatemeyet