There’s a woman in my life who has been there all through and she’s the only one I have loved completely.
When I was six years old, she had to stay away from me. The six months while she was away was hell, I kept seeing her shadow everywhere. I couldn’t stay without having her around the house, I’d go to bed crying, I’d head to the dining table with teary eyes as I munch my food. It was worse in school, I couldn’t concentrate. Before that term, my worst end-of-term result had been 3rd position (which happened just once), this particular term when she was not around I came 16th. It was a total disaster.
The theme for the 2017 International Women’s Day was “Be Bold For Change” and this particular woman has exemplified boldness all through my life.
Her first act of courage and boldness was housing me in her stomach for 11 months, you know she went against prevailing medical advice to have me shunted out of her womb dead and persevered to house me no matter how long it took. More than two decades later, the significance of that singular decision continues to be on the rise. It set the tone for countless daunting acts she undertook.
Been raised singlehandedly by one woman is no small feat. This woman did a great job raising me, she gave me the freedom I needed at an early age to express my exuberance and grow on all fours. Countless times, I’ve seen her put her hand on the plough and not look back against all odds.
If there’s anyone who has been bold enough to effect change, it is this woman. I’ve learnt perseverance from her. At a time when the calls for equality and women rights are becoming mainstream, it is worth noting that the woman I have known and loved is one who has never allowed the misguided construct of society to stop her from getting what she wanted.
You know why this is profound? Never for once did I see her fight for something that wasn’t to my benefit. When she was buying her first car, she kept looking for a car that would be easy for me to drive. When she was getting her first mobile phone, she let me make the decision, as she wanted something I’d like. When it was time to make a new hair, she always made sure it was something I’d be comfortable with (in all honesty, I had no clues about female hairstyles either ways).
If society must improve perception towards women, then we must go back to individual experiences and first contact with women. I didn’t grow up seeing women as the weaker gender, on the contrary, I grew up seeing the Woman as the brain and engine. It is that image that has stuck with me on the way up.
If women are to be championed for change, then we must allow them do what they are capable of. I didn’t grow up seeing a woman waiting on society to offer a convenient environment for her to go after her aspirations; I grew up looking up to a woman who took the bull by the horn. Not once, not twice.
At the slightest hint of discomfort for her six-year-old boy, she left all she was doing and came to get me, and believe me, this was not a convenient decision. She knew I couldn’t live without her and she was prepared to offer me that security and assurance of thought.
I have come to know a woman who has never failed to put me at the crux of all the major decisions she’s had to make in life. She is the first woman I have loved; if there’d be a second, she’d have to take lessons from the first to even come close.
This is a tribute to my mother; my best friend.
I love you.