I became a woman the day my father died.
I had been on the phone for a while trying to get an update on his condition. Suddenly, the calls stopped coming through and no-one was picking my calls. I knew he was gone. So, I calmly walked down the stairs and told my husband that my father was gone. I did it, the way a woman would.
Then, I laid on the floor and I cried. I cried for a long while then I picked myself up from the floor stepped out of my room and with my heavy heart, blurry vision and unsettled mind, I corrected my older son for hitting his younger brother on the dinner table. I did it, the way a woman would.
It was the end of the month and there were no groceries in the house so the next day, I went to buy groceries with my neatly outlined grocery list and a reassuring smile for the cashier who asked me if anything was wrong because I kept inputting the wrong pin number into the POS. I did it, the way a woman would.
The next day, I boarded a flight home to see my mother. I came home to meet my mother (my symbol of strength) broken, unable to pray and looking for answers where we could offer none. This woman who had always been my strength now needed to draw from the strength she had deposited in me over the years. So, as I slept on the chair beside her bed, I picked up her bible and for the first time, I read to her “the word of God” that she had on so many occasions read to me. I did it the way, a woman would.
I met my older brothers disturbed, despondent and drained. So, I had to woman up and speak words of encouragement and hope even though I felt like I myself was sinking.
Streams of visitors flooded our home offering words of condolence and admiring my unusual strength and calm demeanour throughout the period. They did not know that on most nights, I would wake up crying then I would stay up praying, asking God for the strength that I will need to walk through this very dark valley, then I would walk out smiling into another day. I did it the way a woman would.
The day my father died, my cover left me – my girlhood disappeared. That naivety and nonchalance that comes with knowing that someone at a click of a dial, has me sorted, vanished. And so, I had to rise to the occasion and do what women for generations have done – Woman Up.
Through this journey, I have discovered that women are strong. We have the ability to bear the heaviest of loads with grace and character whilst unconsciously absorbing other peoples’ pain by placing everyone else’s needs above ours.
But that is why God made YOU & I women. So today, do it the way, a woman would…
Happy International Women’s Day
About The Writer
Amaka is an International Development Expert by day and an aspiring writer who channels her inner “Chimamanda” at night. She believes that everyone, no matter how ordinary-looking or insignificant they seem, has a story that can change the life of another person and she wants to start telling their stories.