Every girl has a dream for when she becomes a woman. It’s not a secret, nor a mere saying. Every girl I see out there holds a precious gem in her heart; a vision of what she hopes to be ten or twenty years into the future. Usually it’s a bright vision with lots of achievements and happiness, not to mention marital bliss and the wonders of romantic love. Sometimes this dream comes from the society that expects her to achieve certain milestones in her lifetime – finish school, attend college/university, get a job, get married and have children, in that order.
From the time she is born, everyone expects her to one day hold her own baby in her arms, look after her husband, keep the house sparkling clean, accommodate in-laws without complaining, and a host of other things expected of a good wife. On top of that, she still has to maintain a career in order for the family to survive the economic demands of the 21st century. She has to be IT literate in order to qualify for the best jobs. She has to be able to effectively juggle work and family life in order not to lose her present job. She has to compete with tough male executives in order to stay on the company’s Board of Directors.
The dream may change from time to time as she grows older, but it’s what keeps her positive about life and enables her to endure everything that comes her way. If ever that dream is shattered through pain or adversity she loses some of her inner joy and strength. She loses a part of her real self. The pain of things like rape, emotional abuse, divorce, unwanted pregnancy, or a forced marriage at a tender age all serve to make her less than who she ought to be. She cries out in sorrow, lashes out in bitterness, withdraws inwardly and keeps quiet, or closes the door of her heart and says no to love. All of this, she was not prepared for because she still had her dream; she was still hoping to fulfill her vision.
I know a lot of women out there can identify with these. If you do know what I’m talking about, then you also know how it feels to have a dream and then lose it because of things you hadn’t planned for. But it doesn’t have to be that way. We can still carry our dreams despite everything we have been through, and still find them fulfilled. We can defy pain and work our way back to implementing what we’ve always wanted to do.
Most of all, we can teach our girls that pain and discomfort cannot keep them from fulfilling their dreams. Yes, things may be tough in the world in which we live and we may even suffer disadvantages in life but that does not define us. There are girls out there who need help in navigating the walks of life. They need to learn how to handle their pain with endurance and not let it keep them from succeeding in life. Those of us who have endured and have come out on top can surely find a way to teach the rest how to do it. That is part of mentorship.
As a final note, I’ve written some lines on what I once pondered about in relation to the girl-child. It’s a cry from the bottom of her heart – maybe you can hear that cry……
I’m an African girl
Lost in a world of chaos
Moving masses shove me about
Out of the way, out of sight
Like a floating leaf in the desert
I look for answers among my peers
They tell me lots of things, but I fear
I’ve been abandoned far too long
Like unshaven beard on an old man’s face
I need a pat on the back when I work
I need to be heard when expressing my fears
That cousin or uncle who fancies my skin
Is the last thing I need in my quest to survive
I need to be nurtured into a woman
Who can take care of others and build a home
I need a friend, mentor and teacher
To guide me through life and make it easier
Who will I go to when I need a friend?
Who will spend time to teach me well?
Who will caress my soul with hope?
Who will beside me sit and listen
When words tumble out with tears and fear?
Who will separate the dark from light,
The truth from false, the real from fake?
Oh sisters out there! You’re my ray of hope
You can be my mother today
And I’ll be your daughter’s friend tomorrow.
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Edna owns a writing service for articles, proposals, policies and transcriptions. Find some of her creativity on aluoch.blogspot.com