Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Welcome To Womanhood: Nine Inspiring Stories from Nine Inspiring Women



I asked an incredible bunch of every day women to write about an interesting concept; The first experience where they knew for certain that they had grown into women and were no longer girls.  Here is what they had to say.....



  • Being A Woman in Today's World Means... "As I get older and start to understand the complexities of being a woman across the globe, the meaning of it can be difficult to articulate. Each of us live a different set of privileges and life experiences" ~ Tania Clarke Read More Here



  •  Menstration: "It didn’t happen instantly. But that’s when it started. That day, I realized that I could no longer afford to act like a child. I couldn’t let myself be walked over. I couldn’t let anyone (besides my parents since I was still a minor, hehe) make decisions for me. I had to use my voice" ~ Chipo Read More Here...



  • What Makes a Woman a Woman?: "Women are not made in a single moment! It takes time to build a beautiful & intelligent woman of virtue, some more than others. Truth is, you will find 30 year old girls & 19 year old women." ~ Liz Byamugisha Read More Here... 



  • Growing Into A Woman:  "As a girl leaving adolescence and approaching adulthood, the most important thing I have learned is to never stop seeking knowledge. Whether it’s knowledge on finances, fitness, the arts, or simply how things work."  ~ Masani Baily Read More Here



  • Living Your Best Single Life: Long story short, this book made me realize it was okay to “eat off the fine china.” I needed to embrace living. I realized I had been waiting for my life to “begin” (cue Tangled song), but, in fact, my life was already in full swing." ~  Allysse Shank Read More Here...




  • Advice to Your Future Self: "Always remember we never run from the rain, so please let it cleanse you on days when you need it the most. Disappear from the crowd a lot, it helps with finding your peace and joy through prayer."~ Sinawo Bukani Read More Here...




  • Marriage: "You know I´ve been thinking...perhaps it´s about the pause. The being. The here. The now. The joy. The satisfaction. Maybe we should stop setting the goals and just BE. “Enjoy the journey” as they say. Dig deeper, pick up that relationship with God. I recommend that you continue surrounding yourself with incredible women who inspire you and who fill you with that powerful energy which flows with every beat of your heart." ~  R.  Read More Here...

 

  • Motherhood: "Eventually, My husband returns to work. It’s  now just me and our baby. There is so much to do, and that the small voice is back again doubting me, “You are never going to manage without extra help!” ~ Jean Wanyana Read More Here...



  • Love: " ‘You’re here’, you say to me, with a slight smile, your eyes never once leaving mine. The neighbor goes quiet for the first time in a long time, looking at each one of us in turns as he tries to understand, no, to absorb what is happening. Everything stands still. This right here, this is one of those moments. " ~ Kullein Ankunda  Read More Here...

Thank you to these lovely ladies for sharing their stories. What was your moment? What is your story?

Friday, 8 April 2016

Welcome to Womanhood: Jean Wanyana




 
Jean Wanyana


March 24th
 
Fort Portal Uganda.

Easter Monday morning.

Cloudy temperatures about 20°C. 

It’s very quiet place with not much to see but , one, two or three nurses and a couple of people living the chapel quietly.

Painful noises are coming out of the hospital hall. I try to take a walk around the Labor Ward , but the sight of  these tall grown up women(size 16-18) in so much pain, is enough for me to start nervously awaiting my fate.

 I am four-six feet tall ,and a size eight. According to the doctors and the few experienced  mothers that I know, all of these are red flags for a natural first birth. I am now convinced that since am not in so much pain like the others, I will obviously NOT have a natural birth like I had anticipated. They will cut me open…

Thirty minutes later

 I start experiencing excruciating back pain. I started vomiting I’m wondering why my body was malfunctioning, none of the pregnancy books I read over and over again during my pregnancy ever mentioned these malfunctions at this point. Little did I know these where signs of a progressive labor.

It’s now only me and my husband in the delivery room. He is too busy on the phone or behind the camcorder(but that’s another story ...). As I experience excruciating pain a small voice inside me is saying, “Something is not right, you should be screaming and shouting like everyone else”, “Perhaps you will deliver 40 hours from now”, “You could be going for C-section”


Ten minutes later 
 
The baby’s head appears. I’m ready to push.  My husband rushes to fetch the nurse. When she arrives, she asks me not to push because she says I’m not ready. But I didn’t know how to not to push!?  At this point I can’t help but push. 

My baby is born. He is now in my arms. At this particular moment, I know I am a woman not a girl.

The next day

We head home. But home, is not the same home. It’s now me, my husband and our child. My mother  is not there to hold her first grandchild. She will not advise me. She will not come to my home to nurse me. She will  not come to my home to spoil me. My mother passed away in 1996.

The emotions engulf me and I start to cry, then I remember that where I come from, mothers are not supposed to cry.  Apparently the tears will kill your baby. Mother’s must be strong. Once  again realize I am a woman not a girl.

Four days later

Eventually, My husband returns to work. It’s  now just me and our baby. There is so much to do, and that the small voice is back again doubting me, “You are never going to manage without extra help!” 

With a tear in my heart,  I say “ I am woman not a girl.”  Then pull myself together nurture my child, and to my surprise, years later, it turned out well.

Jean Wanyana is now a devoted mother of three! :) 

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Wednesday, 6 April 2016

Welcome to Womanhood: Rebecca Gindele





Dear Queen (Queeny to be more affectionate).

You knew you were a woman the day you realized that running from your marriage was not an option for you.

 It would always catch up with you and running is not brave or difficult, it would be the easy escape. It would always catch up because it´s not about him, it´s about the dynamic you seek and cultivate in your relationships – not just with men but with friends and family too. It can be slightly egotistical – let´s be honest Queeny – you like to be at the centre so it´s convenient taking responsibility so that the focus is on you. 

But, how can running be easy? Imagine the heartbreak, the shame of having given up, the public explanations of why. Running is easy because when you run, you decide that imperfect isn´t enough. Running avoids the realization that you Queeny are not perfect and neither is he but that love is the accepting of the imperfections.  Imagine that, you don’t have to be right and you don´t have to be the best person, be it the most intelligent, the most hard working and moral woman Edinburgh produced; because there are no comparisons. 

Everyone is just living a different context – a different truth. Judging and being unsatisfied; those are your crutches. 

How can we satisfy you Queeny? 

You know I´ve been thinking...perhaps it´s about the pause. The being. The here. The now. The joy. The satisfaction. Maybe we should stop setting the goals and just BE. “Enjoy the journey” as they say. Dig deeper, pick up that relationship with God. I recommend that you continue surrounding yourself with incredible women who inspire you and who fill you with that powerful energy which flows with every beat of your heart.

Relationships are important to you – embrace that – smile to yourself remembering the truth that you are a woman of courage and hope, who loves the world and cares greatly for the people in it. 

When you moved – moving far from friends, family, jobs, and familiar locations – you started with two suitcases and all 28 years of experiences, love and self. What you have built these past two years has needed you to reach deep inside of yourself and very gently pry open you´re core. You´ve grown as a woman and opened your eyes to see yourself more clearly and in seeing yourself you can see the world. This is your mission, to understand the world, to be kind to the world, to be compassionate to the world; by first being understanding, kind and compassionate to yourself. Being loved so unconditionally, and making that journey with this man from stranger – friend – lover – partner – wife has had such a profound impact because, as you learn to understand someone else, it has set the scene for your own searching.
Thank you for realizing how thankful you are for unconditional love. That someone can love the whole of you – the bare truths – means that you are really not so bad after all. Did you hear that Queeny? You really aren’t a bad person, you don’t have anything to prove. This is your chance to free yourself of this burden – I suspect it has weighed you down in the past.  You don’t have to prove to anyone that you are a good person and so stop trying to be invaluable and responsible for anything other than your own beautiful self. 

Believe that you are beautiful – know that your healing has served you well to understand yourself but that knowing yourself is about accepting this self of yours. So now all that’s left is for me to wish you courage as you continue your journey. Be brave,be kind. Continuing being and continue finding joy in that being. You alone are enough.

Thankfully,
Rebecca 

Rebecca Gindele has worked with various development and human rights NGOs, she has a master´s degree in Human Rights with a focus on international monitoring and implementation mechanisms for women´s rights and has studied conflict resolution. She is very happily married, currently living in Colombia and enjoying working on local peace building projects.

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Friday, 1 April 2016

Welcome to Womanhood: Chipo Biti

Chipo Biti



The day I got my first period, I thought I was dying. My family and I were on holiday at the time. It was early in the morning and I’d woken up with a strange tummy ache. When I went to the bathroom and found dark red spots on my underwear, my heart sank.


“I’m dying.”


Some strange fear and shyness prevented me from telling my mother what was going on. I didn’t know what was going on. The word “period” did cross my mind but this couldn’t be it, I’d thought. I was expecting something else – I’ll spare you the details.


I spent the next couple of days bathing multiple times – fortunately, the flow was minimal so there was no damage done. When the bleeding ceased, I sighed with relief. I thought my life had been spared miraculously.


The next month, there was no pain. Just a weird sensation in my belly. I thought I could ignore it. Until a teacher pulled me aside at school and told me there was a big stain on the back of my dress. I turned and saw the huge, red mark and I burst into tears.


She calmed me down, wrapped a jersey around my waist and gave me a pad.


From that day, though, I treated my period like it was something to be ashamed of. Whenever I needed pads, I’d go to my mom and whisper “Mama, I need pads.”


When I started buying them by myself, I’d buy a heap of other stuff so I could hide my pads. And when the person at the till swiped them, I’d look away.


That carried on for a couple of years until I stopped to question why I was so embarrassed. Menstruation is a normal process for a female. Why am I acting like I’m cursed?


Why am I acting like I’m an abomination of some sort?

Why am I ashamed?


From then to this day, I walk into the supermarket boldly and buy my gear with no shame. I’ll make eye contact with anyone that glares at me.


Something changed from that day on as well. I learned to stop walking around like I owed everyone an apology. My early teenage years consisted of me walking around ready to take the blame for anything and everything, and doing anything to please those around me.

I preferred to be the quiet kid who did her work and interfered with no one’s business. I rarely spoke up. Shyness was an understatement. I was scared to try out new things too. I feared taking leaps of faith. If there was a school play, I’d apply to play a role the equivalent of a tree because I feared being rejected if I tried out the bigger roles.

I rarely partook in class discussions in fear of ending up in a debate. I hated speaking. I hated myself, to be honest. I was unhappy with my appearance.


But on that day I decided to stop being ashamed of my period, I also opened myself up to being open to being…me. Well, learning to embrace who I was – as young as I was.


I made friends. I explored my creativity. I learned to use my voice.

It didn’t happen instantly. But that’s when it started. That day, I realized that I could no longer afford to act like a child. I couldn’t let myself be walked over. I couldn’t let anyone (besides my parents since I was still a minor, hehe) make decisions for me. I had to use my voice.

I had to embrace myself.


I had to accept that I was no longer a girl. Not a small one or a big one.

I’d become a woman and it was time for me to accept it, embrace it and rock the hell out of it.


It’s been several years since that day.


And though I’ve had a couple downers, I’m still moving, still embracing, and still slaying the hell out of this life. Well, getting there.


Hehe.


But it’s all good nonetheless. I’m a woman. 


Unapologetic.


Unashamed.


I am.



Chipo Biti is a writer, blogger and speaker. Her main blog is mindmymind.wordpress.com where she pours out many things that go on in her mind. Chipo has a love for helping people and seeing them reach their goals. You can find her on Twitter: @FayBiti.

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