‘I am woman’ Nicole John nicole@pmbfever.co.za

2016-05-25 06:00
PHOTO: supplied Nicole John.

PHOTO: supplied Nicole John.

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WHILE growing up, I thought I had a pretty good idea about what being a woman meant. Most of the women around me had a lot in common – they had jobs, were married, were mothers and were involved in their community.

At that time women in their early twenties were already married with a child or one on the way. When I look back now, I ask myself, “how did they do it?”

The 21st-century woman has a very different idea of what it is to be a woman, or at least I do.

There are different types of women and I have come to know a few. Some unmarried, some without children, some starting their career, some as homemakers, some young, some old and some somewhere in between.

Each of them with their own perspective on life, on what they believe womanhood is and each with their own set of priorities.

It would be naive to think there is one definition of what it is to be a woman. I think each person has their own idea, which is shaped by experience and by other female influences in their life.

Womanhood is more than biology and social constructs.

Unfortunately, human nature is such that people tend to categorise a woman and put her into a box of typical categories, which include traditional or modern, conservative or outgoing, the list goes on.

Recently I’ve been thinking about exactly what it means to be a woman in 2016, and how this is different from being a girl.

When do you start referring to yourself as a woman and your friends as women? Is it when you turn 21? Get your first job? Get married? Have a baby?

Along with most things these days, the lines are blurred and there is no right or wrong way to be a woman. Women can choose whether or not to get married, have a baby, buy a house, stay at home and raise children, the scenarios are endless.

Yes we all, and I speak for those who are single and in their twenties, go to family events where an older “aunty” reminds us that our “biological clock is ticking”. But, for the most part, in an effort to be modern, there is no one telling us what it means to be a woman anymore. This sometimes feels even more challenging because now, without overbearing families and the pressures of twenties society and its norms, we are left with endless possibilities, and with those possibilities, comes something far scarier … choices.

I think that the 21st-century woman wants to be independent. So we try every day to get to a point when we know we can look after ourselves.

Too often we see marriages fail, families break up and women left broken. We try not to emulate that. We try our best to be all we can be and have all that we could possibly have to make us feel good about ourselves.

The daunting task is ensuring that we make the right decision.

I read a blog once by Corinne Blumcoach, in which she wrote: “It is our sensitivities that make us compassionate, our feelings that offer empathy. It is the cracks that inspire us, and our struggles that strengthen us. It is the courage that comes from within that gives us true confidence.” Being a woman is difficult and it is a challenge every day to make the right decisions and do the right thing. Being a woman is about recognising the strengths that come with being a woman – the strength of your heart, your mind and your body.

You might be afraid, but you must move beyond that fear to define your womanhood, and not allow somebody else to define it for you.

I enjoy being a woman, and I look forward to the woman I am still becoming. I especially enjoy the fact that I can never be “put into a box”.

I enjoy the fact that I can take part in a conversation about Formula One racing and know exactly what I’m talking about, and in the next moment I can be in the kitchen cooking and baking.

The possibilities of being a woman are endless and we are lucky to have come this far.

I do, of course, want to be a wife and mother, maintain my identity as child of God, a daughter, a sister, and a good friend - that’s my idea of womanhood, and I love it.

So when I wake up every morning, thinking about the countless tasks set out for me that day, I know I can conquer them.

I know I can reach my goals and climb to new heights because, as the Australian songwriter Helen Reddy wrote: “I am strong, I am invincible, I am woman.”

I know I can reach my goals and climb
to new heights because,
as the Australian
songwriter Helen Reddy wrote: ‘I am strong,
I am invincible,
I am woman’

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