During the first iteration of Goldinwords I believe, before the Great Purge that forced us to rebuild this blog from scratch, I wrote about a few characteristics I believed the quintessential woman should possess. Seeing as today’s International Women’s Day, I decided to go over the original piece and see how a few years could/would change how I would rephrase or polish up this piece. It turned out…well, you decide for yourself… 😉
I honestly don’t remember where I first heard that nugget of gold but it’s been one of my central beliefs ever since.
So this’s basically my answer to a question that bugs me when I hear people indiscriminately dropping that term left and right…especially in our social setting in Ghana. One would even ask if it’s still relevant enough to bother about nowadays… is she a Lady?
Just like her counterpart’s, the term ‘Lady’ has been gravely abused to the point that we declare every woman – usually whom we don’t know by then – a ‘lady’ by default. It’s sad…unfortunate…catastrophic! even, on some occasions, to misuse the term. I guess it’s because we mostly see it more as a term than a qualification. You know it is, right? A Qualification, I mean. It’s kinda like the way doctors would feel if there were short 6-month online courses to attaining your MBChB…or if the President were to be elected to Office based on a carefully planned game of eenie-meenie-miney-moe…or what your parents would think of you choosing your fiancé based on a phone call after a Crusade…lol.
My point is simply that it doesn’t, and shouldn’t, come cheap to anyone. Because it isn’t…cheap. And if you need any convincing, let me assure you that just walking about during your normal day, or even flipping through Facebook pages, will convince you once and for all that ‘the Lady’ is a dying breed – it should be a priority that she be revered, protected and (dare I say) loved for it.
Our contemporary Women’s Lib. advocates would have one believing that the man of today (or any other day!) would love more than anything else to see the woman of today subservient and cowed to his will. I’m not saying that there exist no such er…’backward’ individuals today, but that’s not the whole picture. Newsflash: even (especially?) the man of today needs a Lady!
Since I don’t have a shortlist of the attributes of a Lady, this format of mine should help me draw at least a rough sketch for you – so bear with me a while longer.
A Lady is Strong.
The Lady is a woman who does not need to be reassured of her femininity. She already revels in it. She is beautiful as she is, and she knows it. She seeks no meagre acceptance by bowing her head to indignities that do not become her. Booty Call?? Are you INSANE?! For your information, her ‘booty’ is not on call! It has never been, and will never be at your whims and caprices – it has value. Nude pics?? Boy, are you high?! Who do you think you’re talking to here?! Does she seem like that kind of woman?! Step back yo! But because she knows it could all get to her head, so she controls it masterfully. You say she’s beautiful, she agrees with you, laughs about it, and points out that you’re a wonderful person too – and she’s got a new friend, you! She doesn’t need your unsolicited-for support to feel like a Person – she’s good, thanks.
The Lady is very aware of her limitations but rather than deny them or just be scared of them, she prepares for whenever she has to face them and makes sure that though they may remain to mar her beauty, she’s never afraid of them. Forget about her selling herself short! She knows her worth and if you’re not willing to match her in might, you’d just better hit the road because better will come along – she’s not buying! A side effect of this is how difficult it becomes for you to make her feel ‘less’ – she’s stared into the darker recesses of her attributes and abilities and has come to terms with her shortcomings and is all for improving on them now. If you have a problem, with that then…too bad.
The Lady sees no gain in scrabbling to grab the pants out of the sluggardly man’s hands. So he’s lazy: that’s his cross! She recognises the true purpose of her position as his Beacon – so that whenever he gets lost she can keep on shining so he makes his way back. She knows that it benefits them more if he keeps his throne, instead of squabbling with him over ownership. Simply because she knows (and if he’s blessed enough to be wise, he knows also), that the reins of power lie within her hands, no matter the relationship! Husband-Wife; Boyfriend-Girlfriend; Mother-Son; Daughter-Father – it’s always the same. Just think about the number of these alliances that have been destroyed by the woman…and complex it against the number that have been utterly saved by this woman known as the Lady. The man may have all the power by his nature but it never achieves whatever it sets out to do without Focus: a woman, no, a Lady. In a good relationship, the woman is the neck that supports the head (the man) – but remember that the head faces whatever direction the neck turns!
The Lady has had her fill with fairy tales of Prince Charming and Briar Rose during her youth. She knows now she was never meant to be swept away (perish the thought!) by his love and with loving him at the cost of scorning her original God-given brains and wisdom. She also knows that he was never and will never be Prince Charming. But she is absolutely convinced that providing he’s the right man for her – her Gentleman – their love and laughter, pains and tears together could, and would, leave real princes and princesses gnashing their teeth with envy. She dreams with her heart and mind.
And the Lady knows how to rev him up or calm him down. She knows the exact strings to pull to set him off at a run or to hold him to a halt. She knows exactly how to manipulate him when he just can’t see in front of him. But she has learnt when to apply her arts. She has also made herself strong enough to let him make the mistakes he has to for himself. But she always has his back, and he knows it. She knows she is his last defence and does not abuse it. For she realises that he’s always wanted someone who can help direct his path, but will only submit to one who does not go mad with the power over him that he originally voluntarily gave up to her.
But the Lady is trustworthy. She’s the Ear that keeps on listening even when she wants to shout. She can be counted on to build up when everyone around breaks down or just doesn’t care enough to help. She doesn’t entertain malicious gossip or anything that would divide friends or family. And the ironic thing is that the gossips become her most ardent followers – for good and bad – until it reaches a point that since they would starve if they relied solely on the bad information about her, they end up spreading only the good about her to other people instead!
By no means is the Lady incomplete on her own! She doesn’t need a man to validate her existence; but wisely doesn’t need to condemn or look down on others who might have men in their lives in order to ‘bear’ her own solitude. She’s realised somewhere along the line that it’s better for her to stay alone and happy than to bow to the pressures of society and against her better judgement link herself to a man who (no matter how wonderful he is) will never satisfy her because she was just not made that way.
She’s not an angel, thank God no! But you remember I said she was strong? She is strong because whenever she is afraid she tries to be just a little bit brave. And that’s enough. She’s strong because she doesn’t hide her fear, weakness or tiredness by sweeping it under the rug. She’s strong because she lets you soothe her when she’s tired. She acknowledges that she’s just human and cannot always have all the pieces. She knows she can’t do it all on her own and knows when to ask for help.
Every woman has all this power in-built as part of her original programming, it’s the choice to express it…
In my final analysis, I guess it all comes down to being aware of it and choosing to use it to build, and not destroy: that’s what makes a true Lady.
…all in my own humble opinion, of course…