Growing up in the Igbo heartland we valued industry. Igbo women are very industrious and hard working. They farm, go to market and feed the household. Their men pay rent (shelter), school fees, medical, clothes and all the other objects of a quality life. Nowadays some progressive Igbo men let their wives do civil service or bank work and buy their own clothes and trinkets.
I used to call myself ‘di bi ulo’ which in Igbo means head of the household. After all as a single mother I paid the rent, the school fees, medical, put food on the table and clothes on the kids back. And because I made the money I made the decisions how to spend it. I used to ask the conservative men in my training workshops why they let their women sit on their ass at home.
If you ask them why they don’t want their women to be in the more ‘masculine’ endeavours – like politics, long distance trade, government, commerce etc etc, they most frequently say they don’t want their women to be ‘manly’. Someone said they don’t want their women to be like me. I took it as a compliment back then.
When I started ayurveda therapy in 2013 I was told my physical symptoms were the outcome of suppressing my feminine energy. I didn’t quite get it then but I attempted to examine it here and here Over the course of the past two years as I took my herbal supplements and did my yoga I started to notice a change. In November my therapist said “Your feminine energy is emerging, and it is so tender”.
(Yeah lady why do you think we buried it so deep underground in the first place.)
Feminine energy – emotions.
“Les you’re too emotional” my friend tells me as I cry on her shoulder over my latest heartbreak.
In 2005 I took an online personality test that said I thought like a man but was more emotional than the average woman. Go figure. So I’m emotional. I can accept it now. I’m feminine – thats ok.
Its not the end of the world – its a great beginning. Being able to acknowledge that I am emotional – very emotional and apparently more so than most women is actually very empowering. I’m not resisting it like I did before when I still believed that emotions were ‘bad’ – in the corporate world and in modern relationships too according to said friend.
“Roll them up into a bundle and toss them aside” she advices.
“Sister thats how I got hyperthyroidism. I almost died you know.”
“Ewo! Is that why my own thyroid is developing goitre?”
“Think about it.”
“Ah! So what should I do? I’m missing my boy o”
“I no go call am o. I no fit be like you. What if he hurts me?”
“You’ll survive. Look at me – I survive and I still believe in love. Just next time I’ll make sure its someone that can handle my emotional needs.”