The Girl, will be a woman someday..

When I was little, I could not understand why my brothers could do somethings, and I couldn’t, because I was girl. That was then beginning of a very long rebellion. It started with the demand for my parents to change my name from one I will not mention now, to Juliet because I read a children’s version of Romeo and Juliet. It has continued till now, when I still find it hard to conform, even though I am not likely to get into conflict with anyone about my choices.

The decision to be a writer, and a teacher, may not have come as much of a surprise to anyone in my family. I guess only the in-betweens shock them really.

I watch girls struggle with themselves, with body image issues, with general lack of self esteem, with life choices, with career choices. I am not anywhere near the epitome of success. I just know that a whole lot of girls experience some of the weird challenges life has thrown to me. So here I will voice some of them. Not because I have found the solutions but because I need to know for sure that I am not alone in this journey.

Blossoming Cactus.

I remember being a little girl and wondering why my father did not want to hold my hand. That is the first time I faced the identity issue. Before that I was just ‘Juliet Wambui, Standard Two, and that’s my mum.’ The incident with my father, made me ask, ‘If I am not Daddy’s little girl, who am I? Who will hold my hand? And why won’t mummy help?’

My parents were just divorcing then, and that was before mum disclosed that that daddy was not my father. I am a child of the 80’s. Born in a time when more and more girls were being sent to University, some of them abroad, and a whole lot of them coming home with two kinds of degrees. Mum came back with three, a Bsc, a son and a daughter. Marriage was still important, so if a girl chose, there would be a man to make her ‘respectable. In this case the man was a widower with two sons of his own. Mum and her kids were integrated into that family and soon enough there was an addition. And not too long after this, that family disintegrated, leaving me with questions.

I will allow whoever chooses to launch into a hypocritical debate of the reason our family did not stay together. But always remember not to forget that whenever you look into someone else’s eyes you see only a reflection of yourself. And now I will move on to issues of my identity.

Part of personal growth is constant examination and redefinition. This means that even though our core identity will remain the same, it is possible for us to define goals, choices, efforts, and indeed the path our lives take. My problem has been identifying that core. It has been there all along, but over time, I have allowed painful experiences, brutally critical comments and life circumstances to cloud over that identity.

A few days ago, in the middle of a busy street, somewhere between noticing that the stub of my shoe had cracked, and admiring a beautifully carved masculine caboose, I stopped, and asked myself, “So if I am not Daddy’s little girl, then who am I? Do I still need someone to help me cross the road? Should I run home to mummy and tell her how so difficult it is to be a grown up?”

I went into a little examination journey. I know, I should have gone of to spend some time alone and rediscover myself. But I don’t have the time, and I definitely cannot afford to take time off life right now. So I had to do the mini rediscovery on the go.

First off, I asked myself, what do I really want, right now, tomorrow, and the next day? It is so very easy to get caught up in what everyone else wants and to forget that life is also about what you want. I want to be the best writer I can possibly ever be. I have been working on that since I was 12. I have been working at my language skills, taking college courses, observing people, observing life, so that I can be the best writer there can ever be. I want to entertain, to educate, to help a young woman growing up realise that it is okay to dream, to hope, and to live a dignified and fulfilling life, whatever choices you gravitate towards. How many times have I found myself losing that goal? How many times have I found myself forgetting that it is possible? How many times have I had to sit myself down and remind myself, remind myself what it is I really want?

More than anything, I have found that the fact that I am a sensitive soul, is the reason it is easy for me to lose sight of my goals. I care too much. I pick up too many strays, who then clutter my life and do not add value to my life. I care what people think. I care how people feel. I care…my choices require that I care. So where do I set the limit? I still haven’t figured that out yet.

Today, I asked someone who matters in my life, “What two words would describe me?”

He hummed, drumming his fingers on the edge of a table, staring at the ceiling and then snapped his fingers, “Ah! I know. Blossoming Cactus! Large succulent desert plan, that has thorns and flowers, too.”

*Wide-eyed, open-mouthed, soundless gag.*

That is what I want to be. But am I? Or is it just a veneer I show to the world?

A person, who is capable of surviving adverse conditions, may have unpleasant qualities but definitely possesses beautiful ones too?

So I am definitely not Daddy’s little girl. I have to define who I am on the basis of who I really am. Young, Female, Kenyan, Writer. I may have to take on other life roles, but they will not change who I am. When the sun is hot I survive. When the night comes in I blossom.

Incidentally, some cacti are used for food and medicine.

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13 thoughts on “The Girl, will be a woman someday..

  1. Whatever you do, do not stop caring. That is the centre of who you are. However, you need to care about yourself too – this is the balance you need to find.

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  2. Hahaha ooh!how i love this article,Juliet.Pouring out your heart,describing how it was the,how it is now and your way to where you want to be is thrilling.Every girl,young n old has dreams,n those with focus always hope n look forward to when those dreams will finally come to pass.We want to feel wanted,love the way we are,accepted and valued…yeah,but with our rather sensitive souls,we have to take things easy n learn that nothing good come easy..there has to be toiling n struggle.Plus,putting God first before everything is the best thing to do.Would love to read your books…

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  3. Thoroughly enjoyed this post,felt like it was talking about me in a way…i’m a sensitive soul too,maybe too much,but as the responses,this are the things that make up who you(i) am.
    Good work.

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