I am woman, so be prepared to take me as you find me or leave me as I am

Kwanele Ndlovu Singles Lane
happy woman
Image: Stock Image

Once, on a date, a guy laughed out loud when I said: "Well, I am different!" He just cracked up, then said: "Oh dear, I swear, every girl I have met as an adult wants to be known to be different!"

I was 25 years old and strongly believed I was unlike the next girl. I felt unique, cultured and worlds apart from my peers, a rare breed of cultural finesse and intellectual brawn.

This was the first time I had met someone not moved by my sui generis brilliance, but I was so proud that I did not take my date's negativity to heart. I felt he was just being bitter and simple.

And anyway, as long as I could compare and measure the heights of my standards from that of the ordinary girl, I was allowed to brag out loud that I was that special.

I have since refrained from the simplicity of announcing how different I am from other women. Over the years I have learnt that one's character is clearer in their actions than in their announcements. The little wisdom I have accumulated has made me relook my little outbursts and repackage the way I explicate my nature.

See, there is absolutely nothing wrong with defining your own path and excusing yourself from whichever social norms you deem unworthy of your grace.

We all deflect certain necessities and refrain from some excess, no matter their allure. Nowadays, I carry on being my usual self, do what is in my nature to do and speak my mind. It is in those moments of just being that everybody realises that I am one of a kind!

It eventually occurred to me that perhaps people were misunderstanding what I meant when I said I was different. It seems society has a carved model for female behavioural patterns that we are all duly expected to resemble. A slight diversion is always met with disdain. This is the very reason most women find themselves in an existential crisis, unable to pinpoint what is wrong with themselves and why.

Pressured to align with the norm and embrace uniformity, we are numbed into accepting that anything outside the definitions enforced by our parents, peers and neighbours and partners is a raw defiance of our very nature, and thus unacceptable.

I have ceased to apologise for sitting with my legs parted and speaking the loudest in the room. I am not intimidated by competition from men. I will shave my head and bite my nails and strut my stuff on stilettos.

I care not what pleases others if I myself am not pleased. I define my own strengths, and my character is not dependent on my gender.

I do not stutter when articulating what I want, even when it may be not what I need. I flaunt my strengths. I fart at will and fight when needs be.

I free my breasts to swing to the beat of my heart and choose my lovers according to my own parsimonious criteria. If I never marry it would not be a tragedy. And when things crumble, I am not ashamed to cry!

Mine was not to claim that I was better or mightier. I had only sought to warn them not to expect the usual.

I meant to say: "Don't be surprised when I do not give you that which is expected of a woman, the ways it is expected of a woman, for reasons a woman is expected to!"