There’s this thing about some of us girls. Often times when we get bad reviews or when our ‘brilliant’ idea is attacked, the reaction is usually to quit, put in less effort or look for a Plan B. Dudes get attacked too, they get bad reviews but, God knows, guys can keep up with a bad idea for decades. Maybe this kind of persistence comes from the fact that guys get to step up to a girl and ask her out, and even when the answer is NO, they still ask her out again or ask another girl out. To him your NO doesn’t mean he’s the problem, you are instead the problem for not seeing things his way! I bet if a girl asked a dude out and he said NO, she would start analyzing her self and finding out what is wrong with her….maybe that is a good thing….may be it is not.
We, girls, keep second guessing ourselves. We are always seeking out other people’s opinions about what we are about to partake in. We are always unconsciously seeking permission to pursue our dreams. Maybe it is the society we live in, maybe it is the upbringing or maybe it is a flaw in our genetic make up. We are so comfortable laying back and letting other people lead. We don’t want to step up and be the boss. We are so comfortable being followers and then our defence is always ‘gender inequality’! We tell ourselves nature and society favour the males. Maybe there’s a point there, but there’s Nick Vujicic, who was born without arms or legs and he can swim, among other things! I doubt the barriers we face get any bigger than that. Our excuse is valid, but it is not good enough.
The thing that holds us back the most is FEAR. The fear of what society will think of us or our ideas. The fear that they will not like it. The fear that we will end up alone in our attempts to chase our dreams. The fear that our idea is not good enough. We choose to settle for the obvious, to settle for what is expected of us. You can’t mess it up if you do it the way you are expected to and even if you do, it won’t be as bad as if you went out and acted all on your own. Here no one will blame you, they will blame it all on fate or the system. But what of your dreams? What of the things you have always wanted to do? Life is not merely about existing, not merely about being born and dying. You have to LIVE, whatever that means to you.
If your dream is to be a great wife, go be it ! Be the best wife and the best mother to your children. Don’t let your friends, family or husband take that away from you. If your dream is to be an astronaut, go be it. It sounds crazy coming from an African, but it doesn’t mean it is impossible! You wanted to be a doctor, go be it! The trick is to know what you want and how to get it or how to be it. If you work at it enough, you will get it. Just don’t settle. Those are the real failures, the ones that settle for less than they deserve because they are too lazy to go after what they really want. Not the ones that try and fail.
I realized that for a big part of my life I had been reacting to things rather than responding. This may sound cliché but let me put this into perspective. If a girl got pregnant right after university for a guy she had known for just a few months, REACTING would be, you panic and marry him (of course, if he lets you), you would justify this by saying every child needs their father, and besides there’s nothing stopping you from getting married now…all true, and we don’t judge! RESPONDING would be you take a step back and think of the best way to proceed. The child needs their father, but marrying him doesn’t necessarily make it right. You have to think about yourself too. Do you love him enough? Do you want him to be your husband? Are you emotionally and financially ready for marriage? At least that is what would run through my mind. Whatever decision you eventually come up to after that will be directed by a series of thoughts and you deserve that, your baby does too. However, most times it’s just about fixing the mess. We don’t care how! But the ‘how’ should matter…the phrase, the end justifies the means, is for suckers. Life is too short to be lived focusing on the big picture while suffering through the process. Who says you can’t have it all? You just have to want it enough.
If we thought about what we want more, what other people think about us or our ideas would mean less to us. This does not call for that evil-selfish-narcissistic-independent-woman bull. There should be a degree of self-love that doesn’t turn into selfishness, and that kind is what we all need to pursue our dreams. Sometimes dreams fade, or don’t seem as good or brilliant as they once were. Go ahead and make new ones! I believe the day your brain dies is when you cease to dream.
Photo source: Olusegun Obasanjo Foundation