As I retire to bed diaries: When the passion gets muddied by the pain and frustration

Lately, I’ve been writing what I’m now calling ‘As I retire to bed diaries’ on Facebook. I guess it’s my own way of finding what I celebrate daily. There’s too much stuff going on around me such that it becomes easier to forget the good stuff that make me grateful for each day, that make me expectant for each the new day. I discovered today that I have been running away from blogging yet I’ve somehow started it on Facebook. So here goes today`s entry-

Finding and following one`s passion is a fulfilling point in one`s life. However, it seems as if when one finds this passion that’s when life gets tougher. My advice today is simple-
When you find that following your passion is some disillusion, ask yourself where your passion lies? – in the doing or in the aftermath?

I find that my passion lies in the people whom I impact! The doing itself can be so traumatic, painful and frustrating that I often question why I even bother. However, hearing from a fellow passion follower, from a young woman I shared a heart to heart with, a big sister I’ve hugged, another sister I’ve cried to…just knowing that someone is managing to smile and believe in the goodness of the world despite all the pain, hurt, trauma and discouragement they’ve faced is more than enough to make me wanna go back and fight one more day for what I believe.

I’ve been called all sorts of names, labelled and vilified. Some people fear me and avoid me. Others fear me such that they resort to telling tales about me. My sexuality has come under attack and scrutiny and attack, never mind the ridiculous speculation. I’ve met ppl who have turned out not to be the sisters I initially thought they would be. I’ve met ppl who’ve turned out to be chancers who thought they were too ‘masculine’ for me to ‘resist’!!

But in all this, I’ve met women who’ve proved to be fellow kindred spirits. I’ve met men who are equally passionate about this cause to end violence against women! I’ve developed a thick skin and a tough heart. I’ve developed friendships that will span my own lifetime and beyond.

I am grateful for the privilege I have of impacting one woman at a time. When it gets overwhelming I find that one memory that reminds me why it’s all worth it. When fellow kindred spirits reach out to me and express willingness to create a synergy, I am encouraged that this war IS coming to an end.

Violence Against Women isn’t only physical- the beatings, the rape, the inappropriate touches. It’s also psychological and emotional- the insults, the catwhistles, the inappropriate words, the berating words, the attack on her self esteem, the subtle and also obvious threats to her, her children, her family- sisters, brothers.

It’s also economic- the threat with loss of her source of livelihood, the threat that the family bread winner will be unable to provide anymore, the threat that if she earns more than her husband/spouse she’ll emasculate him, the threat that if she goes into formal employment she’ll attack male attention and thus destroy her marriage.

It’s religious and cultural- she must be submissive to her husband and any man she encounters despite her own feelings regarding their conduct. She must die to her fleshly/carnal needs lest she be possessed of the devil/loose/cheap/whorish. She must be obedient to every ‘instruction’ from the man of God/man of the cloth/religious leader. She must take instruction from the males because she’s only better than a child in that she gives birth to children! The woman must know hop place at all times and stick to it. The woman is responsible for any wrongdoing that ‘her man’ does.

Violence against women is a carefully orchestrated reality whereby every individual plays their part like the 226member symphony it is. Sadly, women play a crucial role in it as we often are the gate keepers of patriarchy and act as social and cultural checks on one another. It is us who are responsible for grooming the next ‘befitting’ women for posterity. It is us who teach one another what ‘being a proper woman/wife/spouse’ is. It is us who monitor one another, ensuring that we are all keeping in line with ‘societal/cultural/religious’ expectations. This is the sad reality.

However, I retire to bed tonight knowing full well that women are stepping up and speaking out. We are taking our cultures, regions and societies to task. Slowly but surely the culture of male impunity is coming to an end. Slowly but surely, women are stepping up and speaking out against gender based violence. We are engaging men and women from across the religious, political, cultural and socio-economic divides in this fight. Generations are reaching out to one another and coming together in this fight.

I sleep easy tonight knowing that each one of us is making a huge difference in our own little corners. This is a collective effort and every little victory counts. I retire to bed tonight knowing that the world is becoming safer for us day by day.

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12 thoughts on “As I retire to bed diaries: When the passion gets muddied by the pain and frustration

  1. ha ha. do I pick out some patronising there?

    I wonder why it is when women do things, men want them to be defined and to make sense to them but when they (men) do, they just say ‘coz’ and that is more than an suffice answer….just wo hangu. Let me suffer this whilst I join the fight to end it all. soon my grandchild won’t have to be justifying their ideologies to anyone anymore. LOL

    btw, feminism isn’t turning out to be..it IS.

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  2. Wow! Thats argued with great passion. Obviously there is as many kinds of feminism as there are feminists. Your kind of self interrogation should be encouraged among those who jump onto the bandwagon and end up creating a naive though populist brand of the cause. Questions will always be asked and feminism will always be judged based what feminism is turning out to be, by effect, as opposed to what it actually says it is by defining itself, as you have done. But I see I got you all fired up. Thats good for feminism. Well done.

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  3. One other thing: is feminism/every feminist decided on whether it/she is capitalist or socialist? Broadly speaking?
    Also, are feminists agreed on what to do with the giant carcase of religion and its teachings on gender after the fight is over. I do not see religion in whatever form remain standing if we woke up tomorrow with the feminists’ war won in their favour.
    I so wish feminism and feminist well, That the battle they fight turns out not to be just a tinkering of pots and pans in the kitchen of an army at war. There is always this bigger picture to be mindful of and indeed I have seen and admired the efforts of this blogger in the bigger fight.

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    • LOL, feminism isn’t against religion or such. It is after the denigration of women and reducing us to children or a little less than dogs, in some religions and societies. My kind of feminism isn’t about something as far off as religion…one only gets to understand once they are grown up and begin to interrogate it…it is about identity issues of the female. The who am I?- mother, wife, sister, daughter, daughter-in-law, leader, church member etc etc. How does a woman define who she is in the context of a religion that has already defined who she is as well as what she can or cannot do/ feel/ wear/ hear/ react to etc? Those are the issues that my kind of feminism is about. I will give that there are different kind of feminism but only one kind of man…one who is ‘above’ the woman! And that is what i want women to be able to explore. If a man is ‘above’ me it surely must not be because of something as minor as a penis. he did not choose it so he cannot wag it in my face as if he made a right choice by exiting his mother’s womb having one between his legs. LOL.
      feminism is not to be blanketed under an umbrella term and must be made to conform to one definition, that it why it now walks around with a vagina ahead of it and some men who believe that women are equal to men fear being labelled to be feminists. Feminism is basically about having everyone realise and accept that men and women are different and those differences are not what gives the other sex an advantage over the other.

      I can be socialist and feminist much as I can be capitalist and feminist. I can be one of those feminists who prefer wearing trousers, not because they make me feel macho but simply because I am more comfortable in them than I am in dresses and skirts.

      My fight with religion is that it tries to genderise worship…men do this and women do that! Why? Just so they can have men ‘above’ women? I don’t agree. If a man can wear what he wants into church why should it be an issue when a woman wears what she wants to the same venue?

      I am one woman whom you will rarely see in the kitchen, simply because I am not a huge fan of cooking and of manual labour, in general. It does not make me any less of a woman. I am also that kind of a woman whom you will find having changed the light bulb and tinkered with some ‘male’ DIY stuff simply because I want to and I find it convinient to know how to do so rather than wait for someone else to do it for me. Does it remove my breasts from my chest? No! Does it elongate my clit? No! It don’t make me any more of a man or any less of a man what I want to do or wear or not to say or be.

      All religions that advocate for the annihilation of womenfolk MUST go the way of the dodo! That, I would be more than glad to see happen.

      Thanks hey for your questions, they allow for me to tap into my other thought processes. LOL

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  4. I used to share some of chiposi’s reservations myself, but due to the influence of bloggers and activists like you and the experience of a European cultural environment that I’ve lived in for the past five years, I am now something of a convert. Gender based violence IS REAL , perhaps more real to the active feminist more than it is even to its victims. The feminist sees it with a mind that is trained to listen, not just to hear, like most of us do.
    My present view however is that feminism must view gender violence and abuse not as an evil that men play against women for sport in a conspiratorial manner to achieve dominance but as the manifestation of an archaic though universal belief that puts the survival of the human species in the hands of the strongest of that species. A lot of men themselves are victims of that belief and are suffering under the hands of other men and the stronger of the females. It is without doubt that a lot of the physical violence though is just shear barbarism based on ignorance (ignorance based violence, not gender based violence). It is when it comes to other forms of violence that you find both males and females suffering though not in equal measure in order that a few might exercise the required level of dominance over the many. Thus the natural laws regarding the perpetuation of the species are observed. The feminist is out to convince everyone that we all bear equal strength and measure of responsibility required for the perpetuation of the human species. Natural laws of dominance ( survival of the fittest) should only apply to plants and animals and not to humans. Thus feminist militancy should not front this clear cut “us v them” attitude but should engage the greater society on issues to do with wealth and power distribution across the board lest the feminist movement becomes just another divide and rule tactic distracting the human race from realising the greater good.

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  5. passionately written. I am divided myself on this violence against women. the physical part I get easily. the other parts sort of seem reaching and far fetched. kutsvagirana nyaya so to speak. but what do I know…

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    • I totally understand where you are at. When you begin to interact with survivors of violence, you’ll understand more and more just what violence against women is.

      It does seem far fetched until you talk to these women, feel and see their anguish as they try and explain what can only be felt. It is one of those things you have to experience/witness first hand and closely to appreciate, let alone understand.

      We’ll possibly engage you on some of our work and maybe you can understand what it sort of entails.

      By the way, the above are just but part of the many forms of violence. Maybe the word ‘violence’ brings to mind blood, wounds, physical bruises and the like such that it doesn’t quite gel well with economics and psychology and religion.

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