Let Me Be a Woman // A Spoken Word

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I was born female.

From the moment of my conception,

My “fate” was decided, many would say.

The rise of my chest,

The spread of hips,

Have written my lived experience.


My heart, fierce but soft,

Rages at injustice

But crumbles when confronted with suffering.

My soul has known a thousand years

But my feet dance like a five-year-old under the summer sun!

I fight like a tigress

And love like a swan.


I am a conundrum of contradictions

Floating on a sea of uncertainty,

Hoping for a chance

To be known, to be loved.

Not as different from you as you might think.


Yet when society casts their eyes on me,

All they see is “female”,

A generic box of objectification,

Brought to life, solely for the pleasure of some…


My Mother, in the telling of my birth story,

Remembered how her heart sank when she saw I was a girl.

Her mind was plagued by the life of hurdles that lay ahead of me.

No sigh of joy at my entry into this world,

Instead a heart weighed down by pending reality.


You see, if you are not “female”,

You may not understand.

You may not have experienced the awkwardness of a twelve years old girl

Trying to deflect the unwanted attentions of her adult, male teachers.

Or the confusion of a young woman in her first workplace,


Wondering why she was being preyed upon by her married male boss.

You may not perceive the need to have an imaginary boyfriend,

Because “no” just wasn’t good enough.


You cannot understand how fear of repercussion,

Dictates clothing and behaviour,

Or how social propriety binds hands and gags mouth,

That would fight and scream against the objectification of my personhood.


In a world where some genders are more equal than others,

Female, has had to become strong.

We say, “Wathint’Abafazi Wathint’ Imbokodo!” – “Now you have touched the women, you have struck a rock!”

We have taken up the shield of war,


Positioned ourselves in opposition to patriarchy

And all its maleficent philosophies.

We cry out #metoo

Pain ravaging our souls,

Fear expressed as anger…


We have built a wall,

So wide it cannot be penetrated by equilibrium,

So high it cannot be scaled by the truth.


We have bought the lie

That manhood is defined by power,

And power by fear,

Earned by abuse, conquest and subjugation.


We have bought the lie

That womanhood is defined by equality with men,

Selling our femininity for a glass ceiling

That shatters into knives, cutting us to pieces.



Consider for a moment.

Dare I tell you I do not seek equality with men,

If it costs my womanhood?


Dare I remind you that it is my GOD,

Who knit me together in my mother’s womb,

In all of my femaleness,

In all of my individuality.


I will dare to remember,

My Jesus, who embodied true manhood,

In laying down His life for His bride, the church;


My Lord, who uplifted women in a time when we were considered mere property to be owned.


In Him, I know that my value

Is equal to any man who walks this earth.


In Him, I know that I was created uniquely female,

Equal in value, different in purpose.


Let me be a woman!

I will not be bound by these suffocating “virtues” that elevate women into these god-like creatures,

Needing nobody and accomplishing all things.

I am not infallible.


Let me be a woman,

In all of my femininity,

Let me shed tears of joy and sorrow,

Let me admit my weaknesses and my strengths,


Let me be a woman,

In all of my brokenness,

Let me ask for help when I need it,

Let me fall when I cannot stand,

Help me up when I need a hand,

Forgive me when I know not how to admit my wrong.


Let me be a woman,

The way my God created me to be.

Dear Sister, hold back your judgement,

Dear Brother, be the man God intended you to be.


Let Me Be a Woman (C) 2018 Moushumi Ann Mathews