That our current leadership is wanting is old news. What I find more disturbing is how often we mistake the poor quality of this leadership for a gender issue. A fortnight ago, a woman rep engaged in a war of words with her governor. The man, known for his lack of decorum, of course went all out to the extent of telling her that he is not her husband to be at her beck and call.
Of course the internet lit up. Everyone was angry. How could he tell a woman this? Why do Kenyan men look down on all women? Everyone seemed to be experiencing some sort of amnesia. Truth is, this governor is not the first leader to throw the ‘wife’ insult to another leader. In fact, it has been directed at other male leaders in the past. For someone to think that the word ‘women’ or ‘wife’ is an insult goes to show just how little we think of our women. Still, I think that the war of words between these two was a leadership issue, not a gender one.
How often this happens, seeing gender or discrimination in everything, is a pointer to how much we need to stop seeing ourselves as victims. Have you ever been somewhere where someone introduced themselves using facts of their lives that those present did not need to know? Surely you must have met a woman who will tell you that she is a single mother, that she was dumped by that man or that she had this or that disease before she tells you her name.
What these women seem to be missing is the fact that life is not a give and take. Just because the past was difficult does not mean that the present or the future will be easy. Everyone you brush shoulders with out on the streets has struggled with something. It may not be money or a break-up or a loss of someone. Your struggles may seem bigger. Still, this does not mean that your future life will automatically be easier than theirs. How easy life gets will be determined by a combination of luck and preparedness.
Acknowledge your challenges but do not make them your brand. Do not make them the first thing that someone sees about you. There is value in dressing up and showing up even when your life isn’t going the way you want it to.
Stop thinking that the challenges you’ve had in life are the reason things do not go your way. Sometimes you are just not well prepared for that job interview, maybe that man you are yet to get over for years was not a good enough partner for you.
This life can be cruel. It will knock you to the ground just so that it can sit on your face. When this happens, it’s OK to feel sorry for yourself. To wallow a while. It’s, however, more important to know when to stop with the self-pity.