O Woman

Touch your belly.

Imagine it stretched non-stop for 36 weeks,

Simply because it’s supposed to.

The weight of the pain of the joy, swelling inside of you.

A vigorous shaking—making a cocktail of hormones driving you crazy-mad,

Madly-happy, happily-tired.

Do your walls prepare you for an undoing? To usher in that life?

Will your back be destined to break, and your lips tear for love?

Mine will.

Do you bleed from your core for days on end?

Feeling higher and lower than you planned in quick succession?

Does it feel like hot needles probing you?

You smell of zinc. You wash up.

Again, and again and still smell it in the hairs in your nose.

It never used to be this way.

Mother had never sat you down before and hurriedly explained how you must save yourself till marriage. Or else what?

I was a defiant flatness, carefree.

A comfortable straightness that meant people weren’t staring.

Now, I seldom want to be ignored. And it’s not me—it never is.

It’s the chemical urge to feel seen. Woman.

So, on that air-conditioned august day, I did.

Not want to be seen as anything other than—desire. Maybe?

The third time over I couldn’t tell who owned what liquid.

Then mother’s words bobbed about as she told me,

‘Don’t give yourself away for cheap.’

But how come? because I took something too.

Dawn till dusk. The cycle continues,

Objectify, Interrupt, Underestimate,

Patronize, Catcall, Rinse, Repeat.

Do you have to watch where you park?

Or what routes won’t scar you.

Do you decide what to wear?

Subconsciously trying to not make it your fault?

It’s common sense to have enough to pay for you,

And you want to go Dutch.

But do you subtly hear the amusement in his voice,

When he calls you a feminist?

After the night out: do you get solicited,

Simply because he insisted to pay?

Did you have a small inkling that that would be

When the server swiped his card?

So, the next time you love you less,

Remember that you are anything but drama and stress.

Titilope Samuel is a graduate of Architecture from Covenant University, Nigeria, who loves creating written works of fiction, non-fiction and poetry. She derives most of her inspiration from life experiences. Earlier this year, she started Madammusealot, A lifestyle blog that focuses on using her stories to inspire and entertain others. She is also an Advocate of the SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) and Mental Health and wellness practices.