Redefining ‘Bad’ in Womanhood | Nwamaka Ezeano

She woke up one morning, packed her bags, jumped into an aeroplane and flew to London. She had one child and one husband in jail. She bears her maiden name. In London, she would study and make money and probably make a name for her self.

She is a bad woman!

I am surrounded by bad women. My mother, who is Godly and stays up every night—praying and calling on holy ghost. She speaks in tongue too. My mother is always on fire: burning for the Lord, and the Lord had never quenched her. I know God loves us to burn.

But my mother is still a bad woman. She controls the finance of our family. She became the breadwinner when my father resigned from his job. My father had said that the company will soon fold up and he didn’t want to fold up with the company. So, he ran. My mother became the succour and the provider. My mother would tell everyone that had ears and ability to listen that she was the breadwinner. She fed and clothed and paid fees. Although, we knew that daddy still paid the fees and the house rent, my mother was the teller and she was always hosting pity parties.

A woman who feeds and clothes her children shouldn’t tell. She should hide her accolades. She should pretend that her husband is the one doing all the doings—winning all the breads, paying all the bills that way; all glory and honour would be ascribed to her husband alone as it ought to be. She should stay behind because “behind every successful man is a woman.” A woman should build from behind.

My mother is the controller. We have nicknamed her a control freak, CF for short. We say “CF is coming”, CF said we should all sleep by 10. Her commands knew no boundaries; it doesn’t matter whether she is miles away or right in the house. On mother’s Sunday, the preacher said that a woman is the neck. That it is the job of a woman to turn the head of a man to any direction as she deems fit. He added that women should learn how to table their requests subtly. A woman must be subtle and pleasant and lovely and humble in making her requests, even when it includes spending her own hard earned salaries, she must be humble about it. He said that humility is a fruit of the holy spirit that should be found in women. He said because men have ego, women should always be humble enough to rub the ego of their husbands. He said that that is how to be a neck and be able to turn the neck of your husband in any way. Your husbands can make their demands and get them, but a wife must seek in all humility. The same message was replicated on father’s day.

But my mother is not the neck. My mother is the Head. She decides who gets punished and who doesn’t. If you gain my mother’s supports, you have it all. My mother was the lion and my father was the cat or the rat.

Now, my mother is a bad woman.

I met my sister’s friend virtually. A successful woman with a successful writing career. But her children are in Nigeria while she is in America studying and writing—an ambition that was very dear to her. She has a very pretty face and fine voice. I later met her daughter who has the voice of a 10 year old child with very long legs and pretty face, almost like her mother. But guess what? She is a bad woman.

I love bad women.

My client has a cheating husband who would beat her and disgrace her and shame her. He would beat her with knife and talk her down before any one and any thing with understanding. They were married for 3 years. My client said to me, “I want that man to rot in jail while I am alive.” She didn’t run from her home. She stayed in that home with her 2 year old son. She plotted the gallant exit of her husband and not her own exit. She said she could not leave the house for her husband as her sweats were hidden in the house. My client was bold and relentless. We had many meetings and then I filed a direct criminal complaint in a gender and sexual based violence court. I told her that prison beckoned on her husband and she said that she came so that her husband would rot in jail. Few months later, her husband was sentenced to 7 years imprisonment on the account of a five-count charge I filed. Her mother-in-law called her a bad woman for sending her husband to prison. Her sisters-in-law called her a witch and a bad wife. They reminded her that her husband was beating her for correctional reasons but now she had sent him to jail.

I got an order of the court that mandated every member of her husband’s family to stay clear off that building while she enjoyed peaceful possession of same with her only son.

She has listed the property for sale and her visa to the UK has been granted. She is a bad woman, but I learnt from her .

A bad woman is a woman who chooses to live on her own terms. She is considered selfish but she is also brave and bold. I am a bad woman, too.

About the Author:

Nwamaka Ezeano interrogates womanhood and motherhood in her essays.

*Feature image by Gabriele M. Reinhardt from Pixabay

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