» Vessel. Voice. Visionary.

Because, its my time.

Teach Her To Be A Woman, Not A Wife

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As a young woman, you're constantly thrown messages of abstinence and purity. All of the older women talk about saving yourself for marriage and making sure you're not giving your goodies to anyone that doesn't give you a ring. But then, they also teach you to cook, to clean, do laundry, citing the primary reason not that you're a woman (that's second), but because you need to know how to do it for when you're married. Herein lies the issue. I don't think that we shouldn't learn these things, but I think we're growing up in training, being taught how to be a wife, not a woman

I was having a conversation about the reason why I don't go out much, and why it was hard for me to just get up, go out, and stay out late. Part of it is because I just don't do the "going out" life, but moreover the reason was because I was thinking as a "wife", not a "woman". I have a boyfriend, and a younger female friend that also doubles as one of my roommates. I joke around and call them my little "family". So if and when I go out, they're the first ones on my mind. I want to have fun, but I also want to come home in time to be able to talk to my friend before she goes to sleep or to be there if something's wrong. I want to come home in time to call my boyfriend and relay the day's events before he goes to sleep or be there if something's wrong. My "family" is first on my mind. But the thing is, I'm not a wife or a mother. I'm a twenty one year old girl with no kids and no ring. Yet, I think as if I do and that's the issue. Of course everyone isn't like me, but I feel like the messages we send to young women cause them to think in similar patterns. We create a mindset that trains girls to grow up waiting to be married, waiting to find the one that will honor them, and love God more than he loves them. They grow up waiting for their Boaz, but what if he never comes? What if everyone doesn't get married? What if everyone doesn't even have a boyfriend? What then? Then we wonder why girls get caught up in these foolish relationships or consumed in lust. It's because we're not teaching them to be women. We're not teaching them skills to be self-sustainable. We're not teaching them to love themselves regardless of whether a man loves them or not. We're not teaching them to be pure because they're valuable and mean something. We say "boyfriends don't get husband privileges", which refers to sex, but if all they know how to do is be a wife, sex isn't really what we should be focused on. If a young woman is cooking for her boyfriend when he comes over, or helps with him with his laundry when they go the laundromat but doesn't have sex with him, is she really still saving herself? By no means do I approve of sex before marriage, but it shouldn't be the focus of what we teach our girls. The privileges should extend to more than just sex.

Maybe I'm dreaming but why can't a young woman find herself INmarriage? Why can't she explore cooking, cleaning, and pleasing with her husband? Why does she have to be a complete package prior to her ring? Maybe you might say because that's the woman's place or what will she offer the man if she doesn't know how to do those things or no man will want to marry her but I don't think that's true. I think if we taught our girls how to just BE, just BE a woman, a man would still want to marry her with no experience in those things. In all honesty, maybe that's one of the reasons so many marriages are failing. We prepare our girls to meet a man's physical and sexual needs--the tangible, but don't teach her how to stimulate his mind or how to support his visions. We don't teach her how to have visions of her own, outside of his, so that he can see that she has the intellectual capacity to aspire to something. We don't teach her to constantly evolve into her womanhood or to make sure she takes care of herself, getting things like her hair and nails done regularly. We don't teach her how to take of the woman she is, without having to feel guilty that she's neglecting her family. Look around. As much as things glorify sex, they glorify marriage as well. Take a look at these commercials for example. Take notice at how many times you see a ring on their fingers, even if the commercial is about laundry detergent. Take a look at those that supposedly write books or blogs for "single women" and constantly refer to "when you're married" or "when you find the one" or "him this, him that". We can train our girls to be women, without talking about them being wives. Some women that had no woman to teach them or any self-help books to read when they had their first child still did fantastic jobs in raising their kids, drawing on their maternal instinct and what they felt their child needed. I believe the same can happen in being a wife. I believe a woman can be a great wife without teaching or books because they realize who they need to be in relation to who they're with.I am not dismissing the advice of women who have done it before, because I do think it can be valuable; I just don't believe that's all we should rely on.

I wholeheartedly agree with the Bible's stance on women being in submission to their husbands, but I do not think that God intended for them to not to stand in and of their own as well. He created each one of us with a special purpose and when we do not teach our women to first fulfill their God-given purpose instead of seeking after a marriage, we deter them from stepping into all that God has for them. I have every intention on being married in the future, and I believe that I'll make a great wife, but I'm not there yet. I'm still at a place where I'm learning who I am and I want to keep it that way. I love my boyfriend but I don't want to turn our relationship into a proving ground for marriage instead of a time where we can enjoy one another. Of course, seeing a future with him is necessary, but I also need to see and experience a present. I want to enjoy hanging out without looking at the clock cause my "family" is waiting. I want to invest everything into building myself and following God's purpose for me, and I wholeheartedly believe that as and once I do that, I'll be able to truly enjoy and build a successful covenant. 

Women, love God and love yourself. Allow Him to prepare you by His standards for Himself, not for a man. <3

**This is a general thought and not meant to be representative of all women.**

Behind The Wheel

I drove. For the first time, I didn't drive in a limo or another person's car. I was behind the wheel of the car that drove in the funeral processional. It was the marker of how grown I was; this time, I wasn't being shielded from the pains of death--I was head-on in it. It felt weird, icky almost. I didn't want to do it once it began. I wanted to relinquish control, be able to give up the wheel and retreat to the back seat where I could stare out the window and imagine myself somewhere else, or escape to sleep. Now, this post isn't all about death and neither is my blog; rather it's about the process of growing up. It's not easy. It comes with great rewards and great pains. Driving behind the wheel made me acknowledge that I had a license, a car, a degree, an apartment, bills to pay etc.---grown up responsibilties. It also made me acknowledge that even when I didn't want to do something, it didn't matter. If it had to be done, it had to. I realized the sacrifices of growing up. It was my boyfriend's uncle so of course he shouldn't have driven, and his little sister couldn't drive so I was the perfect and only candidate. It was the last place I wanted to be, but the only place I needed to and should have been. I had my own battles, but my boyfriend needed me in his so I had to put my adult pants on, and even if it hurt, be present. 

The greatest lesson though, is past the sacrifices themselves--it's the strength in the sacrifice. The last funeral I went to didn't work out in my favor; I was a big ball of mess, and I didn't think I would be able to go to funerals for a long time. Now, I'm sure I won't be attending funerals all "willy nilly", but I made it through this one. And I'll make it through another one day. There is an untapped well of resilience within me. In my process of growing up while getting older (because they can happen independently of one another), I realize that there is more in me than I give myself credit for. I am more than even what I allow myself to be. The sacrifice that day didn't show my strength: my strength showed my sacrifice.

It Was Never Physical....

Growing up, I never classified my neighborhood as the "hood". Up until high school, I believed I lived in a respectable middle class community, with respectable middle class adults and respectable middle class children. I thought it was a far cry from what I knew to be the "projects--a tell-tale sign of the "hood", with its tall buildings with the scent of urine and poverty. I thought I was a bit better than that. But, as I got older, I realized the hood was never really about buildings; it was a mental state of being. Someone could grow up never living with my "tell-tale signs" and still consider themselves as growing up in the hood--and suddenly, I was watching it happen. Respectable middle class children were suddenly gang bangers, drug dealers and muderers. How could this happen in my respectable middle class community? How could I suddenly start barely missing bullets on my front porch? How could I begin to hear stories of those I laughed with be the ones who were hunting for blood? How could I begin to get mail with return addresses of prisons? How? Because, the "hood" became a mindset. All of a sudden, it was okay to turn homes into drug businesses, and streets into territories. While I was busy thinking war only happened in the projects, I was faced with the reality that armed forces lived doors down from me. But all of this angered me, and it still does to this day, almost ten years later. It angers me that the same ones that watched me grow up, from a little baby girl, to old enough to get "hollered at", were killing one another. It angered me that life no longer was viewed as sacred, but rather a trophy or pat on the back once it was taken. It angered me that the possibility of hearing that my brothers were either in jail or dead increased greatly. Most of all, it angered me that a mental "hood" was created where no physical "hood" lied--we did it to ourselves. We created the space where cops had to patrol and where body bags began to line up. We created the fear. We started the war. And now, the war continues. The sad part? It won't end. Not until every one is missing, in jail or dead and even then, the seeds of the "soldiers" will probably continue the disgrace of a legacy. Hopefully, a day will come where peace is a reality. Until then, RIP to the fallen soldiers of the mental war....