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I AM WOMAN… or am I?

Ever felt less than woman??? When everyone is being celebrated as a woman, and you feel inadequate?.… A certain publication asked me for an article but I chickened out, told them I’m busy and wouldn’t be able to write. But NO, I wasn’t busy at all. 

I’m just at a point of trying to embrace myself, again. When my world stopped, with the cancer diagnosis, I felt my womanhood also being stripped off me. I saw the world moving on as I mentally prepared myself for an exit. An exit that I wished for because of pain, but an exit I was not ready for.

Soo I see women writhing in period pain, and I actually miss those cramps. I miss buying brufen, but then I remember that at some point brufen didn’t help, I had graduated to Morphine and Pethedine (which I actually got addicted to – and had to be weaned off it 😂). I don’t even know the cost of sanitary wear and I walk past that isle in the shops, ndichizvisimbisa ndichiti that’s off my monthly budget. And when I uninstalled the Flo app, I felt like a piece of me had died.

I listen to my age mates talking about their C-section and natural birth experiences, and I can’t help but wish I could also go through that. I try to think of the colostomy procedure as being like a C-section, but then a C-section produces a baby, whilst a colostomy bag- well 😖😖😖

I joke with my doctor saying I have no diapers or Tommee tippee bottles on my budget. But when the head hits the pillow I experience a deep emptiness, asking God kuti “Nhai Mwari, is this it. Ndizvo zvandakararamira here izvi. Kumuka, kuenda kubasa, kudzoka kumba nekuedza kurara naiwo ma hot flashes that follow me like a shadow for a whole 24 hours, and repeat!…”

I see older women talk about menopause and I feel too young to be part of that conversation, it’s for women above 50… But then that’s where I belong, even more than the women themselves, because they can sleep through the night and can wear make up all day. I can’t! Radiotherapy “fried” my eggs and the side effects have me reeling.

There’s nothing more frustrating than sleeping in 30 minute intervals because when each hot flash hits, it wakes me up and I have to literally go outside to have the 1am breeze cool me down, and then at 1:47, then at 2:26, all night. Can there be anything more embarrassing than having your face drip in sweat in the middle of a meeting, having to apologise and always explaining that it’s treatment side effects 😔

I always wonder why it has to be my face and neck. Why can’t the sweat be on my knees or toes even, to lessen the embarrassment. Each emotion triggers a hot flash, when I laugh I end up wiping my face, if I’m irritated, a flash comes, if I receive exciting news, I feel it coming, the heat starts from under my feet and I feel it moving like a fireball through my body, and then boom I look like I’ve just dipped my face in water 💦

I tally every hot flash in my journal, even at night. In January I had a total of 446 hot flashes, averaging 14.38 per day. In February I had 547 hot flashes, averaging 19.53. Why do I even tally them – I don’t know. I just know they annoy me and mess me up. Maybe by counting them I’m embracing them as part of my reality- but haaa I loathe the experience 😓😓

I’m so happy there’s a day set aside for women, for mothers, for sisters.. but at times I fail to relate. I look at my body and feel it has let me down, I keep wondering how much more I should have fought to maintain my old self. But, again, it was a protracted struggle and then I don’t even remember that old self. Everything is a blur 😭 Ndaifanira kuita sei paya?
Vanobva vati, “Saka waida kuti zviitirwe ani?” Aiwa, hapana, ndinogamuchira ndinotenda. Kungotaura nekuwawata hangu pano pa social media, nothing more. Mashoko abva atopera… see how the article wouldn’t have made sense, busy penning taboo subjects 🤨

Here’s to women who have it all, to women who don’t have it all, to women with fibroids, to women struggling with fertility, to women with heavy flows, to women with light flows, to married women, to single women, to mothers, to aunts, to women who have had miscarriages, to women who have lost their children, to women with endometriosis, to women with chronic illnesses….

“I long for the day where my worth is not constituted by how much pain I can take or how many children I can have…”#breakthebias2022 comes not from pretty faces, not as an attack to non-women, but from a deeper place.

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