I feel like I’m trapped in a cage. No. Not a cage, you can still breathe in cages. I feel like I’m in a dark room with no ventilation. The walls sweat profusely–no, they cry for help.
I feel like I’m in a corner of the dark room, tears dancing on my cheeks.
Frustration bends my bones and I feel like I’m one shoulder blade bend away from being hunched..
I can see a bright light outside through a tiny closed window. Sometimes my eyes linger on it, sometimes I can’t take it because it’s shiny, attractive and I’m not.
I feel helpless because I’ll like to move in the light and feel its source caress my skin. I’d like it to undress me while I had a day in the park with all my good people.
I’d like to wear trousers. Yes, trousers. They’re more comfortable than the hooped skirts I’m confined to as I sit. I’d like for my legs to be free so I can swing it about without a care.
I’d like to be free.
My soul, spirit and body, free of all shackles. I’d like to be detatched from low self worth and condescending stares. and work, in my trousers, a free wo(man)
I’d like my voice to be heard. whether its a piercing scream or sweet words, I’d like for everyone to feel the warmth of my voice.
I’d like to be independent, a tree that’s not in the forest, a lone star on a starless night. I’d like to do something about my problems and challenge what I feel is not right.
I’d like to break the rules and not just sit in this crying room, observing.
Sometimes I say, morality can go to hell, you only cage me. I say Laws of the land, when would you be there for me. But I know, I won’t be heard because they can’t hear me outside. No, they simply don’t want to hear me outside.
I’d like to close my eyes and sleep tonight, knowing I’m a free woman.
I wrote this, spur of the moment, intending only to vent my feelings. But as I wrote, I started to feel like Myra Bradwell, in so many ways. The Nigerian woman is hardly grateful to Myra Bradwell, the first American female lawyer. But I am. Like the fight for civil rights and other fights for rights in history, Myra Bradwell fought. She didn’t just fight to be allowed to practice law but for the voice of every woman to be heard.
Though a strong woman, Myra must have had her down days, the days when she felt like she was in a dark crying room, only able to study the world outside. She must have had days when she cursed the United states and the state of Chicago. She must have detested her husband on some days and detested her biological make up on some others.
But on most days, Mrs. Bradwell was a fighter. She didn’t just feel like doing things, she did things.
She defied all standards of the society, morality and the law and even when they were against her, she wouldn’t give up.
Myra Bradwell encourages me to firstly, not be weighed down by the current situation and to secondly, never give up in the fight for a good cause or whatever endeavor.
Myra Bradwell should be appreciated by all Nigerian women because, despite the ongoing gender issues, women now have a voice.
Yes she opened the floodgates for women to practice law but, that’s not all. She ensured that women were not confined to dark crying rooms, breastfeeding and subsistence farming. She ensured that whatever a woman set out to be, she had an identity of her own, not one overshadowed by her husband’s. She had a voice of her own, one loud enough to move mountains.
I don’t know if you feel the same. I also know there are tons of women who have contributed to emancipation but, thank you Myra Bradwell.