Of Becoming a Lady

(This piece is written in response to Of Becoming A Man by Shawn posted on a Ugandan blog.)

When I was a child

I was a big one, but a child I was nonetheless,

I questioned everything

But never how I came to be, I was me:

My mother’s and my father’s and my brother’s and my cousins’

I belonged to them much the same as my body was my own


It was normal for me to sleep on my own bed

To have siblings in other houses with other mothers

I recall moments of lots of cousins and neighbours

Filling our house with the sound of children and games

So much so that by the time my sister came along

I had more than my fill of that dreaded good-for-your-health glass of milk


But before then, I had learned to walk and dominate

I was excelling in childish kickboxing by age 4, and had a brother to fight

I mastered the pouts for ice-cream, fishing trips and days “stuck” in the house

I knew nothing of team sports but enough of Power Rangers and Supa Strikas

And, surprisingly, too much of The MacGyver Show and WWE Wrestling.


Of how I grew older, I do not remember

But I can to this day recite most Ladybird Books as if I just read them

And while I learnt of that dark terror that can visit us early on

I never once doubted that I’d reunite with those I loved that’d gone

And those that loved me were surely still aplenty on this earth


The affection was assured, however implicit

But the reprimand was never shy for an appearance

Whoever had raised my mother had left an imprint

Never was an error spared of a sharp rebuke

Yet still, never was an achievement of virtue or hardwork

Forgotten nor gone unrewarded for its good


Years, yes they seem so flimsy now, passed on quick

Amidst the whines on the banality of primary school

The boys we teased had grown taller still, the girls prettier yet

The newly-minted men and ladies marvelled in the thrills of courting

And no sooner started in relishing in the spoils of the game

Than did we realise that we had to bid adieu to the roost


So Mama, the alpha and omega of the family she reigned over

Wished me well with making my own calls in life

Telling me: darling, now you’ve grown into your own

Decisions I have made for you, and now you’ll help me with mine

Knowledge, virtue and self-love you have, a lady you surely have become


I shall joyfully see you leave mine and start your own

For the world is yours, anytime you choose to claim it

You can undoubtedly speak our tongue and those of other men,

And I am proud to say that I have raised you right from feeble chick

Please, stride on and be glad for you are now a lady become!

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