A Woman – Truly Empowered (By: Marissa Alamilla)
As I sit to write this article I am in the waiting room at Belize Medical Associates with a friend as support while she undergoes a series of tests to find out why she is so sick. Being a single mom myself for much of my life I know intimately what she is going through. Being sick is one thing but being sick knowing that you are the sole provider, the base of your home, the only true refuge for your children is quite another. It’s easy for me to put myself in her shoes and realize just how hard this can and most likely will get and then I pray that I will be strong enough to go through this with her and be her rock in her time of need.
My mind drifts to just a few short weeks ago when there was much noise about the 20,000 strong march for empowering women and ask myself yet again if this is just one case that fell through the cracks? I don’t believe that of course and it is one of the many reasons myself and others could not support such a march. For the record I was not one of the 3000 women geared up in orange t-shirts shouting that I believe in the empowerment of women or that we should stick together as women and support each other in times of need. Don’t get me wrong, I am a huge supporter of women and feel that we must always come to the support and aid of our fellow women when they are in need. We should never as a woman seek to bring down another female because of jealousy or envy, we should rejoice in her successes and help her in their time of need and be a friend to those who need a friend. I just could not see past the noise and envision how this march would help us to achieve that goal. I live the walk of empowering women!
Women are the backbone of any society, family and any structure that aims for success. Our creator, if we believe in a higher power had a purpose for our dynamics as women. We were made differently because our reason for “being” is different! That is the reality. We were destined to be mothers at some point, partners to our male counterparts, the supporting beams in our family and caretakers of our children. We are the only ones who can bear children, we are their primary providers for the first nine months of their lives, it’s our bodies that change and it’s our responsibility alone for the welfare of that child until the day it takes its first breath outside the womb. This sobering reality bases my belief that we will never be equal to men because our purpose is different.
As women we have always had – generally speaking, a greater capacity for empathy and compassion and this is not to say that men aren’t, all I am saying is they are just not the “feeling” beings we are. We are the primary custodians of our children, our home and our families. We have the ability to be intuitive, we have the ability to be almost psychic in our ability to see things coming from a mile off (not always a bad thing) but people sometimes by their reactions to this ability build our mistrust in it and we begin to second guess ourselves. Women put the heart in the world so to speak.
My friend has been ill for a while but until a few weeks ago she continued to toil and work for her children to have their basic needs because she simply could not afford to be sick. She could not put how she feels as a priority because she is a mother of seven, raising them mostly on her own by cooking and selling her foods at the market or cleaning houses and doing just about anything to make a dollar to put food on the table and keep a roof over their heads. She should feel and know her strength, she should feel pride in her accomplishments and feel the power she has alone because she is a true survivor in many senses. She has been through domestic violence, abuse, abandonment by family and partners. She knows what it is to be without basic needs such as electricity in her home, running water, and many other things some may take for granted and now she is yet at another crossroad in her life. She is scared and alone for the most part and the possibility she is facing is that she quite possibly has cancer, all the indicators are heading in that direction and it has buckled her. Her reality and her biggest fear right now is not if she is sick or if she is dying, it’s who will take care of the kids she has left at home. There has not been a father in sight for any of them for years now. Some of them have new lives and new homes and other children and the women they are with refuse to have these kids interrupt their lives. Others have just moved on.
The reality in Belize is that there are many women like Maria who want a home and family and have actually gone from relationship to relationship in a hope that every time this next man will be their knight in shining armor. The one who will stay and provide a home and father figure for their kids. Reality does sneak in after 4 relationships and kids from each one that they may not be destined for that life -that the woman in the mirror is the only savior or knight they may ever know. The reality that they must do for their young ones because there will be no one else and God forbid they get sick, invalid or die. How will her young ones fight this life that has been so cruel to her resilient heart and wears her out daily? How will they learn the many skills she has acquired through hard work and turmoil? How will they get an education? How will they survive in a world not very accepting of those who are less fortunate?
As I reflect on Belize and the Christian society we proclaim to be I wonder how we are here. Yes as believers in the creator we say we care but do but do we really? How many of us would stop our busy lives to sacrifice for a stranger like her? How many of us would take the little we have and try to share it with someone who can do nothing for us but is in need? How many of us would open our home to her children in their time of need? That’s the harsh reality of this world, in times like these, our women and children have nowhere to turn. The cost of her medical expenses are exorbitant for her and in all honesty even for someone like me who at least has a job, an education, and some resources that I can tap into. Her life daily is a more common reality than we care to admit. The “hand to mouth” certainty its many of our lives. Her inevitable truth is if she does not work – her children do not eat for the day. There is no cheque on the 15th and ending of the month! There is no insurance to cover her. She had no employment so there is no social security benefit to collect. How will she feel empowered now? How will her daughter who is only fourteen grow up to be an empowered woman without something just short of a miracle at this point?
Yes we are special, as women we are possess so many gifts, we have the capacity for so much but how will we see our full potential when the road to truly becoming all we can be is filled with bumps, potholes and ditches. Can a march get us there? Is it even a step to it? In a country so small as I live it and see the lives around me living it all I see are the many challenges our women go through from birth to maturity and then from maturity to death and I wonder is it the same the world all over? Is this the life the creator envisioned for us and how will we fulfill our purpose with all these hurdles and tests we may or may not pass?
With a heavy heart, tears in my eyes and a true loneliness at this thought I want to say something to our women and I will hope that it will help all of you that are in that moment where you may just feel like giving up. It is possible! This is only a test and you have everything within you to make it and pass these tests before us. It is not easy and will not be easy but you can get through this because you were given everything you need to get through it and life gets better with each storm. I myself have been through many trials and I continue to go through trials but I truly believe that my purpose in this life is just becoming clear and I am just reaching a point where I can understand that all I went through and every bad thing had a reason. I feel that as women we have been put here to be a blessing to those that cross our path in any way we can be and if we embrace that we will see things change because we will change the world through action not words or marches. If we each make a commitment to be a blessing, a friend, an ear, a helping hand to another woman we will make all the difference and the truth is we will become empowered and see our true ability come to fruition. I am a woman created by the Most High and so are you! Your empowerment comes from within and you are fully capable of tapping into it and being the woman you should be but first you have to believe that everything in life is for a reason and that reason is for you to move to the next level of your full purpose. We must as women come together and raise our children, look out for each other, identify with each other, and realize we all have the same trials and triumphs. We all know young and old women, abused women, desperate women, and women with health problems, broken and bitter women. We must reach out to each other, gain strength and encouragement. We cannot depend on men to do it for us because their purpose is different. We have to become leading ladies – women truly empowered!