The article below is written by one of my BlogFeature writers Toyin Femi-Akinlade and once again, she's written a beautiful piece which cuts across many issues which I feel needs to be looked into from the perspective she's written from. You may not agree entirely with her opinions, but I believe it is a good read. Enjoy.
As I lay on my bed this fine Friday evening with Asa cooing softly somewhere in the background as she belts out tunes from her Bed of Stones album (which I am loving by the minute), I start to reminisce about friends and friendship in general. At some point in my nostalgic journey, it suddenly occurred to me that I had my most memorable times with friends but sadly none of my specie. My greatest friends have been and still are guys, dudes, blokes, men, whatever names we ladies call those of the opposite sex.
So it got me thinking; why? I'm sure we've all heard it said before that "women are their own worst enemies." As quickly as we may want to refute and dismiss this statement as a baseless, gibberish talk from a demented, chauvinistic mind, can we please step back a bit to see the truth (somewhat) of this allusion, as trite as it sounds?
To do this, I'll like to run you through a Bible story I'll tell in contemporary language but with no intention to preach at all. I leave that for those who have that as their calling. It is an intriguing story about two beautiful women who though blood sisters were married to the same man yet they did not defy this 'bogus' cliche, their blood ties regardless. After all, blood they say is thicker than water. Originally they wouldn't have been rivals but no thanks to their cunning, slave master father, they found themselves in this situation. Rachel and Leah were their names; and their hubby for the purpose of this write up we will call Papa J.
After years of their union, Leah had four sons to show for her 'night watches' while Rachel even though the preferred choice of Papa J, did not as much as miss a period much more experience the fluttering of a little one in her womb. She was barren like that! So out of despair one day, she walks up to her husband demanding that he make her a mother too to which he naturally retorted to her asking if he was "God that now made babies".
One would have thought that Rachel would have made a smart move like plead that the husband join her in prayers (after all he loved her so) or at least ask her sister, Leah what her secret if she had any, was. Maybe she had a special fertility diet or better still maybe Papa J did a particular style with her that made him hit target if you know what I mean (hey I'm just saying 😊). Anything but what she did. Even though we know it was said that her barrenness was from God (which we are not told was known to her at the time) and her asking Leah may have probably not elicited a favorable response but at least it would have sounded a better option.
But no! Rachel asked her maid to go lie with her hubby instead and this Maid B ended up not having one but two sons for Papa J. Pappy now had 6 sons altogether. This is where the drama starts to unfold. Leah seeing that she was soon to be edged out of the scheme of things also decided she too could very well play the game. She got her maid to also have a go at Papa J too. Scores? Maid Z also gave papa 2 more sons. Papa J seemed to be clearly winning.
Hello! What is going on here? Did they have to resort to this? What happened to sisters being supportive of each other? I'm almost tempted to think that Rachel has always been envious of Leah. Looking in retrospect, one cannot blame her because Leah got first what was originally hers; Papa J. Still I think Rachel didn't take a very wise step.
Let's look at Hannah for the sake of comparison. She was also a second wife whose rival taunted her with her barrenness every single day leaving her so emotionally and psychologically battered that all she prayed for at their church's yearly convention was for God to just make her a mother. She had every excuse in the book to take Rachel's foolish step. After all, Rachel's rival never insulted or ridiculed her and what's more it was even her own blood sister. But rather than been foolish, she chose instead to pray. That's the stuff smart women are made of. When confronted with situations beyond your control, pray. Take a walk away from the situation so you can think through it with a clear head and a sound mind. Research helpful solutions to your dilemma, talk to people, network, change your game plan, change your tactics, do everything other than been foolish.
Enough of the hating sisters. Envy never did anyone any good. It will never make you reason clearly. Ask Rachel. It's for the same reason of envying and bitching (excuse my French) that some ladies will go to unreasonable lengths just to either keep up with the Joneses or kick them out of the game. Why borrow money to maintain a lifestyle you clearly cannot afford? Foolishness! You. Are. Just. Another. Rachel.
Let's stop the hating sisters. Why find it hard to relate with one other beyond physical attributes and material possessions? Why taunt others with what you have but which they do not possess? Why seek every opportunity to turn up your noses at fellow sisters because they don't look like you or talk like you?
"She's such a cheap skate", they say
"Just look at her fake designer bag. She can't even afford decent human hair. What is she wearing for Pete's sake? Na by force? Kilo kosi?"
You have a female boss and there you are, thinking being of your specie, she will be kind enough to want to bring out the best in you, empathize with you when you have challenges peculiar to your kind. I hear some bosses even compete with their subordinates in something as mundane as dressing. God help you if your madam has an MBA from LASU(LASUMBA as they call it) with a thickly accented Ekiti-English and yours is from Imperial college with a nice, foreign accent to boot. Wo, your own has met you. Ti e ti ba e! You are in deep sh*t like Americans will say. I understand some men too are nasty like that but hey, this is a sister to sister discussion.
The result of all this hating will be nothing but senseless, unhealthy competition with disastrous consequences like what we see happen in our story. Relating this to our present times, just imagine for a moment that you are either of Rachel or Leah with two of the maids in the house having two sons each for your husband. Selah (pause and think about it for a few seconds).
Where is Papa J in all of this? I would have thought after Rachel pulled the first stunt with Maid B and it resulted in a child, the next time she showed up again, one would have expected him to call Rachel to order immediately. At least say something like;
"Look here woman, I only gave in to that silly request of yours the last time because I didn't want you thinking I was not interested in this your mothering venture. But you have taken it too far this time. Go get that maid of yours out of my room this minute. I love you and that is all that matters."
Afterall Elkanah said to Hannah, "Ain't I worth more than ten sons to you?"
But no! Papa J appeared to be enjoying the 'sexathon' sessions. I mean how else do you explain the birth of the four sons?
Can I let you know something sisters? We end up losing more when we pitch ourselves against each other. Particularly when we have the men folk in the middle of all our drama. Let's be smart ladies! This even goes beyond our dealings with our own specie. Regarding life in general. Don't be a simpleton like Rachel. Think fast on your feet but by all means think smart! Never go for your worst option, first! Think through the situation. Do a Scenario analysis if you must. Weigh your options! What's the worst/best case scenario?
Something quite interesting happened after all this drama with their respective maids. One fateful day, Reuben, Leah's first son harvested mandrakes which he brought home. Even though it was Rachel's turn on the 'sleeping roaster with papa J', Leah got him to sleep with her that night instead, by using her son's mandrakes as a negotiation tool, a currency of bargaining. If this is not bottom power please tell me what it is. Is this a sub (like we say in Naija twitter lingo) to side chicks? Well, you be the judge. Sisters don't just be a pretty face with scrambled eggs for brains or half a grey matter. What are you bringing to the table? What are you negotiating with?
Suffice it to say, Leah bore yet another son after that one night session. Papa J apparently had the 'touch and go' anointing. The final result? Leah- 6 biological sons and a daughter, Papa J -12 biological sons and a daughter, Rachel? She finally managed to have a son and another one but she died in the process. Hannah? She had first a son and then five more children; both sons and daughters.