The Girl Whisperer
as published in the last edition of
The Sunday Guardian of 2007
Sugar and Spice
As the year ends, and as the tentative greetings of “Merry Christmas” begin, the Whisperer has cause to reflect on the things that make us all desire this season to be one that is much merrier than the rest of the year. Why do we wish ourselves a merry Christmas? Is it the feeling of warmth and gratitude that one has made it to the end of another year relatively unscathed? Or the infant, meek and mild, that this season commemorates?
Growing up, I would spend hours poring over Christmas greeting cards and their drawings of cottages and homes with warmth in the fire place spied through windows shut tight to keep out the cold, street lights shedding a soft light on the carriage-drawn horses on the streets, little children seated around the Christmas tree opening presents, snow on the roof and the side walk, a red-breasted robin by a window trilling its song. I would trail my fingers over the glitter that was often sprayed on this cards, touching, imagining how life would be if I lived as a member of the families on those greeting cards. Unrealistic, you might say, but these thoughts made life beautiful as I sought my own identity in life. I think every child should have this phase, a time when dreams are real, beauty is everywhere, and when friendships that might last a lifetime are forged. It is the reason no parent or guardian should deprive a child of these time of wonder, where everything is fascinating and untainted. Those years might never come again, therefore children should be allowed to walk freely in them, marvelling, exploring, with good friends and great families, but I digress.
“What are little girls made of? Sugar and spice and all that’s nice, that’s what little girls are made of. ” So goes part of the famous nursery rhyme. I have taken major steps through life based on this premise, in my relationships, friendships and dealings with members of the female sex. I have been idealistic in my perception of girls of all ages, whether young or old, enforcing movie and fairy tales stereotypes like The Sound of Music, Mary Poppins, Cinderella, Snow White and little Red Riding Hood. In these stories, the females are gentle, patient, kind and beautiful, the kind of women that exist in the dreams of many men. This has been my choice for I have learnt that women can be beautiful when they choose to be. I do not talk of physical beauty now for there is no one that can lay claim to being responsible for this but I speak of the grandness that comes from within. The Whisperer has met many beautiful women, great friends, wonderful confidants, those who looked out for him, and often without any selfish or hidden motives. I speak of the nobility of the human spirit that makes us overcome pettiness and mean things.
For some reason, societal expectations of women are much higher than those placed on men, but maybe this is because there are many, many women who are able to tap into that stream of nobility that can make them ‘sugar and spice and all that’s nice’. This is a salute to all the beautiful women I have met in my life, beauty that has shown from the inside and lit up everything around, like those soft lights from street lamps on those Christmas greeting cards many, many years ago.
For the men who are yet to meet true beauty, here’s wishing you a Christmas that will guide you to one. It is true that there are some women who all vinegar without sugar, but the beautiful ones are out there too, and they are many. In this tribute to women of all ages and temperaments who read this peace, I say have yourself, a wonderful, beautiful Christmas. To my brothers and sisters, fun’layo, bande, sola and yinka who made my earliest Christmases such a beautiful place to have grown up in; I wish your children that same kind of beauty that I found.
To my ‘family’, Ngozi, Ifeanyi and Chukwuma Okoisor in whatever countries you might be today, you made growing up such a beautiful thing for me. Thank you.
And to all those who search for love and truth, it might be closer than you think. Smile at the person next to you, murmur a little prayer for them and sing, “Have yourself a merry little Christmas, let your heart be light, from now on, our troubles will be out of sight”.