The Cloths of Heaven
Had I the heaven’s embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half-light;
I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams-W. B. Yeats
Sometime in 2017 I fell into a month long depression. It was triggered by financial issues but it blossomed into me being dissatisfied with all the areas of my life. You see, even though I always have a smile on my face I had and still have (like most people) self-esteem issues. I had thought for a long time that life was not fair to me and the events in my life seemed to play out my belief.
I was a moody child and youngster, and as my mother would say, I could be the life of a party one moment and suddenly just become gloomy the next. I guess she thought I was attention seeking for no just cause but I grew up with spells of moodiness and it got to a point when I could sense it coming on. Mostly, it was as if a black cloud was coming my way and I was stuck in my tracks and couldn’t do anything to avoid it.
It took me a while to understand my emotions and what triggered the spells and also how to come out of the mood (music helped greatly).
I was able to identify that I suffered from mood swings and mild depression and it took a lot of confessing positive things about myself, believing God loved me exactly as I was, reassurance from my friends and Mr. Aisi, before I started to see a lot of the good in myself but the moods lurked in the dark and from time to time manifested itself, though, the lapse between each episode grew far between till I thought I had fully overcome the malaise only for it to manifest fully in October 2017.
It was rather bad. I would look myself in the mirror and conclude I was too ugly to go out. I didn’t want to leave my bed or the comfort of my room, I would dress up to go out and then change my mind and slip back into bed. If I didn’t absolutely have to go out I wouldn’t. I was in bed by 7pm most nights. There was a day Mr. Aisi came home and met the whole house in utter darkness. The television was off and no lights were on even though there was electricity. I had music (Barry White, of course) streaming from the speakers close to me as I sat in the dark living room with only my thoughts for company.
However, it struck me that all through the time I was going through my stuff Mr. Aisi did not take any concrete action or steps to help me find my way back. He was sympathetic, made the right noises especially after seeing me in the dark as described earlier, asked after my day, wondered why I was in bed so early but he was so consumed with himself and his work that he didn’t venture further especially if he asked and I said nothing or responded with a “fine” to his enquiries.
I am sure you are exclaiming Haba! What else could he have done?
He could have insisted that I see someone, maybe a friend, to talk to me since he was not getting through to me. He could have asked my friends to come visiting and cheer me up, he could have read up on my condition and proffered solutions. He could have been patient with me to ask me further, even when I said nothing about how I felt and listened when I was ready to talk. I felt really bad and hurt because I knew that had it been him, I would have moved the earth to ensure he felt better.
There is a lot of disparity in the way women support their men and vice versa. An example that comes readily to mind is that of ill health. If a man is sick and hospitalized, his wife (90% of the time) will be his care giver, she will sleep with him in the hospital, sometimes on the floor, acquaint herself with his condition, medication schedule and put him on a dietary regimen.
However, if the woman is sick, the man (90% of the time) will undertake the financial responsibilities and bills, he may spare no expense in ensuring she receives the best of medical care but will leave her care to relatives, caregivers etc. hardly will he sleep in the hospital with her, hardly will he feed her, clean her up and physically attend to her needs. At times men don’t even notice until after a while if their wives have colds, feel unwell, follow their medication schedule (except perhaps if it is to prevent an unwanted pregnancy)
I can hear the men say that I am being unfair, that women are naturally nurturers and caregivers and that’s exactly my point. Everyone wants to be taken care of and supported in the good times and especially during the bad times. It’s true that we are natural givers, nurturers and caregivers and can take care of our family even on our deathbeds but it’s painful when most men act like it’s the sole preserve of the women to take care of them without any reciprocity.
Women want to be supported for who they are, in all they do especially as individuals and not only for what we do for the family. We want to know we matter, we want our men to be interested in all the areas of our lives, what makes us tick, our likes, dislikes, the welfare of our jobs and business, our friends, interests and hobbies.
We hate being dismissed when we talk about our issues, we hate that our dreams are looked down on as being too small or too large, we are more than your wives and the mother of your children and we want you to see us for who we are. After all, we were once the sole object of your interests and desires.
We have a growing number of women who feel used, who believe that their husbands don’t really care much about them as persons, who believe they don’t really matter except for providing a clean house, good food, occasional sex and well brought up children but surely a woman is much more than that and needs more than that.
It’s said it’s a man’s world and more and more women have, sadly, accepted that statement because it seems it’s really all about the men. We cater to the whims and caprices of our men whilst, our own emotional needs are largely unfulfilled.
I know this goes both ways, however, I see more women being affected by their partner’s lack of empathy and support. I guess what I am really asking is how supportive are we of our partners. Do we just do the minimum or go the whole hog for them? Do we really listen to one another? Are we really supportive of each other psychologically and emotional or do we just live together as room or housemates going through the motions of marriage?
I am not implying that men must be perfect or meet all their wives needs, that’s impossible. I am rather asking the men that really love their wives to appreciate them more, be sensitive to their needs, look upon them as people and not merely as their wives or mothers of their children.
Act towards your wife as you would your friend because when the shit hits the fan she most probably will be all you have if you haven’t driven her away with your insensitivity.