When I’m listening to a conversation – an interview on the radio, teachings by a popular person via podcasts or even eavesdropping nje – there is always a point when I go: hm, how would I answer that?

I don’t know if you do this too but, often, I get this excited feeling because the question is so good. Or the person’s answer is thought-provoking and leaves me questioning my own feelings. This happened to me on my drive home from work today.

I was listening to a conversation between Bishop TD Jakes and his daughter, Pastor Sarah Jakes Roberts.

Sidebar: I am going through a heavy SJR phase. I do that with everything from people to food. I can go from an immersive adoration where I want to know everything about the subject and experience it every day to rarely engaging with the subject again. Just ask Jimmy’s Killer Prawns. So bare with me, I don’t know how long my obsession with her is going to last.

Back to the convo. It is titled: Growing Up Jakes. Obviously, it’s a famous dad talking to his kid about being his kid. So he asks her: “what do you think that you learnt from your mother that has affected your expression of womanhood, of femininity?”

I perked up in the car and paused the podcast so I could pose the same question to me. Here is what came up: my mother is all grace. She always approaches the world with open arms. She quickly accepts apologies, even the ones that will never be given. She is agreeable. When she doesn’t think a person’s idea is the best one for all concerned, she will always offer up an alternative that can work.

She is water. I am fire.

My mother is always able to put her prudence and peace above rightful revenge and relentless wrath. She was my first example of femininity but that example is one I found difficult to assimilate because human beings can and do take advantage of it. She’s no punk but she definitely doesn’t let your flaws taint the good in any situation. It’s a mark of strength to find a way to be graceful in the face of fuckery. I am not that strong.

My mother has many qualities that I admire. I’m sure she looks at her adult daughter and wishes she had some of my ways too. Society dictates that a woman is meant to be “a lady.” That we are these monoliths who are either good or bad. Or right or wrong. Or chose or single. Always one thing or the other.

So I made a playlist* of women who are and do whatever they want – despite the labels that are put on them. Women who – whether “good” or “bad” – refuse to be a popeye. Women who stand in their truth. Women like my mother. Women like me.

*Let me know if you prefer playlists on Spotify or Tidal. Just in case I ever make another one I’d like to share.