• Tuesday, July 23, 2024
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BusinessDay

Awaken your spirit

eugenia_abu_new

I knew from when I was about twelve years old that I was a creative. I could write, I could draw and I was drawn to some of the best writings in magazines and books. I also knew that I did not like anyone being treated badly. I had no name for it but I knew I did not want to see a taxi driver hurt a little boy, a father bully his daughter, a teacher maltreat a student. I got involved in issues that were unrelated to me for many years as a youngster.

As I grew older, I channelled my love for justice and art into institutions that stand for the ethos of these activities and joined organisations where my passion could be relevant. I was involved for many years with the National Council of Women Societies, chairing the media committee ahead of the Beijing conference under the irrepressible Hajia Laila Doganyan. I am deeply concerned with the objectification of women in the media and the dominant ideology that only men can be petroleum Engineers or Doctors as is propagated by most media.

I have been interested for as long as I can remember in the ratio of men to women in media houses and how the women thin out at policy making levels and populate the lower rung of tea makers and assistant producers as well as on air personalities. When statistics are presented, it shows that there has been an improvement in the number of women in media since Beijing but the statistics do not present the whole picture. The number has increased, yes, but where are the women in the ranking? How many women have been made Editors? How many have been given cookery pages when in fact they can cover facility management? How many have earned their jobs for reasons other than that they know the Chairman of the company in more ways than one? Agreed the issues are more complex and a lot of women are in fact victims of sexual harassment or sex for jobs, still the statistics do not do women any favours.

It is not also as easy as it seems in a society where bootlicking is the norm in most workplaces and the boys’ club is alive and well. The women still hold the short end of the stick and have to work twice as hard to attain any significant role in their organisations. In fact the more efficient one is, the more resented you are. This is the reason all of us, women and men alike must engage in our passions. Don’t work in a place you absolutely hate for the money. Enjoy what you do. Awaken your spirit.

If I did not enjoy my work over the years, perhaps the poor remuneration and the politics of the workplace may have chased me away. I may never have attained the height I have today standing tall among my peers anywhere in the world. In addition to the advice of my family to stay the tide, I awakened my spirit and created multiple levels of passion to keep me energised. I will share a few.

a)     I awakened my spirit widely to accommodate my other interests i.e. writing and so began to contribute to newspapers and magazines in the early years of my broadcasting career. Writing was my elixir, the place I could get lost in, that gave me great joy. I am in my elements when I write and cultivated this side of me alongside my broadcast career.

b)     I am a teacher at heart. I elevated my spirit to that place where in spite of my crazy schedule I offered my teaching skills to the Federal University of Agriculture Makurdi from about 1988-1990. It was an incredible two years. I taught English for science students to undergraduates of the university. Today I am rewarded by the joy of it but also by my students worldwide doing great things.

c)      I have a simple but keen fashion sense. I enjoy many magazines and my love for reading them to get perspective, trends and stories on health gave me joy. I am not a slave to fashion but if I choose to I can have my own fashion line. I design a lot of what I wear.

d)     I love children and my spirit is heightened among them. So I run a summer writing workshop for kids 7-14 years teaching them writing, moral values, painting, creativity and confidence. Every summer it is an exhausted woman that falls on her bed every day for six days culminating in a party, gifts and hugs but it is also a fulfilled woman whose spirits soar very high.

Between my tight schedule and my family, I water my spirit, I awaken it to the oft ignored things of life. I find things that give me joy. Then when the world decides anywhere you are to pretend that efficiency is a crime, your spirit is alert and joyful, there is a spring in your step and your spirit goes ahead of you. No one should ever steal your joy, follow your passion, enjoy the moments, smell the coffee…

Awaken your spirit…Stay with your creator, do something that gives you joy, pray a lot. Laugh a lot. Its 2016. E go better!

 

Eugenia Abu