So much is being discussed everyday, everywhere I go — in real life or virtual — about what it means to be a woman. In India. In the Middle East. In the United States.
Despite the good intentions of the world, the public discourse is all about finding the right receptacle to provide female identity. To be of the female sex is not enough. To be of skin and bones and blood and guts is not enough. To be a fully formed human of sound mind is not enough. Are you a good mother? Are you the wife who is fighting to have a career? Are you the sister who rebelled against your brother’s idea of honor? Are you India’s daughter who wasn’t protected enough?
Everyone needs a place. It shouldn’t be inside of someone else. -Richard Siken
Edit: The words in my illustration are from Sarah Kay’s poem, The Type.
You Learn by Jorge Luis Borges
After a while you learn the subtle difference
Between holding a hand and chaining a soul,
And you learn that love doesn’t mean leaning
And company doesn’t mean security.
And you begin to learn that kisses aren’t contracts
And presents aren’t promises,
And you begin to accept your defeats
With your head up and your eyes open
With the grace of a woman, not the grief of a child,
And you learn to build all your roads on today
Because tomorrow’s ground is too uncertain for plans
And futures have a way of falling down in mid-flight.
After a while you learn…
That even sunshine burns if you get too much.
So you plant your garden and decorate your own soul,
Instead of waiting for someone to bring you flowers.
And you learn that you really can endure…
That you really are strong
And you really do have worth…
And you learn and learn…
With every good-bye you learn.