Photograph by Will Milne at negativespace.co
Women aren’t free. Neither are men, though. But women, especially, aren’t free. And, sadly, the strictest jailors are their own mental barriers. I’m not free when I smuggle the sanitary pad to the washroom at work, hiding it in my sweater or pocket or when I just carry the whole hand bag for just a little pad. I wasn’t free when I stood up and sat back down when I, and this other girl who was sitting with me, realized that none of the people approaching the dinner queue are women, when recently attending a Pakistani event and dinner was just announced. We were starving. I’m not free when I just give up the front passenger seat to a man just because he happens to take a ride with me and my husband. I’m not free when I pull my chino pants down, hiding from view a little bit of hair that has grown on my lower legs. I’m not free when, every time I go bra-less at home, my mom nags me to cover up and act proper. I’m not free when my mom and my grand mom don’t let my dad or my husband do the dishes or make roti, because it’s a “woman’s job”. I’m not free every time my husband excuses himself conveniently from doing things at home by stating the apparently universal fact that he does “outside chores”. In his favour, though, this does not happen often. I’m not free every time I’m expected to like kids and coddle them when all I honestly want is to have nothing to do with them. I’m not free at every Punjabi party I attend where I’m not mentally a 100% carefree when consuming alcohol (?!). I’m not free with every suggestion that is made to me to “remind my husband to take xyz for his better health”, or “help my husband to finish his abc chores”, or “give my husband xyz foods that are good for him”, or “force my husband to go to the gym”. I’m not free every time I find myself floating in or around the kitchen, doing an assortment of trivial, unnecessary actions just because all the other women are standing in there. Why can’t I go sit and chill ? I mean, the men are doing just that… like why can’t I be free ? There are no chains. No words or words strong enough to stop me if I do want to break free. So why won’t I simply break the barriers?
Image courtesy: Austin Schmid at schmidy.com
Why is it, that after vocalizing loud and clear about being someone who totally accepts herself, I still shy away from sharing parts of my true self? I know that I’m not alone when I say this. We all follow at least a bit of hypocrisy with things that touch us. The reason is, we have not fully accepted those things as true. Or, in other words, have not given these things the true place and acknowledgment. If we can’t accept it, how can we imagine others to accept it? It’s so natural for us to place ourselves in other’s shoes because ours are worn out walking on the same paths. Maybe the shoes are worn out now. Maybe we can attempt to peel them off and give ourselves that respect to accept our true parts. Regardless of sharing it or not, if we come from a place of self-acceptance, we can make a decision to share it with others or not.
Image courtesy: rawpixel.com
Have you ever said to yourself this: “Thank you. Not you, the physical body. But you, the you. The true you. For doing everything that you do. For managing. For trying. For surviving. Thank you. For everything.”, “I love you. I accept you. For all that you are.”, “I’m sorry. For all the carelessness that I inflict on you.”, and “Please forgive me. Forgive all my carelessness towards you, your true desires, your true feelings, for not coming through with my words of commitment to you.” I did. Today. As I showered and forced my thoughts to really focus on every part of my body as I lathered it. And, at the end, I said those four things. I said them with the deepest and purest meaning that I could consciously afford. And the “Thank you” made me almost teary. It made me realize how much I have neglected and been ungrateful to myself. And that’s why, somewhere or the other, I stay so insatiable from my outer world and the people in it. Because I myself haven’t genuinely been nice to myself. Hence, I crave it all that much. No commitment is truer than a true one to yourself. It needs no vocalizing. It needs no parameters of anyone but yours.
When I looked myself in the mirror, all of my face full of hair needing waxing and threading, and all the little shower droplet diamonds studding my beautiful, thick, black braid that’s the envy of a lot of women I know, I told myself that I will fix it all. I will do it. Applying coconut oil on my feet which are now not that dry, but sore due to a recent sprain, I thought I’ll work on one issue at a time and fix it all. Just like I have so far fixed the clutter scenario of our clothes, the shoes of our house, our drawers with their stuff, the suitcases of the house and our cables. Going strong. I’ll handle one issue at a time at the most root level and resolve it for the best.
Image courtesy: Lacie Slezak at nbbphotos.com.
I like anger. Anger is not all bad. Anger says that I have something to address. Something needs resolution. Something is hurting. And most importantly, anger bloody damn well says that I am emotionally so involved in the matter to even have the courage and stamina to afford such an outburst. It looks like an eruption of flames and a gurgling ooze of lava …maybe I am erupting in a confetti of anxiety, impatience, hurriedness, attachment, care, possessiveness, envy, and mainly love. Someone caring enough just needs to examine closer. Then instead of retreating, their reaction could be a sincere willingness to understand.
Photo courtesy: Averie Woodard at averieclare.com
I feel the happiest when I’m the most liberated. Liberation to me means a labour free breath. A forehead with no tightness. Where it feels as if I’m floating in the direction of my free will instead of logic or other restraints nudging me in that direction, as it would be quicker, or this direction, as it would be emptier, or that, as it would be greener, or cleaner, or include my favourite store on the way, etc. It basically means that I can turn whichever direction, whenever I feel like or take as many or as little steps as I want, without a mental calculation or explanation. When I find myself exploring unexplored territories without fear, I taste this. True liberation. It’s then, that I truly breathe deeply and absorb it all in. My true sense of being present. Of simply being.