It is astonishing just how much it sucks to be a woman, in any part of the world, in every phase of life, at every age, amid every possible circle and crowd and outwardly harmless herd on the street even. We’re simply here, fearing for our lives, fighting oppression sans the luxury of voice, fleeing situations so we can keep our lives, becoming socially awkward and private and solitary because we can no longer sit tight with the pressures and callousness of expectation, judgment, abuse, scorn and speculation and we can also no longer keep making a case for ourselves – sorry, we don’t believe we need to.
I could be a little girl in Kabul, no longer permitted to attend school or run amuck in the Panjshir Valley – the stretch of which I once thought was analogous to my now lost smile.
I could be a young woman in another city in Afghanistan whose worst nightmare has now become the dark repercussions of walking the streets of her city unaccompanied.
I could be a mother of young children who has had to flee my home in Ukraine just so I live to mother my brood.
I could be a successful businesswoman hustling since her teens, who happens to have just hit menopause and yet must explain why her hormones need her to take it slow or not or have to talk about things that really are nobody else’s business.
I could be the most accomplished tennis player in the history of tennis or sport, in all of time, who has decided to gracefully exit the game but must have reason enough to.
And then again, I could simply be a woman with a career who wants a child and another one and to go after every ambition until it finally hits me that in this world, where time is constantly running out, I belong to a sexual category and am comprised of a biology that simply cannot have it all, at her time, in her way.
I could be a woman with desire who will think it too dangerous to cave in because sexual repression is the norm.
I could be a girl in a bar or a cafe or a restaurant, eating, thinking, drinking, writing, reading, lost in her own world of clever introspection or abstract thought or strategically planning how she will change the world, who should however be primed for a total douchebag of a dude to solicit her for sex, drag her into stupid conversation, with a senseless comment here or there about the curve of her hips or her suddenly protruding belly or a zit on her cheek or ask her outright what her relationship status is because propriety, courtesy, setting and thinking about just how nosy you can be are no longer concepts worth consideration.
And even while I am all of the above,
I am also a girl born to this world like any other,
(All the while retaining the right to be different),
Deserving of freedom, presence, space and voice, like any other,
With a mind that knows too well what she wants and mustn’t tolerate,
In a body that is her choice how she will wield, feed and keep,
Chasing or amid or at the fag end of a career that she gets to determine how she will navigate or terminate.
I can be a girl with ambition or none, a woman with a career or none, a woman with a career and a kid or ten or without a single one, a girl who dreamt and delivered or who didn’t.
And I’m unavailable if you haven’t quite evolved from misogyny and the unhealed parts of yourself.
I’m supposed to be svelte but not skinny.
My skin must be smooth, for as long as I can defy age and then, faint wrinkles are fine.
My beauty must be striking but also earthy.
I must be perfectly imperfect but the extent of my imperfections – the precise points at which they are attractive – can and must be determined by all and sundry that gape and gawk and constantly size me up and suss me out.
I am also a girl who wants to strive to live without any bullshit.
Which, for me, is the hardest thing ever.
Because I’m a woman.
And the girl I am didn’t see any of this coming.
Because nothing could prepare her for it.
But what if I was unafraid?
Well, that’s when it stops to suck.
What if I upset the apple cart?
Well, sometimes the ones that fall out are sweeter, surer. They sort themselves out. And the ones that pick them (err…pick on them) too!
This piece belongs to a series titled, “THE WOMAN”, on our network.
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