What makes me a woman? I have been asking myself for past few days. My body? My spirit ? My thoughts? My actions? My preferences - both sexual and otherwise? Is it even possible to encase womanhood in words? It probably isn't, but it seems to be a need of times for something haunts me.
Is ability to reproduce foundation of womanhood? If I am not able to reproduce, does that make me less of a woman? I ask myself, as I come to terms with my difficulty to conceive.
It is strange how age old traditions and beliefs haunt you when you think you are above them. They seem to make a back door entry and dig into your mind where you are most vulnerable.
Images of age old suffering conjure up in my mind - images of women persecuted for their inability to bear children. Women tortured, rejected, insulted for bearing daughters. So many before me have died living deaths of relentless torture and insult. So many have lived in the burden of self deprecation.
No, I have not been tortured. I have not been insulted. In fact I am fortunate enough to have some of the most incredible people around me. I am blessed with a mind which has an ability to think and a spirit that, at least, has a concept of freedom. So, I have a privilege to ruminate, to question, to redefine my womanhood.
But confession has to be made. For a moment at least, I have betrayed my sensibilities by feeling incomplete, inadequate, stunted. It has taken a lot of effort to gain back my senses. The hurt to my ego was terrible. The pain lasted for days. How could I lack this - something which is so much a part of lives of any woman I have known? Why am I being denied the experience which seems to be such an important part of the life of a woman? The fact is that when something is denied to you, it becomes even more important.
What is it? Pollution? Stress? Mistakes in my upbringing? Past Karma? Curse? Black magic? I have tried to come up with so many reasons, silly and otherwise. Mind never fails at surprising you, does it? The rationalization need not be rational at all! And for a person like me, who has supreme ability of never forgiving oneself, it gets even worst.
If it were someone else, I would have given her comfort, understanding, perspective, support. But why am I not able to give that to myself? Recently, I read about a woman who was suffering from a rare condition, where she did not have any reproductive organs at all. No uterus, no ovaries, no cervix and no vagina. Inside a perfect female form, she hid an emptiness that was beyond comprehension. Her identity crisis seemed worst than mine, I almost cried with sympathy. But for myself, I don't even have tears. My mind is on fire and I am letting my heart burn. Compassion is the greatest of virtues - not only towards others, but towards oneself too! When will I understand this? Mind can be your greatest friend and it can be your greatest enemy!
So it is time to discover that woman in me.
I look at the mirror and see a perfect female form. The curves of my body, the softness of my skin, the grace of my gait, all whisper my femininity. My heart quickens at the touch of my man. I seek the warmth of his skin, the roughness of his touch. And I possess the greatest gift of all, I am able to open myself to accept him.
I have the ability to cry at will, to laugh at the smallest of things. I can look at a flower and marvel at it's beauty. Gossip gives spice to my life, applying nail paint is greatest of my joys and heaps of clothes is my idea of heaven.
I have compassion, tenderness, empathy to all that is little, fragile and weak. I am flighty, shy, moody, mysterious. It is hard to fathom the depths of my soul. I breathe fire one moment and break down into tears the next. I indulge in romance and human relationships fascinate me.
I can fall in love and how? I can fling myself completely, uncontrollably, passionately, with everything I have. I can suffer in love and love in suffering. Love speaks from the deepest of the places in my heart. Sacrifice does not bother me for I can loose the world for a twinkle in the eyes of a loved one.
I may not be able to reproduce, but I can create - a poem, a story, a thought, a smile, a word of care. I may not be able to give birth, but I can nurture - a sapling from a seed, a cat from a kitten, a human from a child.
Is it really so hard to see her, if you open your heart enough? I can glimpse her now, deep inside myself, the woman that I am. She is hiding somewhere behind the veil of self doubt, I know. It is time to find her, to bring her out in the sun and let her breathe free from expectations. She should see herself too and bask in the glory of her womanhood. She should be proud, yet grateful for all that is endowed to her. The triumph of her existence would melt any clouds that fate has chosen to cast upon her being.
I will embrace her now and with her I will sing the song of this life, in a celebration of the divine.