I grew up as a tomboy! A passionate rebel, almost always ready to challenge the status quo, particularly related to the gender stereotypes. I would stand tall, ever ready to do everything that boys can do. For those who know me from childhood will recall how i always dressed up like boys and donned shorter hairstyle for quite sometime. As if being a MAN was the thing! I am not even a tiny bit proud of having confessed that but i am not ashamed either. Because today i am powerful to look back and analyze situation instead of lament. Today, as i dig in to the root of that complicated youthful behavior, i can strain out that hint of deeply embedded patriarchal structure that sadly cascaded down from forefathers and left its mark on our family too.
I was raised by a set of highly progressive parents which is where most of my confidence came from. But my lost identity and the claims of patriarchal suffering had its origin in the constant undesired negative role of the extended families, which is such a norm in our society. For instance, daadi, phuphos, chachas, tayas believe they should have more say in raising YOUR kids than your own self! Same goes for the family lifestyle. One gets to see such dominating behavior despite the family being highly educated.
So, lets switch back to the tomboy mode. I can still picture that little girl debating for hours with the elders of paternal side on the unfairness of gender inequality. Stuff like girls can drive cars and boys do not have to be hypocrites. Boys can get away with lack of chivalry while girls have to act all submissive. Today, i wonder WHY AT ALL did i even argue with THEM for the stuff my parents shielded me against and proudly turned me into. So well, lets cut it short, the constant dose of dominance from my extended family led me into the rebellious tomboy i was.
Fast forward two decades, today i do not take any pride in declaring that i was once a tomboy nor do i wish for anyone to be. Because today its easy to identify the powerful ingredient that creates a tomboy: LACK OF PRIDE in being a girl/ woman.
But today, i am also indefinitely proud of myself for being totally in love with the way i am and who i am. I am proud that at 31, i am not controlled by anyone’s opinion or definition of how i should be. I am proud of having buried behind in some gloomy part of my youth the talks of patriarchal shit. When you leave the unnecessary, only then you can reach clarity which eventually enables you to do great stuff and allows you to love you for who you are. Comparing to my bros, my dad would always tell my husband how he was so proud of me being so self-sufficient, and i am confident that today my husband would have something similar to say about me. (Its another thing that he calls me ‘slow’ sometimes 😉 )
I can’t tell you when and where in time that sheepish tomboy fizzled out but the reincarnation gave way to a daring, bright young girl who loves wearing high heels and bold lip colors. Picturing when that kid with a confused identity metamorphosed into a dynamic, bold and clear headed young woman will perhaps always be a failed attempt. But its been slow and gradual process, a by-product of the chemical explosion that pains, scars and challenges cause, i tell you. But foremost is the power of BELIEF AND FAITH that always, ALWAYS brings you home, back to your center 🙂
BELIEF is what will stop you from selling yourself low, to class mates, colleagues, lover, friends, a boss….and those nosy extended relatives too, oh yes! It will give you an uncanny ability to raise your voice and walk out of the situation where you deem necessary. It teaches you how NOT to conform to something that doesn’t fit your values. Belief in yourself and in the one above gives you balance and self-control.
This WOMEN’S DAY, I wish, pray and hope for you all to BELIEVE IN YOURSELF! Belief so strong that you can dispel and shoo away anyone who tries to dismantle you personalities and identities, may that be extended family, corporate lords, mean friends or in-laws whoever, wherever. May you have a self-belief and control so strong that you choose not to spread hatred, jealousy and bitchiness towards other women, which is perhaps a bigger root cause of negativity in our surroundings. This women’s Day, lets vow to build ourselves first and then expect the men to favor us.
Let’s vow to never fight for ‘equality’, but think ‘humanity’….substitute ‘brotherhood’ with ‘sisterhood’…. replace verbal attacks with high heels <3 Lets pledge to leave the men as men and the women as women without comparing and by accepting the differences with a dignified and broadened mental horizon. Let the battle we fight with the world be a battle INSIDE ourselves, FOR ourselves….a battle to strengthen and empower us. To have an unshakable control on ourselves, our decisions and our life. And the ability to move on where we think its important, after all, we are NOT A TREE, right? 🙂
May we create stories compelling and inspiring enough to be passed on to our girls. May our girls look up to us to find a powerful example of being a strong WOMAN! May they never have to shy away inside a shell of a tomboy and courageously claim their beautiful identity as a woman.
HAPPY WOMAN’S DAY
A Tomboy turned high heels lover!