DO WE NEED WOMEN’S DAY?

Womanhood – something  I don’t want to define with a feminist perspective but as a humanist. I feel womanhood as the greatest blessing on earth. Able to keep a tiny life within and be braver to endure any pain without a repent and do much more, which another many cannot even think about.

I am truly proud of being a woman – at this point of time.

It wasn’t this way, earlier for me. The moment I realised I became a woman, it was hard for me to accept, why God has given all the pain to women alone (all the Hoola hoops with periods etc.). I tried to be more like a man, which was again impossible for me. The more I tried, the more I was condemned.

Motherhood- kicked my brains

But, yes things changed gradually. When I became a mother, especially of two girls, I began to think in a different perspective. Even though my thoughts are always conflicting, I was just sure about one thing- I will never let my daughters feel sad or even bad about being a girl. I will let them celebrate the feeling of being a woman, rather than condemning them for just being a girl – making them feel brittle or even belittle them.

I am not a feminist, but I believe wholeheartedly, that every woman should work and be independent. It makes them feel bold enough to take decisions without seeking anyone’s support. It is not easy, but not difficult or impossible either. It is all about choices. Now, we women are getting much more things done, thanks to the changing (not completely though) mindset.  We can point out great examples in every field and they are the best in their field – accomplished and popular.

Watching women juggling with corporate work, household, children and much more -still smiling and enticing the crowd around.

But why do we again need to celebrate a day for it?

It is like we are celebrating, just to remind that women exist (seems like people forgot that women are around every other day or even every other moment). We need not celebrate a day, let it be every day when a woman is respected for what she is – not what others want her to be or even what they take her to be for what she does.

A woman – She is not just an entity who loves pink, red lipsticks, dolls and utensils to play with or just a shy bride. She is much more than that- if she decided to be what she wants to, accept her or take her as she is.

The day, she is not ignored, she stops demanding for being equal, the moment she feels she is not judged, not toyed or belittled – we all will stop celebrating this “March 8th – as Women’s day” .

As then on, she will be cherished, admired and accepted as SHE is.

Women are waiting for that day, when they will be acclaimed for their entirety .

It is not just about a man or a woman, it is how a human is supposed to be treated.

Let us all celebrate a “Human’s Day” rather than these gender biased days.

 

MOTHERHOOD AND GUILT ARE INSEPARABLE

Being a mom, you are going to be bombarded with so much guilt for everything you do to everything you don’t do.

Nearly, 90% of moms feel guilty- And yes it is not a surprising element. Right from giving birth, breastfeeding, parenting, helicopter parenting and much more, you will stumble every now and then with guilt.

When pregnancy starts, it begins creeping into the thoughts.

“Oh, I didn’t have this, my child would have got better eyes, lips..etc”

“Oh, I should have lost enough weight,so that I would not have gained this much during pregnancy, now how I am gonna take care of myself and my kids . . .”

Blah… blah… blah…

A lot many thoughts keep conflicting the mind, rather than focussing on the real thing.

Again, after giving birth, most moms around 10 % or so, struggle with breastfeeding, some do not have enough supplement, that they have to start on formula milk, some do feed enough that the baby is growing fatter… and much more..

The list just prolongs from then, there is never an end to it.

Again the common guilt which is prevailing is when a mother is back to work. The guilt is much heavier than an atom bomb, it just breaks away the confidence and the mother’s dreams, that finally she gives up, the hopes and be a dedicated mom.

But again, it is not the end of the story – the guilt is inseparable.

When kids grow up, the mother again feels lonelier and again guilty of giving up her career, and then finally not able to give a kick start to it, because she keeps blaming herself for all the decisions she took in her life.

So what’s the story now?

Why do women, especially moms feel the guilt?

Is it because she doesn’t do her things well enough? Or,

Is it the society, who is grading the moms?

People tend to forget that moms are also humans, they also have their share of life. All they need is some time on their own, a job to make them independent to boost their self-confidence. And they just need slight support, not huge though.

So moms, just chill, if you are feeling guilty;

  • Firstly you do an excellent job, being a mom.
  • It is not easy just being mom, it takes up so much effort and you are the best at it.
  • Remember that your happy mind keeps everyone around you happy. So smile, take your own time and chill out.
  • Not breastfeeding is not the end of the world. Somethings are not in your hands. There are thousands of women who are not able to lactate, and it is not their fault.
  • Parenting is indeed a mess, you fall in uninvited, but yes, you might take your time to gather around and swim across to the shore.
  • Do not compare your parenting with others, you need not be guilty for your choices if you know you cannot control it.

Moreover, it is not in your hands that, the people around you are beguiled by the traditional patriarchal child-rearing setup, which is mostly triggered by maternal guilt rather than parental guilt.

Leave the idea of perfectionism, rather than focus on what is good for the child.

Just ignore your guilt and then focus on your child. Guilt gives you nothing, your child will give you the universe of happiness.

THE INVISIBLE INFLUENCES

A couple of months back I was at the OB-GYN, waiting for my turn. There were almost 20 women already waiting, so I thought it would take time before I would be called in. I took out my phone to continue reading the book I started. Few pages into the book, I was pondering on the idea of the author when a girl in her mid-twenties walked in. 

Receptionist: Good morning Mam!

Her: Good morning! I need an appointment with OBG.

Receptionist: Name mam

Her: Abigail 

Receptionist: Number of weeks or gestation period?

Her: 28 weeks

Receptionist: Age mam

Her: 26

Receptionist: Married mam?

Her: Unmarried 

Receptionist: (Little hesitant, she asked again to reconfirm) Unmarried mam?

Her: Yes

By now, everyone’s eyes in the room were fixed on her. I slipped back into reading my book. I was called for my checkup and the doctor ordered for a scan. I was seated at the waiting area of the radiology wing when Abigail approached me and almost snapped with the question, “Would you mind if I sit here?“. There was a dose of anger in her face. “Sure“, I replied. 

“Is it so difficult to not make me feel awkward? Why can’t you do your own stuff and not concentrate on others?” – she said in a tone which was screaming frustration.

“Excuse me, I didn’t mean to. Abigail, right?”. She nodded

“Abigail, you are feeling awkward because you noticed us glance at you when you said you weren’t married. I understand that it might be difficult for you to go through the process of birthing being unmarried. In a conservative society like India, heads are going to turn every time you say you are unmarried with this baby bump. By now, you have made a decision to go ahead with the baby, so, the only thing you should do is to get accustomed to these stares.”

She was staring at me with a puzzled face

“I am not judging you. In fact, I don’t know how you ended up with this pregnancy. This pregnancy could be a result of someone not keeping their promise, or you are having an IVF, or you are the receiver of an unconsented sexual encounter. Whatever the reason may be, personally I appreciate that you stood for your baby. There is a lot more for you to handle apart from these stares. Don’t give too much importance to what we would think or say. Am I going to help you during your delivery? No. Would I be taking care of your kid in the future? No. Do you think if you would ever cross my thoughts again? Maybe.  Am I your family or friend? No.. then, why should you care about what I think? Abigail, I don’t want to be harsh on you, but straight to the point, please stop consciously noticing other’s behaviors.”

“Are you saying it’s my fault?”

“It is not about one’s fault. Not about what is right or wrong either. When you made a decision, you should be prepared for the consequences, good or bad. Whatever your path may be, there would always be people who dislike it or criticize it. If I were you, I would think about ensuring a safe and secure future for my kid. The rest should be taking a back seat at this point in time.”

She smiled and I moved on with my scan. I never saw her again. I hope she is doing fine and had a healthy baby. 

It is not just Abigail who thinks about what others would think or behave when we do certain things, all of us do. Many think that only when we are doing something that does not fit into the “rightness” of society we tend to change or modify our decisions. In fact, these invisible factors are influencing us every day, they would continue to do so if we allow them to. 

Consider a situation when you are out for dinner with friends or family. When we are placing an order in a round-robin fashion, if anyone before us chooses the same dish as we have in mind, we tend to change our choice. This is often because we think it hinders our individuality. We do not buy shoes or clothing we see are being worn by many others. 

One more example could be choosing our next vacation spot. Many who follow others on facebook or Instagram, choose their vacation spot that is different than others in their social network. Somehow, we like to say that we visited a place no one else did. Constantly, we are conscious of our decisions. 

As far as I am concerned, I give the least importance to what others or society thinks. I believe society does little when we are in trouble. If we have a very caring society and family, we wouldn’t be so worried about our decisions in the first case. So, why give so much importance to what others think? Why should we base our decisions on their thoughts? We should always do what is best for us but do not hurt others at the same time. 

Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.

– Dr. Seuss

WHEN THE CHAOS IN ME FOUND BALANCE

When we say that words have the power to heal, it is not merely another cliched statement. I am thoroughly convinced of this realization. I have always enjoyed reading more than writing until lately when writing has turned my source of catharsis. During my childhood, writing even an essay caused a frown on my face for I always lacked expression and my words failed to gather any attention. I did write at times but they were meant for a diary. It was used to vent out my frustration whenever I secured low marks or the homely anguish troubled me. Other than that, writing didn’t come naturally to me. However, it is an irony that today I find both pleasure and solace in writing.

Just like many others, I resorted to writing when depression struck me and I felt no one could understand me better. It was like there was an earnest need to get things out of me as I felt that I was growing hollow day by day. Blogging has actually been the best decision of my life since the support I got from the writing world has been amazing. I don’t mean assistance in literal terms of flowering comments and appreciation but their consistent presence that asserted I am not alone helped me to recover soon.

Pouring my heart out clears the toxins out of my chaotic mind and lightens my soul. The best part is that writing gives full liberty to create an illusionary world where I can not only dream anything fancy but can also fly. Earlier it was difficult for me to think positive and maybe even today my poems end on a sad note most of the times. However, I can say my sufferings have reduced substantially for writing actually works as a therapy. It has even enabled me to see the beauty in things which made no sense a few years back. When the ink bleeds, it actually breaks the walls that we build around us to avoid further hurt from penetrating. For writing brings along the gift of acceptance melting the heart to even perceive others’ sorrows.

Initially, I wrote about my pain, my miseries, and my preferences. However, when nature around started affecting me positively, my words gradually drifted towards the colours beyond white and black, reflecting joy. My writings are evolving day by day as now I have developed linking the observations beyond my personal experiences thereby empathising with others’ circumstances. Every element of nature be it living or non-living has now meaning for me as if it all symbolizes something ethereal. It is certainly a fact that our words can create an impact only when they are poignant enough to affect us deeply and we are fully convinced.

Whether we write about the demons scaring us or the fairies in heaven, it reflects the exquisite mental state and our position of the heart. Whenever we articulate the stories or poems depicting verity wrapped in ornamental words, it becomes more appealing. Just like the words have the power to rescue us from the chaotic world, they also have the potential to strike the reality hard on the face. Writing has always driven me forward while helping me to reminisce the bad times like a good memory. No sooner than our words start leaving footprints than we realize that this talent needs to be utilized for healing than reminding people of their scars. With this, I conclude by saying that writing actually helps our own selves before acting as a support system for others. Thus, we need not be mindful of what we write for it is actually necessary to vent it out before we fill rivers with our tears!

SEEING THE WORLD DIFFERENTLY

I was never a writer… I never thought I could write something that would interest others. It is thanks to two very important people in my life that I got into writing. 

Let’s begin from the starting…

As a kid I loved stories. My Dad used to buy so many books for me from book exhibitions. I had a great collection and I used to love reading and rereading them. My storybooks were my prized possessions. There were a lot of  Russian book exhibitions in our area so my collection had a great many stories of Czars and Czarinas. Whenever I read a story I always visualised it – the room, the ambiance, the characters, etc, I always formed a mental picture of the whole thing. This craze for books spilled over to my adolescence also. From Famous Five, Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys to Mills and Boons to Sydney Sheldon, Danielle Steele I guess my affair with books was lifelong. 

Coming back to the point, throughout this journey I never felt the urge to write. I was quite happy reading what others were churning out. My sister Prabhjot was actively writing for Candles Online. I don’t know what spark she saw in me and proposed my name to Chiradeep. But it was only due to the coaxing and guidance and patience and perseverance of Chiradeep and Prabhjot that I became a blogger. They both saw something in me that I myself didn’t.

Writing changed my life in many many ways. I was very bogged down by the daily mundane chores of my life. Life was just routine and not exciting. Writing for Candles changed that. Just the fact that the people were reading what I wrote and commenting on it was exhilarating. The small little limelight that was shown on me boosted my confidence a great deal. 

Writing an article is never easy for me. I usually plan everything out in my mind and then start typing. Some days it easily flows and some days I get stuck at every word. But it’s a journey which is very fulfilling. It’s an outlet for my emotions. Because of my love for stories I use a lot of anecdotes for my articles. And the inspiration for these articles comes from people around me and my interactions with them. I have started looking at the world from a different perspective. After all, anything or anybody or any incident could be an inspiration for my next article. There is a story in every person I meet I just try to weave them into my articles and my thought process.

WRITING MY HEART OUT

Writing has put me to ease, always! Be it expressing my feelings in a better way or just venting out my feelings writing comes to my rescue. I started expressing via writing at a very early age. I was 13 yrs when 3 children from our school died in an accident while on their way to school. That was the first time I felt the need to let out my emotions through a poem. That poem was a tribute to those kids and it was so well received that the principal of our school had put it up on the notice board for days together for all to read. Those were the days when there were no school magazines or anything alike, hence the any of your contribution getting displayed on the notice board was a huge achievement.

Writing is therapeutic for me. I write when I am sad, I write when I am happy and I write when I am overwhelmed with my own life. I prefer to write mostly because you are always able to edit what you have written, unlike the words that you say. So writing my emotions out is the safest bet for me because I am dead sure that it is not going to hurt anyone.
Writing heals me you know. When my life had hit the rock bottom, it was writing that I resorted to. From poems I moved on to write about social issues, then short stories and then microblogging at Instagram. I let my distress make a way out of my mind through each blog that I posted. Every blog of me, every story that I wrote has a true part of me. This was a major catalyst in my life. It helped me tremendously when I was fighting infertility for years together followed by undergoing very difficult fertility treatments. I wrote about my loss – a loss that no mother is able to take. But writing it out gave me the strength to move forward.
I took to Instagram recently. Over there, I write about my IVF journey and I feel so good when some women reach out to me just to tell that they look up to me as a role model and hope that they will be able to overcome infertility like me. Some ping me to ask about infertility doctors and some others ping only to pour their heart out. I am so blessed that God has given me this art which helps me touch a distressed life and provide comfort or motivation to them. I am also working on creating my own website and I am hoping to put up such content there which will make a positive change to women like me who crave and pray for having a baby. Wish me luck with that!
I wanted to do a career in writing but the accounting bug bit me and I turned in to an accountant now punching numbers to balance sheet and P&L day and night and words only playing on my mind all the time.
I can not end this emotional outpour without mentioning about two people. I met two wonderful people who took my writing interest to the next level in the form of blogging. Those two people are none other than Savio (he joined Candles Online recently) and our very own Charlie. The encouragement that I have for from these two is incredible. So a big big thank you to Savio and Charlie for being a constant support and a critic. You have always helped me improve. And all of you – my extended blogging family who take time out to read my articles and blogs, I can’t thank you enough! Your likes and comments on my post cheer me up to no extent.
I would like to take your leave with a very inspiring quote from Maya Angelou in her book, I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings –
There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.”
Happy writing guys! 🙂

WRITING CURED MY SANITY

Ever since I became a mother, I was completely lost. It was like a new era of my life, that confused me to the core. For one moment I wanted to be a perfect mom, the next moment I lost it with my impatience. It took me so long to understand that there is nothing like a “perfect mom”. We all do some or the other way to be a good mom or maybe an average – but motherhood is not measured using a scorecard. Exactly this is what I learned as my first lesson from the time I began to write. It helped me burst the sanity of perfection and much more.

And all I began to do is love my kids with all my heart. People might point fingers at me for being so insane. But I was enjoying it to the core. The moment I shed a cloak of sanity and trying to fit in, I was happier and merrier.

It was all the moment I began to share my experiences. It showed me that I was not just alone in the world dealing with the same issues. And I could literally enjoy the moments of my life.

woman reading book
Photo by Joy Deb on Pexels.com

I am not an avid reader, but I love reading.  If I could recollect the first book I read -it was Matilda – the story of a little girl with unlimited dreams. I was more like her, but with much more limitations to succeed. Earlier the thoughts were cluttered in my head. And all I did was just think – rethink-think and again re-think polishing it a little bit. At times it confuses my present and the past. The moment I began to write the thoughts cloud reduced to minute ones, as my thoughts began to float in my words. It was a turning point in my life.

Writing has befriended me like no one ever can. I could weave my dreams, realisation, achievements and even my limitations in a better way. I could write even when I was judged many times. It helped to boost my confidence, making me realise a hidden potential in me.

The more I write, the more I feel relieved.

greyscale photography of woman wearing long sleeved top
Photo by Kat Jayne on Pexels.com

Finally, during my times of depression, especially the one’s most ladies can’t wade off – the postpartum depressions- writing helped to build a career in my life. Even when the pay off was not so grand, I enjoyed every bit of appreciation that occurred to me.

In a way, writing helped me discover a hidden me, who was in great slumber.

My key advice to newbies would be, keep writing, never stop your pen from bleeding. Do not be discouraged by unwanted comments. Just ignore it and move on. You have better things to listen to.

Writing is discovering your insanity and then embracing it. This is how my SoulRecitals was born.

Happy Reading And Writing!!!