To all the women across the globe!
“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”
I consider myself a storyteller. But a year back I had an epiphany that in a way we are all story tellers! We tell the story of our life from the memories that we had in the past. Life isn’t always fair and most of us go through things that we would not wish them on our enemies. But how our future unfolds, is always based on the story we tell ourselves.
Our past might not be perfect, but instead of retelling the story from a victim’s stand point of view if we learn to re-narrate our story from victor’s point of view about how we over came a challenge with resilience, I bet we would feel more confident, worthy and love ourselves more!
Especially when we were young, we did not have the power to change our life as we were dependent on the adults around us. But once we are an adult, we have the power to take action and change our perspective on anything, including our past.
So how can you start re-telling your story from today?
I am a woman.
The world dictates,
what I should wear,
how long my skirts should be,
And my perfect size in centimeters.
I am a woman.
And the world tells me,
If I speak freely I am a flirt,
If I sleep around I am a slut,
If I don’t agree to what you say,
I am a bitch.
I am a woman.
And the world objectifies me,
For the shiny car they need to sell.
For the booze that needs to clear your head.
For their desire to be kindled I need to dress.
In skimpy, tight clothes that don’t fit.
I am a woman.
And the rules are set,
To be the perfect wife who cooks three meals.
To earn money to compensate the rising needs.
To be a mother, caregiver and a pleasure in bed.
I am a woman.
I take back my power,
To feel an equal,
To be respected because I am no less,
To be paid for my talents not based on my gender instead.
To make my own decision because I am equipped,
with grey matter inside my head.
Books have been my one constant friend in my ever changing territory of life.
Growing up in India, only the big cities had libraries and it was a tedious journey to go there by bus so I have only visited the library named Connemara in Chennai once I should say! Also my dad took me to the British Consulate once to see the library they had.
But anywhere I found a book, I would read. Stories soothed me and made me forget the world in which I lived. But I had this one book which I remember getting as a gift – A fairy tales. The drawing were so beautiful and the pages so smooth, that I read probably more than a 100 times.
Then as we moved around a lot when I was young, I lost the book. I was sad and when the internet was introduced and online shopping became a thing, I searched for that book and hoped I would find it again. But never did.
But lo behold, on a trip to my sister home as I was browsing through her book collection, I saw my book. The joy I felt cannot be described and I felt I was that young girl again and was so emotional seeing it. Seeing my reaction, my sister was happy to part with it and now the book is back with my other book collections. I have read those stories to my children and it felt life comes back in full circle.
When I came to U.S, my first visit to the library felt like I was in heaven. Every where I turned there were books – for all genre, for all ages and on top of that it was free and we could take up to 75 books! I read voraciously for all the years that I had lost not reading. I stayed up till 3 a.m reading a book, because I never had the patience to wait for the ending.
It was and still is the best place to be in the world for me!
I recently read a book, Ikigai: The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life by Héctor García
ikigai is seen as the convergence of four primary elements:
- What you love (your passion)
- What the world needs (your mission)
- What you are good at (your vocation)
- What you can get paid for (your profession)
- It is one thing to find your bliss, but it is another thing to get paid for it and make it a profession, because in the end bliss doesn’t pay your bills! So in the relentless pursuit of a better life, we are forced to run behind money. In the end, even after attaining the so called dream life, our lives feel empty!
What if we can balance both. Yes money is important. But one hour each week or an hour every day, can we make time for ourselves to follow our bliss, do the thing that makes you come alive without any expectations, except that it is what you love to do. It need not be perfect, it need not bring you money. Just that one precious hour with your soul is the gift that we give ourselves for all the other hassles that we go through on a day to day basis.
I know the relentless critique that sits on our shoulders with a list of excuses to not do it today. Sometimes it feels like there is a conspiracy going on on earth, preventing us humans from following that which we love to do. Only the strong willed ones win and others listen to those excuses and watch Netflix to numb that feeling and relax because we had a hard day at work and we just too tired to do anything.
But I guess, if we think we are worthy enough, we would guard that one hour with all our might and let people around us know, that we won’t be available and it is our time, I bet we all would be a tad bit happier in the long run.
It doesn’t have to be work or passion, it can be both and it involves a little bit of creativity and persistence.
So let’s promise ourselves, that this year, we would also follow our Ikigai.
This year instead of making resolutions, which to be honest, I’ve never stuck with, this year I intend to focus on a theme.
My theme for this year is “I am enough!”
In every facet of life, there is always something that is lacking or something that we think we need to improve on. Thanks to the social media, now we have constant reminders that what we are is not enough because someone out there is living the life that we can only dream of.
The entire consumer industry is marketed with this one theme, that what and who you are is not enough and you need more to add on to yourself to feel and look better.
If all of us become satisfied with who we are and instead of chasing the material comfort and focus on activities that nourishes our soul, I bet we would be more happier!
So, this year, when my little voice speaks in hushed tones of what I need to feel more fulfilled…I will remind myself that who I am at that given moment is enough. I don’t need anyone to complete me or a new product to enhance my self-esteem and instead turn my focus on activities that bring me joy.
I am enough!