Women’s day sowed the seed for this post. Massive celebrations at workplaces, schools and colleges, articles in newspapers about how this one day brings forth the celebrity in all of us women got me thinking about this post. I probably sound like the quintessential bitch when I decry the whole, “let us throw the light on women, love, mothers, and fathers days.” I detest the concept. I will make that the topic for another post.
For now, I would like to draw your attention to where I digressed from—wait, I didn’t tell you what the post will be about to help you decide if you want to stay or leave. This post is and will continue to be about in the words of teenage mutant Ninja Turtles, “rad” me.
I named the post “Bitch, please…” because I want to turn notions of nomenclature on its head. Much of the documented reference to the word bitch in the 16th and 17th century is with reference to a man and not a woman. For ready reference on the history of the word, go to bitch.
As a young girl, my notion about who I ought to be was primarily a secondhand experience, sifted through the eyes of others. I always tried to fit the mold of the perfect little girl. As I got older, I remember my mother often asking me to ‘behave’ like a girl. What that meant, I didn’t know because no one educated me in the ways of ‘being’ a girl. Climbing trees after boys and hurling pebbles into the gutter to chase away butterflies was not what my mother thought was becoming of a girl. On odd days when I played “kitchen” with my girl friends, I would often see a smile spread across faces. I never gave any of that a thought. When I was a toddler, it was family; in my stick-like, braises years, it was my mother and my grandmother; as a teenager, it was my parents; as a grown woman, it was my extended family and the ones who were not my family who always colored my lens of self. For the years they had on their side, I took it as a given and never questioned why or how or what of these notions made no sense.
The older I got, these differences became more apparent. I had to conform. I began accepting the generalized notions of conformity because it made everyone around me happy. In the end, I began believing that’s all that mattered.
But there is always a moment of epiphany in everyone’s life; and there certainly was one in mine. A moment when a girl turns into a woman and fully embraces her self-image the way it is meant to be.
The more I was asked to conform, the more I reared my head. It became a constant struggle to prove to everyone around me that women can and should merit the same treatment as men. It was not until my early twenties I realized how flawed my own notions of the differences between men and women I carried around in my head were. I was measuring women against men with the same yardstick. The very idea was flawed in itself didn’t occur to me until later.
I owe it in large part to my professors who helped me ask the right questions about gender, identity and female sexuality to break these views inside my head. I finally realized that as a woman, I should celebrate my womanhood for what it is and in my own words celebrate, “the bitch.”
Shocked are you that I would use a derogatory word in the same sentence as celebration? You certainly should be. A rose by any other name the bard wrote. How should it matter what names we give ourselves or what the society demands of us? In the end, all that matters is that you recognize your true worth and embrace your true self.
I take immense pride in my body. I am not what I used to be 10 years ago, but I am certainly more than that now. I see gray, I see wrinkles, but I also see something deeper and something more sensual and beautiful emerging. I am going all out and celebrating me! My life experiences certainly have shaped who I am and I am grateful for everything that has come my way. When you take the reigns of knowing who you are, the power it bestows on you is immeasurable.
I am me! I am everything that is around me! This year will open on a resounding note of giving more of myself to me.