Story of a Chick!

As always, when I have to write something personal and difficult, I write and then delete; write some more and then delete again.  I simply do not know what the right words are, but I recognize the moment when the need is greater than the act of stringing words together and I pounce on it. This might come out as raw, unfinished and imperfect, but then life is just that, so my apologies ahead of time. Many of you might wonder why I write for the world to read what is so personal to me. I write because I then finally let go.

The title has a reason, so please read on. 4 days ago, we had at home 3 baby chicks. Without a plan in place, we suddenly had 3 living, breathing, beautiful baby chicks to care for. I certainly wasn’t prepared. We lost two of them and the third, a rooster, did not seem like he would make it. Once he lost his companions, he seemed utterly lonely and desolate.  When I woke up one morning, he looked pale and deathly cold. It seemed like he was breathing his last. Instinct told me he was a fighter, a survivor; he was willing to wager. Rocky!

I wrapped him up in a warm blanket, fed him fluids and in about 3 hrs, he was up and chirping his way into the garden. Chicks need their mothers to keep calm, feel protected and flourish and that is true of anything living. I was afraid he would cave in chirping incessantly through the day. I woke up this morning knowing in my heart that he needed to be with chicks his age :-(. It broke my heart, but I asked V to take him away to a farm where he would be happier. Wrapped in a blanket, still frail and cold, he left us. But he left a fighter and I know in my heart he will live to be a big, bold, rooster.

I don’t know if any of you reading this post has ever been swung from one difficult situation into another? If you have, then you know where I am coming from. 30 days today and I am still trying to figure out what is wrong with my health. It started with multiple diagnoses–lumps in my breast, diabetes and ovarian abnormalities. Nothing has been confirmed yet, but the sheer thought of the possibility has sent me into a tizzy. I am not sick, but not knowing has made me. I want to find answers but they seem to be hidden behind hospital visits and tests. I want to know one way or another, so I can live my life, make a plan and be the survivor that Rocky showed me he his.

Last week has been especially painful—physically, mentally and emotionally. I caved in from the surmounting stress of it all and shut my mind and body to everything. I realized I was afraid and that zapped an unimaginable amount of energy out of me. I also realized no matter how well meaning people are, this was my battle and I had to fight it alone, but it seemed I did not have the courage for it.

That’s when baby rooster came home. He showed me in 4 days how to kick adversity in the butt and out the window. He taught me that it is alright to be afraid and to seek help. Life’s tough, but life is also graceful and gentle. There are so many places to find meaning and comfort. I looked to my parents for comfort, but realized they were scared for me. A lot of people do not know or understand how to offer comfort even if they mean to. I realized everyone is afraid and in that fear we all make a mess of things. Having Rocky for those few days, with his ragged feathers and chirpy voice alleviated a lot of my troubles.

I said in my previous post that this year is about me. What I did not know then was that this year will also be about the not-so-good me as well. I suppose wisdom does dawn with age. I learnt through 30 days that I can let my troubles wipe the sheen off of my life or chose instead to revel in life. Maya Angelou said it best, “You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it.” This post is about the baby rooster and what he taught me about adversity. When life gives you lemonsmake lemonade has never made more sense to me.

I found wisdom in a baby rooster! And God knows I am grateful for it!

Bitch, please…

you-say-im-bitch-like-its-bad-thing-darren-wotz-paperback-cover-art

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, braces 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.

Go, bitch!