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She wasn’t quite aware of this shift yet. No one told her to make this change, but she did, even though she wasn’t told to.
In 2019 our beloved writing contest, Muse of the Month gets bigger and better (find out how here) and also takes the cue from the words of women who inspire with their poetry.
The writing cue for June 2019 is these lines from Indian-born Canadian spoken word and Instagram poet Rupi Kaur, whose poetry is some of the most quoted in recent times. Check out the lines here.
“what is the greatest a woman should learn
that since day one
she’s already had everything she needs within herself
it’s the world that convinced her she did not”
The third winner of our June 2019 Muse of the Month contest is Khoobi Gangdev Shah.
Her morning routine was quite hectic. Wake up, shower, and then head straight to the kitchen to run around and get things done. Nobody told her she had to do, but she did it anyway. Nobody told her she had to wake up early, but she woke up early anyway just to err on the side of caution. Indian families have the notorious habit of dispensing advise under the guise of “helping”. She had had enough of that.
A modern daughter in law, her morning goals included making sure she and her husband’s food for the day was sorted all the while making sure she at least clicked in 2000 steps on her fitness tracker. Always on a diet, the mundane routine of every single day had overtaken her life. Under the guise of becoming a good daughter in law and a good wife, her ambition had taken a backseat. She wasn’t quite aware of this shift yet. No one told her to make this change, but she did, even though she wasn’t told to.
The problem wasn’t her or the world around her; the problem was the internalized belief that she had to be a good wife/daughter in law/ daughter, above everything else. There was no one to stop her, no obstacles in her path, save herself. External obstacles are easy to identify, although difficult to overcome, and quite visible. Internal obstacles, however, pose a different kind of a risk in themselves. They are harder to identify, even though they are quite obvious. When your mind has been trained all your life to do certain things a certain way, what’s to stop you from actually doing it that way?
So it was one fine day when she came to the realization that there was never going to be the “right moment” to write. Every day that she woke up, she decided to write but ended up not writing. Work was different, but she was letting it get in the way of her ambitions. Ambitions that no one knew and ambitions that were always hindered by the one sentence: “What could a small town girl do, sitting in a small town?” The correct answer was everything. The answer she gave herself was: Eh, nothing.
That morning, she woke up to a cloudy sky, a lack of sunshine, and an incessant wind.
“No better day than today, I guess”, she thought to herself.
And even on this beautiful, windy day, she wasn’t thinking about writing. She was thinking about changing the bed sheets, running machine cycle full of whites and cleaning a shelf in her closet. She had limited herself to smallish tasks and work projects, not even hiding the fact that she gave little to no time to her writing.
The windy morning did little to inspire her, although the best of writers would look upwards and begin something magical. So what was stopping her? No one told her she couldn’t write. At least, no one had outright told her that she couldn’t write.
It wasn’t that she couldn’t, it wasn’t that she didn’t have the ability to, it was just that she didn’t want to. The fear of failure, of being mocked, of not getting the appreciation she thought she should, and of being ridiculed, was holding her back.
It was the constant, unending stream of quiet whispers in her head that said maybe she shouldn’t even try because she wasn’t going to succeed anyway. It was the years of reading and listening to people saying over and over again about women being too emotional, too fragile, too delicate to ever do something ambitious. It was the slow poison from society’s inherent belief that women should focus on the house, on the kids, on the husband and on the family and on the bottom of the list should be what she wants.
The years of listening added up. She knew she could write, but what she did not have was the drive to sit down one day on the desk, with a pen and paper and just write. Because whenever she attempted to sit down and harness the words running in her head, the cacophony of opinions overwhelmed her stream of consciousness. It is like loud, pulsing music that doesn’t let you talk to the person beside you. Here, she simply couldn’t organize her thoughts in peace because internalized noises wouldn’t stop.
But that day, that windy, rainy overcast day, she had had enough. She had enough of the noise that wasn’t a melody and more like a screech. She tuned out the screech and sat down to write, and she wrote the story she had always wanted to write. She organized her thoughts, she laid them out on the paper, leaving out nothing from her imagination. Each word that had been itching to come out was now free in the world. The dam of words finally broke, because she finally made the decision to put her ambitions first, for a change.
Khoobi Gangdev Shah wins a Rs 500 Amazon voucher from Women’s Web. Congratulations!
Image source: Unsplash
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I am a writer and run my own content writing firm based out of my
Glad she didn’t listen to those screeching voices and thought about herself and her ambition first. Nice story Khoobi! It’s so relatable as it happens to most of us. No one asks us to do anything but we do it nonetheless putting ourselves on the back burner.
Thank you so much for reading! I agree completely, we tend to do it without thinking twice and therein lies the problem.
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