I Define My Choices, My Choices Don’t Define Me

Posted: September 11, 2019

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While browsing through my friend’s post on Bust A Myth at Women’s Web, I decided to understand more about the website. I registered on the platform and logged in to complete my profile. As is the case with most professional organisations, this one also asked me about my occupation.

This made me think that are these the only choices available? The occupations listed encompass every woman’s life at some point but do not fully define her. Should we be forced to choose a box?

Who is a homemaker anyway? A woman who manages a home. In the word manage, we have a self-employed businesswoman. Now, salaried, a woman who works in any other job and does the homemaker role as well, and is a student of life, where does she tick on any of these columns? I could go on. I just find these classifications very limiting and often I do fill them depending on my whim. Does it make a difference? Perhaps, to some advertising software that assigns me to a category, so I can be bombarded with calls, of things that I may be purportedly interested in based on what I ticked. We, women, evolve and are difficult to box in.

My Personal #BustAMyth

Every woman has #BustAMyth at some stage in her life, but we tend to minimize its importance in our lives or ignore it, as we are multitasking, and evolving with that and every experience. Evolution in the strictest sense means heritable traits being passed on to the next generation, and linear. Here I would like to think of it more like a cloud source available to all, except you should be brave to choose what trait (experience in this case) you would like to try. We all try at our own pace, and timing varies, but we do change things for ourselves, and #BustaMyth occurs but in the shorter memory, which soon escapes us as a true transformation unless we find the luxury to re-examine our lives.

This cloud is what this exercise is. Almost like a Manderbolt equation, where a set of complex numbers, the sequence, doesn’t diverge from an absolute value, despite the number of iterations. All combinations of experiences exist but they follow the same pattern eventually. Now, where you start in picking yourself in the cloud could lead to chaos wherein the sequence may diverge. It may look random but over time it follows a pattern. It all depends on the number of iterations, in other words, time. A flutter of a butterfly wing can cause disturbances, how we react at that beginning could lead it to spiral out or in quickly to a constant in our life.

It’s spiralling out which interests me as it’s here resilience comes in and overtime after the dramatic #BustAMyth, some order comes in. All this can come in the collective cloud-only through sharing and this is what I love about this exercise.

Redefining the meaning of ‘career’ 

Career is defined as a job having the scope for advancement. This advancement phrase irritates me because it’s very limiting. It only looks at prestige and money. We should redefine career to mean our life and all the possibilities. Growth can be emotional, growth can mean empathy, growth can just mean joy in what you do. It need not be something that you are professionally qualified to do. It’s something you are brave enough to try.

Today as I write about fractals, chaos theory and the flutter of a butterfly’s wing, my journey so far has been an incredible set of fractal, starts and stops. I was trained to be an ecologist and with all the passion and energy I went on to the USA to do my PhD. I was involved in a car accident which put me in the category of rare disorders of Central Pain Syndrome and changed the trajectory of my research into these self-same fractals. Fits and starts of trying to fit in the program despite being ill, drawing on strength from peers as well as professional help, made me take a leap of faith into theoretical biology with my dreaded beast, mathematics. Several unstable iterations, and after finding a reserve of motivation, I finished the PhD and got into a postdoctoral position in the same field. One bright day in Florida,

I decided I was trying too much, and quit. I decided to move back to India and write a Field Guide of Indian insects. In the meanwhile, somewhere between moving and deciding on the field guide to insects, I got married. I decided to opt for a stable path as an ecological consultant in an organic farming enterprise. After a couple of years, my body protested the stress of walking fields, so I quit.

Rely on the chances you get in life

A chance encounter at a book release led to meeting the doyen of wildlife photography, and then the collaboration on the book. The first field guide to Indian insects, my baby was born with lots of learning into the intricacies of designing and publishing and then the biggest of them all, distribution. My pain kept getting worse with new symptoms and new tests, so my husband and I decided to move to the hills. New learning was building a home in the hills, moving in and living alone in a new town. I joined a natural history society and soon began organising events for them locally.

As I got to know people in town, I joined the Rotary International chapter there and found a calling in social projects, especially with an environmental component. Then I got involved in helping organise a Literary Festival in town. It’s been four years with it. So many spirals, but the theme comes back to my passion for environment and writing, though in different forms. Where I go next, a chronic pain warrior, diagnosed now with Parkinson’s disease is what I am searching the cloud, and what trajectory I’ll try.

I add my experiences to the cloud but wish no one to chance on my spiral of an accident and pain.

Image via Pexels

Chronic pain warrior, Ecologist, insect lover, literary festival organiser(gopher), social worker, menstrual hygiene propagandist,...

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