Thought: To be a Woman

I have been posting a lot lately which is an oddity in itself. I only ever post something when I know I would be satisfied with the outcome. Among many of my posts are poetry and admittedly, depressing stories inspired by the things in my life (sad, I know). The small remainder therefore, goes to these types of posts i.e thoughts on worldly issues. This is a very important issue I would like to address and have wanted to address for a long time. Hence, prepare your popcorns because this would be a long one.


What is the role of women in the society?

Ladies and gents, I present to you an old question.

Back when I was a child, I thought that women ought to know how to cook, how to do household chores and most of all, how to present herself in a “proper” manner to the world. That was how I was raised. That was, perhaps, the childhood of a person born from a country with deep patriarchal roots. Therefore, that was my answer to said question. But of course, I was introduced to books and slowly, the idea had varied. I molded myself, my mind, to the shape of the strong heroine that these books had told me to be. Over time, I realized that this shape is an ever-changing one and intentional or not, was bound to be a reflection of a single perspective or a mirror of several people’s thoughts. Be that as it may, I wanted to be a strong person like these characters I have read about. However, like a confused chameleon, I did not know what parts of myself should I change in order to fit into this notion of the woman I wanted to be.

Until I have read of this in an epigraph of a book:

What is a woman’s place in this modern world? Jasnah Kholin’s words read. I rebel against this question, though so many of my peers ask it. The inherent bias in the inquiry seems invisible to so many of them. They consider themselves progressive because they are willing to challenge many of the assumptions of the past.They ignore the greater assumption–that a ‘place’ for women must be defined and set forth to begin with. Half of the population must somehow be reduced to the role arrived at by a single conversation. No matter how broad that role is, it will be–by nature–a reduction from the infinite variety that is womanhood.

Reading this was like waking up and being scolded at the same time. I have my favorite author, Brandon Sanderson, to thank for that. Ironically, it took a man to tell me an obvious thing about being a woman.

There was no role, after all. There was only the fact that a woman can be anything she wishes to be and whatever it is, the fact that she puts her determination and passion towards it, that she chose it for herself was the key to her strength. Moreover, it has come to me that the idea of success is a personal definition and not one driven by the standards of society. I can be a mother and be successful or I can be a scientist and still feel satisfied of my achievements. This idea was the start of a revolution I have geared for myself. This has been an important reminder to me especially that I am young, a woman, and in a considerably high position in a workplace dominated by men.

I AM WHICH THAT HAVE I DECIDED FOR MYSELF.

It is a constant struggle when I am told of what I should be, what I should achieve at a certain age– be it marriage or a doctorate degree, or how I should act or say when I am among people just because I am a woman. It is often disheartening to hear of other women in my workplace be harassed and then be casually asked, “Well, what were you wearing?” or alternatively, to hear that this accused man would not be capable of doing this immoral act because he is known to be a nice person. I am disgusted at that thought. I watch many a crime documentaries and most victims were women; their killers, mostly men they were involved with, are described to be “nice” individuals.

(cont…) A woman’s strength should not be in her role, whatever she chooses it to be, but in the power to choose that role. It is amazing to me that I even have to make this point, as I see it as the very foundation of our conversation.

– Words of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson

Women often find themselves strangled by this world and what it deems “proper” and “ideal”– be it in the shape of our bodies, the face we present or the success that we have in our chosen career or family life. I am grateful that I am in an era which celebrates the continued discovery of the infinite variety that is womanhood. To see women of every color and age in social media be presented with strong wills and determination is such an empowering act. It is tough, yes, but it is a fight that has long been fought by many women. The world may have met us once in silence but the time has come that we show them that there is a reason that we too was able to survive since the dawn of the first humans.

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To Love a Thunderstorm

I only ever wanted to love her. I only wanted the chance to give her my definition of the word that she scornfully speak of. Love.

So I knocked, for I knew I needed to try. So I waited. And waited. But the very doors seem in mockery say, “Is the will in your bones stronger than the hinges that held me for so long? Is the passion in your blood thicker than the walls that surround me?” Though my young heart says yes, I knew then that there is a gravity to that answer to which Time could only be judge, jury and executioner. I held my tongue but only returned there everyday, waiting till worn.

It was like the first day of Spring when I came and found her waiting outside of the doors that she once had slammed before me. In hindsight, I should not have deluded myself. Now, I knew that the walls held no intruder out but kept the tempest within.

“What do you really want?”

“A chance.”

“A chance?” And with that she laughed. It was like the clap of thunder that warned a sailor of the storm that is inevitably to come.

“Pray tell, if I leave my castle, where will I be with you? Do I get to be in another cage to which this love that you reverently speak of may become my boundaries? You dare say that you will tend to my wounds but what of the wounds that you might inflict? Or do you hold yourself beyond that? It is a power to heal and to hurt that which you so easily ask of me. Are you that naive or did your temerity betrayed you into thinking you can fool me into captivity?”

In the face of her anger, I could only lower my head and speak quietly as if it is the ground whom I am confessing to, “I only ever wanted to see you smile. It is that simple. And no, I can’t make the universe or the past beg for forgiveness for the pain which you seem to held it accountable or claim to understand why you see shadows behind my words. I only know that I have the courage to face you today and I may also have it tomorrow and the days after that so I may take care of you as I can and yes, to love you as I can.”

Tears then started streaming down my face out of shame of being terrified of her wrath, out of the unfairness of her accusations and for what I feel towards this girl that I knew is so hard to love but I love still as I perceive love should be.

“You are a fool. Don’t speak to me as if you mean to heal me with love. I knew love as the thunderstorm knows of the ocean. I believed it is something I can conquer one day. I didn’t know it will give life to the tempest which I can’t return from. That it will turn so ugly and be home to my anger. You cannot heal me with love if it is love that I first bent my fury to.”

It was such a cold voice in which she spoke with. But it was nothing compared to the breath of the moment when she left and locked herself within again.

That was like the first day of Spring. In my childlike innocence to see the flowers in their beauty and wildness, I have forgotten about the winter chill that clings and pierces still even the bravest and most hopeful of hearts.


Where art thou, my Faramir? Even thunderstorms find their rest in the ocean they detested.

Happy Valentine’s Day? I guess…

On my Funeral

On the day of my funeral, let you who will give my eulogy not talk of how good I was. Do not say how smart I had been because back then, every gold medal that I had did not seem to matter at the glimpse of silver underneath. Do not talk of me as a good friend for I know of my own selfishness and know that I have touched but so few of a soul while I walk under the sun and fewer still as I struggle for companionship under the many watchful stars.

No. Let there be music. Let the orchestra play The Road Goes Ever On from the Lord of the Rings as my funeral march. For when nothing did thaw the ice that gripped me, this piece has reminded me of the warmth that is home.

On the day of my funeral, tell them that I have looked forward to this day. That I have felt my very bones turn to ashes the moment I woke up to the horrors of living. That when others have it in whispers, I had my fears howling at me like white wolves of the North. That I knew what it meant when they’ll find me– the sharp bite of coldness and numbness that death could only heal. That as I journeyed on, every single marsh seemed more reluctant to let me go, every wood seemed to loom with faces of loss and disappointment and the once-kind wind that sang of lullabies had turned harsh and was determined to knock me down from where I stand. Tell them. Tell them that I was that lost. And this is a far better rest, a more honest peace, that I have ever dared to hope.

I have done enough. I bore a burden greater than I thought I am capable of carrying. I may be a hero to everyone in this funeral but to me, I am simply she which has had an unexpected journey and is now home. Yes, home, in the simplest form that I will ever be as I bury every sentence of my story to the very earth which gave me my scars and my callouses. I will see the gentle slopes in the valley that perfectly holds the never-setting sun, see its grass and recognize its shade of green and make for the path that I had once left and thought to never see again.

Yes, tell them, that I am not in the past as I am not in the present. That I have moved on. That although I may sit by the fire and faintly hope for the sound of returning feet or familiar voices, I would not want to go back anymore to where they might take me.

That I have faced my own dragons and endured the long and often weary travel required of life.

That I had been there and back again.

I was there and back again.

The Maiden’s Offer

“Tell me of that poem of the thorn wood, of the fairest maiden there and how she offered parts of herself to choose from as a test to those who wander and wondered.”


I’ll offer first my heart
The wounds which are unsealed
Instead of battle scars
Which Time has promised to heal

The path here is silent
Rough, raw and dangerous
The ground beats faintly
A humming of the lost

This heart has its own gravity
It keeps everything down here
There’s weight in its emptiness
And darkness lurking near

These you so wished to hold
To you I now offer second
A palm soft as rose
But thorns they had for fingers

Take it firmly until you bleed
And tell me, unashamed
This beast residing inside
Does your pride want to tame?

Will you fear of my growth?
Will you uproot me later on?
Drag me to the earth,
And say love was the reason?

If so then you must go
For only worse does it get
These thorn woods do punish
And they know no regret

The third, are these eyes
They bear shadows and lies
They see the sun as corpse
Of the once comforting night

These will cry and mourn
For no one but myself
Trick you into believing
I am a maiden in need of help

So what will you choose?
A heart close to dying?
hands prone to choking?
Or eyes known for lying?


“And what do you think is the answer to that?”
“None.”
“And why so?”
“Because the poem is the maiden’s lure to a wanderer. Loneliness is a potent potion of seduction. Offer it to someone weary, one searching for so long and they will recognize it immediately– the offer of validation and a heart that finally beats to the same rhythm. Beauty will fade and power stolen but claiming to feel and face the very weakness that angers, frightens and exhausts even the mightiest of men? You will give claws to his nightmares and he will worship you in return– simply because you knew of the demons that haunts him and he believes that you can fight them.”

Your General

Lean your head on my shoulder
As old couples do
Free your monsters
Confess your sins
Tonight,
I will hold you

Let me talk of icy rivers
Over snow-gilded towns
How the white ash of winter
Can still be loved
Forgiven
Even if it punishes the ground

Hush and pause your worry
For the moon rises silver
I have worn my armor
And sharpen my blade
At this moment,
I am a lover no longer

I will be your general
And you, my king
When hatred comes
And insecurities taunts
Bravely,
I will face that which haunts

Sleep,my lover
Cry not, my liege
The woods may creak
The winds may scream
But tonight,
You are safe in your dreams

Dead Man’s Gold

“What is the thing that you truly own?” I asked myself.


Money and achievements? They never belonged to me in the first place. I may have strained my neck from the medals I received in my academic pursuits, may have stuff my purse full with the money I make but I never once lied to myself of whom they actually are for. At the end of the day, I will have to give it away to the people I will always place before me. To say my dreams are mine is falsehood. To say my future is mine alone was to swindle myself.

Books and reading? Even that, I can’t say is fully mine. I would be a liar if I say that my love for the fantasy and classics genre was not influenced by someone else’s opinion. Over the years, I developed my own taste but, though rarely, I still look for reviews and ratings of the books I wanted to read. It is something that I always wanted to share and talk about. I could go on and on about what I love in books– the sense of tragedy in Dickens’ stories, how I always get teary-eyed when I read Tolkien’s The Hobbit or how in this generation of writers, I feel like a mother so proud of my female authors: Bardugo, Clare and Schwab or an adoring daughter to my fave male authors: Rothfuss, Sanderson and Martin. They were the love of my life. The ring I would propose with, the symbol of hope and devotion that I gave to myself and is willing to give to someone else.

Even all of those things that constantly take a great fraction of my life aren’t mine. Even all those I could not be greedy of, I can’t be selfish with.

But writing.

When I started this, I vowed that I would write for myself and no one else. That I would not be bothered by the validation that comes from followers and likes or change the way I write or what I write based on what might readers look for. And so perhaps I could confess that this is me at my most selfish persona. That you would ever know me as how I intended you to and see me as how I paint myself in front of you– a subject of pain, a victim of life and a suspect to many an instance of hypocrisy. The poems and the posts may be a lie, the truth or a equal parts both but I had promised to myself that I would ever give what I would be satisfied to give.

I am a piece of metal held by scrutinizing eyes at a distance. Was I gold or was I simply pyrite? Am I which that corrodes in time? Did the glint of the sun made you think that I am someone you can look up to? Did the darkness luminesced my innermost demons to which you can relate to?

It is a selfish, selfish thing–writing is. Being here is like being in that one island described in hushed tones on taverns by the sea. In this tale, I am that dead man with a hidden treasure and you, the pirate who searches for them. These words that I write are my golden coins– you may take it with you and it may scatter around the world but whatever the extent of blessing or curse it may carry, it is a depth that I, alone, can fathom.

Here in this island, the shipwrecks of reality become the chest that holds firm my treasures. Every gold, even that which fools the eyes and only appears to be, is something that no one truly owns except for me.

;

Find me, find me
among the poems I write
the novels I’ve read
then tell me where,
Where was I?

Was I at a paragraph?
Did I give myself no choice?
Thoughtless
Dazed
In someone else’s voice

Or maybe I forgot
to erase myself again
And every line break,
Every italicized word
betray the way
of how my emotions sway

Was I at a full stop?
Did I stare at a sentence too long?
Caressed it too gently
Repeatedly
In melancholy
Wondering why it hurts
Why the pain reminds me of home?

Or perhaps in a comma
Maybe, I was there
Hanging
Fearing
To take the next breath
Perhaps there I will be
And there, you can answer
In a long list of monsters,
did I find myself somewhere?

Am I between quotation marks
In words which are all fiction
In a world of make-believe,
Addicted
At peace
Was to be lost my intention?

Where did you find me
Was it near the end of a story?
If so, let me be
For I have run to the platform
And lived in a hole
I have entered through a wardrobe
I have drawn angelic runes

Tell me I am finished
For go on I can no longer do
I can no longer cry
I cannot make myself smile

If not…
If not…
My God, if not,
Then am I before a semicolon?
Was my story not over?
Find me
Do tell me
Was there,to me, salvation?

To Love and Marry

Dear Ma,

I am in love. In fact, I am thinking of marrying, of committing myself to a promise I made just recently. I know, Ma, I might be too young to make a decision of such gravity. But Ma, you and I both know too, that at such a young age, I also witnessed what tragedy looks like. I remember that time when the sky lit up with such bright colors, when the world counted down the last seconds of a year but there I was, crying. I remember the year after that when among Christmas lights were eyes shining with sorrowful tears. Again. I remember year after year of being haunted by the same story. Of the same sad ending.

Ma, I am in love. It pains me to say this– I might be leaving our house for good. I will go away, far away, with whom I am about to marry. I might come back here but I will be as foreign as the place I came from. Perhaps in time, you would be proud as you see the child of this marriage. That in time, you’d see I did the right thing and made the wise decision as you look at frames that encases the very proof of my growth as a person.

Ma, forgive me. Forgive this selfish daughter of yours. This is simply a confession I would like to make. An official letter to an already decided fate.

I am sorry to say that I am in love with no person. That in fact, I am in love with life itself.

I have felt so broken and alone with the decisions made by people around me. Year after year of seeing the very people I love torn of a supposed lasting relationship. Year after year of seeing everyone else try to put band-aids on cracks made by earthquakes.

Ma, I cannot do that.

I promised then that I will not put misery to myself, to a child I will bring to this world shall I decide to involve myself with another person in a vow made in the altar of God. Besides ma, I am in love with what life has to offer– from the hobbies I chose, to the carreer I have pursued and the people and places I’d still meet. I am in love with every atom and every matter, of every being imbued with life since the beginning of time. With everything and everyone at once. I know that though my heart often suffers because of what life has given me, that I would want to stay and love it, to look at its beauty rather than cruel tragedies.

I am young, yes, to know what love’s supposed to be but I do know myself. I do know that my heart has always belonged to writing and reading tons of books, to the complexity and the advancements of chemistry, to the contentment of discovering everything that makes me, me. I have so much to look forward to that I cannot simply make a commitment to another if I cannot make myself whole.

Anyone can love a thing because. That’s as easy as putting a penny in your pocket. But to love a thing despite. To know its flaws and love them too. That’s rare and pure and perfect.

– Wise Man’s Fear by Patrick Rothfuss

Ma, I hope you can give me your blessing today. I have decided to marry life, to see the world alone and feel the satisfaction of doing so, to know it slowly and intimately and to love it, love it despite.