I am the same person I always was but is it not a shame that I can only be more 'fully' me when I am older, and at 49 mind you, because I am not as bothered by what people might say?
Most women out there, especially I believe Indian women and Asian women in general, seem to be put in a straitjacket which is tied up by society, our race, our religion and the culture that we embrace. What is even more frightening is the thought that there are older women like me who even today can never express who they are! This I feel, is not just the loss of the women concerned, but that of society and the country at large. Don't you think all these women could have contributed much more to their families, society and the country if they had the means to explore their potential?
There is a grave need for women to understand that we have a right to be individuals as much as men. We should never fear being what we wish to be, for how does one actually reach the 'heights' that are possible if one is constantly looking over one's shoulder and checking to find whether what one does is acceptable?
We women should not fear what others think, but what we must indeed fear is our own fear of that. We should speak out when we feel like it (yes and keep silent when we wish to as well), we should tread where we want to, and not follow 'hallowed' paths because those are the more acceptable. We have every right to venture out into business, every right to learn... everything that we wish to... from computers to business and our own sexuality. Why are we always worried about taboos? On the other hand we have an equal right to demand 'safety' even in sex. We have every reason to demand protection for our own welfare, and even more reason to fight for it, not by means of arms but with intelligence and common good sense-type of efforts. Equally, we must be willing to extend protection, comfort, help to our sisters.
And yes, we also must always be willing to help our our brothers as well. Kindness and compassion for others are not features particularly designated to women but signs of strength of being human. We are and must realize that we are valuable. We are the roots from which society spring from and not what society, creed and race imprison.
And just as we know are precious to both society and our country and demand respect for ourselves, we must also treat our fellow sisters with equal respect. It is time to stop running our fellow women down simply because they may be different or they dare to do what we cannot. Yes, sometimes we may come across other women whom we might not care for... but always remember that just as we would wish no man or woman to run us down, we too must not run other women down.
But then you, my sister may say that is all well and good but how do we women start empowering ourselves? The answer is most simple, just be who you want to be and aim for the stars and let no man or woman tell you that the stars are not within reach. They are!