Elizabeth Gilbert, the amazing writer and my spiritual Guru, once said: “There are three kinds of women in the world; there are women who were born to be mothers, there are women who were born to be aunties and there are women who should not be allowed within 10 feet from a child. And it is very important that you figure out which one of those camps you belong in.”
My dear Liz you couldn’t have said it better. I love kids. I am great with kids and I consider them the greatest blessing a life can offer. But being a mother isn’t just about loving children; it’s a life time commitment where you pledge to always put yourself and your needs second and third, a long marathon that requires divine strength and a certain level of selflessness—and I have neither.
When you’re a mother, every minute of your life is prescheduled—when you wake up, when you go to bed, when you go on vacation and when you take a nap. Some women, perhaps most women, love the sense of security that a family provides: a ring on your finger; a husband you call your own; children who grow inside your womb, feed from your flesh and emerge into the world carrying your blood in their veins. In our society this should be enough to make a woman happy or at least content.
I believe that I want more from life than to wake up every morning two hours before I should to prepare breakfast for my children and get them ready for school, drop them off and then sit for eight hours in some corporate office perfroming a boring job that I don’t really care for but that pays well, only to go back home in the evening, exhausted and empty, cook and clean and tuck the kids in to sleep.
I have a lot of respect for the brave women who choose this life and devote themselves to their children and families; my mother is one of them and I owe her every bit of success and achievement I would ever live up to. I am just not that kind of a woman and that life could never satisfy me. I want to wake up every morning not knowing what the next adventure will be, hop on a flight to an unknown destination without worrying about a boss waiting to whip my ass or children who need me. I want to fill my soul with music and food and culture and grasp every bit of magic this world can offer.
Today, despite all the social and intellectual progress, women all around the world are still burdened by society’s expectations and norms and struggle daily to draw their own paths and pursue their dreams. Even in the most modernized and civilized countries, women have to work twice as hard as men do in order to prove themselves worthy, and women still earn 18 percent less than men for doing the same job, and still have to come up with polite answers to the “Why are you still single?” or, “You’re almost 30, the clock is ticking” comments.
If only men could realize how much pressure women bear and how many battles we have to fight daily in order to stay true to ourselves and not surrender to the norms society has set up for us.
Angelina Jolie had the courage to step up and remove her ovaries to prevent cancer in a bold statement that a reproductive system does not define a woman. I am not a woman because I have ovaries and a vagina. I am not a woman because I have breasts. I am not a walking uterus whose main purpose in life is to conceive and bear children.
Womanhood is a state of mind. It’s a devotion to humanitarian causes and to easing others’ pain, an emotional endurance that exceeds the bravery of the toughest of men, and a nurturing heart that pumps out love and compassion to the world.
Author: Rihab Hafidhi
Editor: Travis May