I went to Colombia free as a colibrí (hummingbird). I left India on a recent trip feeling constrained by the need to be protected. This is something that has been churning in my head for awhile. It dawned on me that at this day and age it’s something we create/live up to (or don’t) and push in our own means. It’s 2017! The Women’s March took place in Washington this year, but this wasn’t the first time women have demanded their place/voice in society.
It’s been more than a year since I left Colombia and I was ready to leave home on another adventure. This time, across the US of A. The Women’s Rights National Historic Park in Seneca Falls, New York. Did you know the First Convention for Women’s Rights was held in 1848? I found a quote at the museum that is applicable to my experience, “A person who maintains a self- definition with no social support is mad; with minimum support, a pioneer, and with broad support, a lemming. We accept or change our ideas of our own rights and duties only when we perceive social support for doing so,” Joan Huber, 1950s.
Oftentimes, not only women, but also other groups seeking to expand their roles and functions, do so by allowing society to write the definition of us versus writing our own. My granny warned us not to become brainwashed by the monks in the yogi town of Rishikesh my sister and I visited in northern India. We weren’t going to let the fear of others stop us. Nor were we going to be brainwashed. My sister and I are two pretty headstrong women, thanks to genes and upbringing.
This comes as as yet another moment in life when I’m rediscovering who I am; it comes as no surprise/monumental thing to me as I’ve been forever facing this moment, rediscovering who I am (through high school and college I was always trying out new things- even now as an aspiring flautist); I never committed myself 100% to any ONE thing. Some may say and occasionally I think that perhaps I sacrificed excelling in pole vaulting or piano for discovery and time of something new. The trade off is that I chose to keep learning, growing, and decided to constantly discover more about who I am and what I like.
The premise of this for some may be problematic. It is very much counterculture in my opinion. In terms of societal values it comes off as unstable. Going against your own culture, or the one you came from, is a difficult pill to swallow. But realizing what this means is like climbing a hill and reaching the peak. That peak for me is about understanding that awakening that is occurring within and how it fits into your bigger picture.
Revisiting Huber’s quote in terms of counterculture is truly a novel idea for everyone and anyone who at some point in their lives experiences this awakening. With issues like environmental change, overpopulation, human rights, and family planning it takes innovation and new ideas. It takes human beings who can rise above the tide of resistance and allow it to become part of the culture. It takes the roles of women who are strong enough to recognize when their own culture differs from those around them and that they are going to change the (wo)man in the mirror before they can ever make change elsewhere.
In sum, we decide how high that ceiling is. I decided that the day I decided to leave home, get out of my comfort zone, and push my personal limits be it on a mountain. As Rachel Platten sings “I’m gonna dance on broken glass, I’m gonna make that ceiling crash!”
Broken Glass -Rachel Platten
I’m Every Woman – Chaka Khan
Can’t Hold Us Down – Christina Aguilera