“…the most important feature of powerful social movements, is an affirmation of community.”
– From “Young, Brown and Proud: Personal purpose and political activism” by Harsha Walia
Connection requires a crossing of boundaries. It requires seeing one thing in another without disturbance of difference: that old mean thing still snipping at the threads we THE PEOPLE weave when we breach the gap between ourselves and another, when we see ourselves as one. And it seems these days that those who are best at connecting were born to difference, too. With wide focus, they can see it for what it truly is and pass through as if there were no boundary at all—grasping at those other strands with ease and bringing the rest of us gratefully along.
Sometimes, when something hurts me, it takes a while for me to feel it. I’m the kind that won’t even realize I’d been so affected until much later, years after, and at random.
Sometimes, what I’ve suppressed never comes to light at all.
Usually this is because, “I don’t know where to put it.” Slow to process, quick to Proceed Past, I’m always moving onto the next thing before I’ve even finished the first. And if one of these things should get stuck in the “forgetting”, the “suppressing”, it’s rejection will likely bring it back up.
Finally found, it causes a shake—a paling, like I’ve seen a ghost. For some time, casting the world in the glare of its light, it is all that I can see.
Who do you think of – who pops into your mind first – when you imagine a woman in your life who has ‘named the unnamed’? Who has stood up in the face of being told to stay quiet only to say simply, I won’t?
When asking myself the same, I feel lucky to find not just one but many such women fill the space—at least, these days I do. Like a breath of fresh air, it’s recently become easier to reach out and find that desperately needed connection with these others—these women who manifest in my mind’s eye as a clasping of many hands (of my hands) outside of space, and time, and memory.
Being a Canadian woman writer of European descent, I came into Fauzia Rafique’s The Adventures of SahebaNwithout background knowledge of the role (Mirza) Sahiba plays in much of traditional Punjabi culture. The beauty of Rafique’s text however, is how my lack does not impact my understanding of how the narrative turns a cultural model for perfection (Sahiba) on her head to showcase the flaws of that very perfection, and (in particular) to show that a woman can be honourable, and pure, and loyal, without bowing to the restrictive ideas and expectations that society and religion place upon her.
Although I wrote on this topic in 2013 for (a now defunct) imagirl.ca, I think it’s body-positive message is just as important today. That’s why I am re-posting it here (with minor updates) for those of you who might be looking in the mirror thinking, “ugh!”
Show yourself some love and read the full article below!