Thursday, May 20, 2004

being the first of many

i bear the distinction of being the bearer of many firsts in my family: the first to drop out of college, begin hanging out with no good men in the name of creating art, only to be coerced back into school, kicking and screaming. the first to insist on being bald headed, over and over again, when there are perfectly skilled hair stylists and rwandese hair braiders around. the first in my knowledge of speaking of feminism & insisting on love ethic. the first to get into a plane, move thousands upon thousands of miles, separated by an ocean, with no game plan whatsoever, except the silent mantra, 'i have to go.'

so now, here i am, almost thirty, with an education that i do not use, immersed in the boxing ring, tango dancing with the strains of fluoxetine seeping through the blood stream & realising something is really wrong with this picture.

besides my aunt, my mothers' sister, i am the second girl/woman to have a degree. holding the certificate in my hand was an accolade of achievement and recognition not only from my mother and her sisters, but for all women, who continue to live lifes of fear and the baptism of silence.

each day i give thanks for this. i recognise, i could not do this alone.

& yet, there is this nagging, persistant, unequivocable feeling that this isn't quite IT. Women now have choices, more choices I feel then lets say my mother, or her mother. I can live anywhere, do anything my heart desires and become anybody I want.

So why do i feel this discrepancy of what should be like and what really is. It is frightening to realize how unsafe it is to be a woman living the in the states or anywhere else for that matter. No one has the audacity to insist on what a woman does with her body, not when healthcare, education, economic empowerment, financial resources are limited to a select few.

i don't want to complain about this restlessness and depression of realising its all a fucking illusion, to a larger degree. especially, not when girls like kakenya ntaiya, whose lifes when compared to mine are purgatory. where would i even begin to say, something is not quite right with this picture.


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