Untitled text from an unnamed woman

A successful woman is the most vulnerable. There will be many people to tell her that she is talented, that she is strong and determined. There will be people to call her independent and secure. But there will be no one to tell her that she is beautiful.

Everyone admires a successful woman, but nobody wants her. The kind of woman a man desires should be vulnerable, fragile; she should be innocent and shy. She should be strong and patient, but at the same time she should have spirit and an abstract womanliness, an articulate mystique  that makes her appealing, that makes her look like magic to the man who loves her.

And sadly, that woman of infinite magic and madness will never be me. So wouldn’t hundreds of other girls like me, who aspire for more than what is good for her. She will never grow to be extraordinary as a woman. They will call her a prodigy, a good boss, a warm friend who gives you good advice. They will call her a milestone in her career, a role-model in her society and even if she wants to or not, she will become successful, because that’s what she is cut out to be. And as futile as it is for her to control the course of her destiny, she will sit as maidens in shelves, a replica of priceless artifacts in a palace of glass. Everyone fears to touch her, yet they revel in her worth. They are pieces of art that are too expensive to be bought, fit enough only to be admired in passing by pleasant passers-by in a social museum. Everybody is awed, but nobody is mad enough to crave it like an obsessed lover. Nobody sends them roses with blood rimmed pink ribbons. There will be no love notes with a scrawl they can keep forever. No past love keeps her blue shawl with their subtle scents. But of course, there will be pleasant dinners in chic restaurants, a holiday in an exotic island, but never memories that stay fresh and lovely long enough that they sting. After that first date, after that moment when the strong, less-feminine self is revealed, everyone turns on their heels and run. The sophisticated woman hardly has any charm. Nobody loves her.

I am not a feminazi. I do not say this out of regret or sympathy, nor am I wallowing in deep chasms of self-pity. Nothing could be farther from the truth. There are women, whose experiences fail, fail pathetically, to justify the portrayals of a sweet rainbow teenage, a supple youth, the warmth of a tinted womanhood which make the sound of your anklets and the scent of your perfume, or the smile in your voice bring the boys into the yard. Or you find in the journals of a deceased friend or an unwed aunt the thoughts of a certain Mr. Arnold H.H who said “I want to be with somebody like you. You’re my kind of person.” Or you find someone with a nicknamed called Cupcake who says, “I want to marry someone like you.” You find countless other men who praised the mature, confident, open minded being they think you are, aptly putting in flattering, fattening adjectives like ‘gorgeous’, ‘talented’ and ‘art’, and in polite jest they enquire about the presence of an elder sister or an older cousin who is “just like you”. But not you.

But this doesn’t mean that these women are afraid of the bleak remaining part of their lives where they will spend their time like a work horse, forget to paint their nails and prune their eyebrows and date and get engaged to a decent man. Thanks to our culture, such a woman will not cross her youth unwed. By the time she is twenty-five, she will be in the hands of a man of thirty-five or more, who owns a respectable business, or a government job who promises to take “good care of her”.  And then for months on end it will feel like summer. Until she realizes that each summer is just a reminder of an inevitable frost. And in many cases, the frosts turn into an eternal cold where there is no hope and no escape. It will always be ice and winter.

And that’s when they start feeling like ashtrays. And finally they are one with all the crumbling dark patches they are ashes themselves. And still they do not hate themselves. They are happy that they won and disappointed that, when they won, they also lost something of equal importance. She realizes she can never be a beautiful woman in the eyes of someone else, a wonder to behold, someone who turns a man’s day into magic. She will always be a woman who can love like an innocent and get her heart broken each time. And when it does, she is meant to pick up the pieces and glue them together, and wait for another season. Of ice, and stone-cold snow.

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