March 20, 2017

WHITE KNUCKLES | A Window Of One’s Own

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A frequently unkept resolution of mine is to detox from social media, in particular on days like March 8th, International Women’s Day. This year, my newsfeed was stained with posts like artless and dark graffiti, policing the way in which the day should be celebrated, pointing out the obviously achieved equality, asking with dissimulated wit why there isn’t an International Men’s Day.

I decided to write a post with the intention of answering this question. But I am not going to simply say that it is Men’s Day every time that a woman doesn’t feel safe, is judged based on her looks, is asked to change clothes, works the same job for less money, is always assumed to be the nurse and never the doctor, is cut-off mid-sentence, is prevented from deciding of her own body, is told to smile, is criticized for both covering and baring her breasts, is called crazy / moody / emotional / fragile. I won’t go through all of that (but I just did! This is a rhetorical technique used in Latin oratory and is called occupatio – usually it is used when answering a question or an objection that is nonsensical, like “why is there no Men’s Day?”, for example).

Instead, I decided to change the focus of this piece — from negative space to positive light, from closed doors to open windows. I am surrounded by loving parents, a courageous sister full of light, a bookstore in my hometown and strong friends with creative ideas, a great sense of humor and bigger hearts – these are my windows. Thanks to them, I learned that the best thing I could do for me was to work with passion, focus and love. And I’ve received all the blessings someone could wish for. This semester, some of these blessings concretized and crystallized on airplanes and buses as I explored colleges across the country interviewing for PhD programs – places where America is still alert, aware, creative, welcoming and brave. During these trips I felt like the whole world was visible and limpid through the windows next to which I sat on planes and buses. And this is what I must and I want to use my writing for – to wish the same feeling of powerful, humbling happiness to every single woman.

Virginia Woolf – another woman who’s been my window – wrote that a woman needed writing supplies and a room of her own. We’ve changed since – today, we need windows: people-windows and actual ones. They let the sun in; one day we will break the panes – now the spring breeze comes in, and it smells like flowers.