Editors Note: I have a treat for all of you today 🙂 A beautiful and heartfelt post by the ever beautiful Razwana Wahid. Read more about her at the end of this post. Her words move me as I am sure they will move you too 🙂 Enjoy darlings!
Today, my heart is broken.
In so many different places.
But it doesn’t break for me.
It breaks for the neighbour’s daughter, who I’m told is only *allowed* to study until high school. After this she sits at home and waits for a suitor to marry. Because education will confuse her. And life experience will only open her eyes to opportunities that will take her away from her family. She’ll ruin their reputation.
As an 8 year old, her opinion wasn’t sought. She doesn’t know this is her future.
It breaks for my cousin. Who recently told me she would love to travel after she finishes her studies. But she won’t. Because her parents wouldn’t approve of it. And because ‘I’m not as strong as you to challenge them. So I’ll just wait until I’m married’.
It breaks for the daughter of a family friend, who chose to leave home at the age of 18, without telling her parents where she is. Are they worried? Yes. Do they consider why it is she didn’t say anything to them? The thought hasn’t crossed their minds yet.
All of this, I heard being back in the UK. Where freedom is a basic human right. By law.
I don’t see any freedom in the stories I’ve heard so far.
And whilst my heart breaks, my blood boils.
Why would a parent knowingly stop their daughter from being educated? If they’vee raised her well, why question the choices she’ll make? What is there to fear?
These are our daughters. They are our future. And we are suppressing them of their basic rights because of our own fears? Because of our own lack of experience? Or education? Or trust?
But alas. Anger serves no-one well. It’s a wasted emotion and a deceitful friend.
The situation calls for patience. The thoughts and misconceptions of an entire generation, with the lack of education or relevance of experience behind them, are not going to be changed overnight.
Patience: in the face of harsh judgement. Patience: in response to abrupt words that are born from naiveté. And patience because no situation is constant – and change will happen.
It calls for rebelliousness. The few that see how they can act differently? It’s their responsibility to risk their own mediocrity for the growth of others. And to lead the rest.
Every generation needs a handful of sacrificial lambs to forge the path for others. Their experience confirms an alternative is possible. Their selflessness leads the rest to higher ground.
And it calls for compassion. Because without this, the argument is already lost.
Compassion for misguided parents who don’t trust their own parenting skills. Compassion for ‘society’ that only knows how to conform. And compassion for yourself. Because if you’ve decided to be that sacrificial lamb, you’re gonna need a bucket load of it.
I was raised in a society overflowing with mistrust. Of the education system that would open up the minds of our children. Of different cultures that clashed with our own and were a threat. Of opportunities open to us that we had to resist, for fear of changing into someone we never thought we would be.
I wasted years being angry at all of this. I rebelled against the control others failed to have over me. I took decisions at the expense of family harmony. And I felt alone throughout all of this.
The irony of it all? It’s that the control, the judgement and mistrust has taught me what love is.
Love is acceptance. Acceptance of your choices, your opinions and of your uniqueness.
Because when you accept others, you start to support them, and encourage them, and be their person.
Perhaps the most difficult people to accept are those that have tried to take your freedom away. But remember the plea: be patient. Be compassionate. But also be a little rebellious.
The first two for them. And the third for you.
About the Author of this Post:
Razwana Wahid writes at Your Work Is Your Life,
a service dedicated to making your writing work better – to sell, to convert, to connect.
Read more at www.YourWorkIsYourLife.com or follow her on Twitter: @razwanawahid
What are your thoughts on this post? Do you agree with Razwana’s plea here? We would love to read your thoughts on this post in the comments below.
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16 thoughts on “A plea: For patience. For Compassion. And a touch of rebelliousness”
There is no doubt that repression of women has consistently been justified and defended on the basis of religion in many cultures over millenniums and all around the world. It’s impossible to work towards liberation of women and their children without directly challenging religion and I have done that. I challenged the religious leaders and followers of the fundamentalist, evangelizing Abrahamic religion I was raised in, educated in and expected to uphold. The only people I know today who deny that the reason women do not have equal him,an rights with their male counterparts are the upper echelons of misogynistic and patriarchal religions ie. evangelizing fundamentalist cults like the one I escaped from.
Some women never muster what it takes to dispel the decades of brainwashing; others simply slip away quietly but I didn’t do either of those. I was unbeliever caught up in cult of who thought I was their most accomplished student. Well, I was a diligent student with two honors diplomas and a degree but ironically it was that education that set me free to remove the shackles of belief.
Patience with men and women in free societies like the democracy I live in, who freely choose to profess a fundamentalist faith that is designed to repress all women is something I struggle with every day of my life. There’s no bigger baby and no smaller person than a man who has been brainwashed and is so lacking in humility, intellectual and spiritual intelligence that he thinks he’s superior to his mother, sisters, daughters, etc.. There’s no sadder creatures than brainwashed women, who are so delusional that they operate as sycophantic parasites locked into a life with misogynists who are determined to repress and oppress them and treat them like chattels.
I will continue to be more than a little rebellious for I am grateful that I was able to escape the brainwashing and powerful grip of fundamentalism. I will continue to provide my financial and personal support to all women who seek to be equal in the law and in practice. I will continue to try and muster compassion for the people I consider to be a threat to human equality and world peace for they are deeply deluded.
Powerful response here. I agree – patience is difficult. But the alternative? Makes us just like them, right?
When I read your powerful plea I immediately agreed with it. Cultivating compassion for those who abuse is very difficult but it must be done. This generation of women and men who acknowledge the need for change that insures an educated future for women require patience and persistence. We must look forward to a time when men and women are treated with equal respect and dignity parents can they provide the best possible foundation for the health and prosperity of their children and their children’s children.
We all have the “right” to Express who we are or who we are meant to be … there are times when ‘Expression’ becomes ‘suppression’ either from within or by external factors [circumstances, people] … and that is sad.
This is a lovely ‘breakout’ posting, thank you Zeenat for giving it the light it richly deserves
Be good to yourselves Zeenat & Razwana
Thank YOU for your comment, David.
Growing up in the States, in the 50s and 60s, I certainly encountered many “You can’t because you’re a girl” type of situations. Luckily, education wasn’t include in that mix and I did go to college. However, my parents never encouraged me to be anything but a wife and mother. I floundered for the longest time, wondering who I really was and what God was calling me to do, but with time, all has worked out.
I am now a published author and the happiest I have been in my entire life.
Thanks for the wonderful post, Razwana, and thanks to Zeenat for sharing it.
Martha – I can relate to what you wrote a thousand times over. Are you not THE MOST grateful for figuring it all out for yourself? A bit whoot for your published author status!
Hi Razwana.,This post is pure poetry, ‘a spontaneous overflow of emotions’ we have for our tribe!! We see it happen every day yet we remain mute spectators, waiting for compassion from their own parents!? Aren’t parents always expected to be loving and compassionate? Yes, my blood too boils and I want to throw patience out of the window. People talk of rights but who lets them know about them? All their rights get trampled upon even before they can realise they can rebel. Such stark repression is still calmly accepted in our societies.
I truly believe that only the parents can break this glass ceiling. Unless the parents [who are guided by the traditional, orthodox, narrow and outdated beliefs] accept that their daughters too are human beings and should be treated like one,our heart will continue to bleed at our helplessness and inefficiency in dealing with this age old malaise.
I hope more Razwanas emerge to defeat the demons of mistrust, hypocrisy to claim their basic rights and lost opportunities.
A heartbreaking but inspiring post. Thanks Zeenat for sharing it.
Balroop – I agree with your thoughts on parents being able to break the ceiling. Women like us will be parents one day – this is where they cycle starts to break, right?
Zeenat – you have build a very compassionate and intelligent community here. Thank you for letting me be a part of it!
Always a pleasure my dear. Loving all your words here and those of the readers too.
I understand your heartbreak and your choice to embrace patience and compassion and touch of rebelliousness. I support you – and women around the world – and love what you have written here.
Angela – thank you so much for commenting !
I love this post!
So, you’re saying, we don’t have to react to the world and to our society the same way it reacts to us? In the face of judgment, intolerance, ignorance and fear, we can display compassion, patience and love ? Yes!!
Especially great advice for things we can’t control in life – like most things. We don’t have control over cultures and societies which withhold opportunities and education from our women. Or which don’t feed all of their children. Or give everyone equal opportunity for education and housing.
No, anger won’t get us anywhere but each of us being more compassionate and loving more might. And living our truth can also change the world around us – thanks for this one, Razwana.
Hey Vishnu. WE may not have direct control over these things, but we can influence them. If you’re impatient like me, then the slow pace at which this impacts is frustrating.
It all starts with one person, right?
An excellent post about a personal experience that shows a general problem. I would focus on what the concerned person can do to improve her situation. If you look at the situation in detail, you may possibly find a dozen actions that she can take to improve her situation in the long-term, assuming that no constructive action is possible in the short-term. With patience and good will, a lot can be achieved. http://johnvespasian.blogspot.com
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