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I am what I am

Under varying circumstances and prompted by differing events – my paternal uncles, my father’s two surviving brothers have affirmed my status as a rebel (read feminist).
For years, I suppose my refusal to conform was mistaken for an ‘inability’ to do so – a handicap as it were.
It seemed I would be the object of pity, the misfit who just couldn’t make the mark but perhaps they have come to realize that I was never a misfit, that it was not a matter of me failing to follow the rules and live up to expectation – but rather a choice I made to never live by any dictates except my own.
Like the homosexual who is glad that their sexual orientation has been accepted, albeit with resignation, I feel as if my feminism has now become an acceptable ‘deformity’ in my family.
I have, without making the effort won their grudging respect.
So it amused me no end, when a year ago my youngest uncle called me and said that I should have been born a boy – amused me because I knew he meant it as a compliment and it amused me because I knew that becoming a boy has never been a thing aspired for and to be told that I had reached the point of being ‘equal’ to a boy child told me a lot about my patriarchal parentage.
He was now deciding that I had not ‘turned out right’ for a girl and perhaps it could be that I was never meant to be one!
It gave him a measure of comfort to be able to explain my feminism as a weird twist of fate that trapped a boy’s mentality into the head and body of a girl child.
Whatever.
Then a few days ago, my other uncle makes a remark that I suspect was the result of hours of pondering and finally the conclusion was drawn – I had the ‘spirit’ of a man he said.
It amused me again that my feminist inclinations should be given male attributes and my modest achievements be given a masculine interpretation --- for the remark belied that my being a woman was incongruent with the success, confidence and self-assurance with which I lead my life.
By the ‘spirit’ of a man, my uncle was trying no doubt, to excuse my ‘unfeminine’ approach to life, my ‘unwomanly’ convictions and my insistence on living life on my own terms – a thing that requires no small amount of courage in a society that rewards conformity and ostracizes those who deviate from the norm.
Yet I find irony in the fact that, I turned out the way I have without making much of an effort – my keen sense of justice has always made me sensitive to any forms of injustice, even the more subtle forms of it disguised as cultural pride and keeping tradition.
Questioning the satus quo to me, did not derive from a desire to stand in antagonism but emanated from a desire to understand why the world I lived in was so hell-bent on denying me the space to define myself – why was I being boxed in and silenced?
And what did my anatomy have to do with it? Everything!
I was born a girl in a society that celebrated boys and I had to fight to be recognized as a worthy individual; outside the constraints of the roles assigned to me and away from the domestic sphere from which I was raised to believe was my one true domain.
So now these men, who fathered me since birth – they find traces of the rebellious child I was in the militant woman I have become and they – finally, they come to terms with the fact that I will never change and that it is they who must change – who must accept me as I am.
And they call me a man --- because it would violate everything they have believed in to admit that I am a woman; for the patriarchal edifice must be preserved.
But I am not a man neither am I a boy – I am what I am.

Comments

jadefrank's picture

Not a man trapped - a woman liberated!

Dear Delta,

This is a powerful piece - a testimony to the "patriarchal edifice" where feminists can be construed as men trapped in women's bodies. I find your voice and writing to be captivating... you are an amazing writer! Thank you for sharing your personal story of "coming out" to your family as a feminist and the manner in which they are trying to accept you as such.

Warm regards,
Jade

itsdelta's picture

Thanks!

Hey Jade!

Thank you for your kind words! I enjoy writing and I am delighted that you have enjoyed reading what I have penned. In case you find yourself idle you may check my blog and read some of my articles. It's www,itsdelta.wordpress.com
.
Hope to get to know you better, will be looking out for your writing and thank you for that accurate analysis of my dilemma...lol!!!

cheers,

Delta

Sharese's picture

Aiya!

Yes, Delta- as it has the last few times I have read what you write- my heart is with you beating to the rythm of your words.

And yes HA! the notion of gender- that the gender of a person, nay- the SEX- of a person determines their world view of self worth is one that encapsulates so many. Is it the hormones that pulse through men that make them know that they are deserving of respect in this world? This is not something exclusive to Zimbabwe- or even the "developing" world- rather it is something that in those "developed" worlds (who is to say what is developed and what is developing anyway... but that is a conversation for another day) still permeates the culture. Men take up more space, men look you in the eye, men speak clearly and forcefully... because of what, their testosterone level?

Maybe you and I were born with too much "hormone", my friend- ha! No I think it is the spirit within us, that that surpasses all human-form. What is truely us, the Being that is inside everyone regardless of what the outer looks like.

Thank you for the inspiration, the words, thoughts, feelings and the notion of respect- I tip my hat to you my good man (see tongue in cheek).

Much Peace and Love,

Sharese

itsdelta's picture

Man to Man (sic)

Hey Sharese!

Man to Man (tongue in cheek): just between me and thee.... I have often found that our womanhood so often obscures our humanity.... and it irks me so!

But then I think of all those clever witty feminists and how they managed to poke fun at the status quo talking about how 'feminism is the radical notion that women are people too"!

As one good 'man' to another --- methinks the world will have to get used to those of the feminist ilk coz we aint going anywhere and if anything --- we aint never gonna change.

It feels liberating to not have to meet anymore expectations from my family because they have resigned themselves to the fact that I am on oddity...lol!!!

But aren't we all odd when we choose not to conform or simply refuse to believe that conformity is an act of virtue and not cowardice.

Amazing how our anatomy can be used to relegate us to subservience... if we all had the same genitals how would we treat each other - equally I suppose --- but because we happen to have different body parts - this is used as a premise to oppress one group in favor of another.

Someone once wrote: We reject the idea that one group of the human species should have a right to impose its on reality on another group of the species.

And to me; that rejection has been so much a part of my personality --- it is only when I got to college that I realized that my feelings of rebellion and discontent and hostility towards the status quo had a name and that name I was taught - is FEMINISM

gkimball's picture

global youth book

Dear Delta, great account of how men try to understand an accomplished woman!! Thanks.
Hello. I’m writing a book about global youth viewpoints and would be very appreciative of your help getting these questions to young people 19 and younger who would like to be part of my book. I have translations of the questions in various languages. Thanks, Gayle

Greetings from California. I'm writing a book that gives you and other young people around the world an opportunity to say what's on your mind. This is your chance to be heard. Many of you have wonderful suggestions for how to make our world a better to live in, so I'm asking people age 19 and under to respond to 10 questions. I’ll compare your answers by age, gender, and location.
See myspace.com/globalyouthviewpoints for the questions and photos of schools and students I’ve visited on three continents. Also see http://globalyouthspeakout.ning.com/main/index/addContent
(I’ve written other peer-based books for youth, including The Teen Trip: The Complete Resource Guide and How to Survive Your Parents’ Divorce: Kids’ Advice to Kids.) Please also forward to kids and their teachers so they can be part of the global youth book.
Thanks, Gayle Kimball, Ph.D.

1. If you could ask a question of the wisest person in the world,
what would you ask her or him about life?
2. What bothers you in your daily life? What practice best helps you stay calm?
3. If there was one thing you could change about adults, what
would it be?
4. What would you like to change about yourself?
5. What do you like to do for fun?
6. When have you felt most loved by someone else?
7. Why do you think you’re here on earth; what’s your purpose?
8. On a scale of 1 to 100, how highly would you grade your
school? Why?
9. What work would you like to do when you're an adult?
10. If you were the leader of your country, what changes would you make?
11. Imagine you get to write on a T-shirt going on a trip around the world. What do you want your T-mail to say to people?

What questions are missing that you’d like to answer? Your email. . . . . . .
What first name would you like used in the book to quote you?
How old are you?
Girl or boy?
What city and country do you live in?
Gracias! Merci! Danke! Arrigato! Chi chi!

> > > > >Previous Books:
> > > > > Essential Energy Tools book and 3 videos.
> > > > > 21st Century Families: Blueprints for Family-Friendly Workplaces,
Schools and Governments. (Equality Press)
> > > > > How to Create Your Ideal Workplace (Equality Press)
> > > > > The Teen Trip: The Complete Resource Guide (Equality Press)
> > > > > 50/50 Parenting (Lexington Books)
> > > > > 50/50 Marriage (Beacon Press)
> > > > > ed. Everything You Need to Know to Succeed After College (Equality
Press)
> > > > > How to Survive Your Parents' Divorce (Equality Press)
> > > > > ed. Women's Culture (Scarecrow Press)
ÿ > > > > Ed. Women's Culture Revisited. (Scarecrow Press, 2005)

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