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My Life Question is Our Life Question

When I saw that the assignment for this week pertained to my life vision, I had a simultaneous urge to laugh and cry. Having recently graduated from college, this is the question that wakes me in the middle of the night, sweating and panting, terrified of the ravenous vortex of possibility that is my future. At first, I shrank from the smiling query of “so what are you going to do now?” in shame, feeling ill with the weight of my uncertainty. The summer after graduating from college was one of the most mentally tormenting periods of my life. As of now, I am learning to embrace uncertainty along with ambition. It is a dizzying and thrilling combination. Though I do not believe that being a woman gives me any more intuition than a man, I do trust in my instincts. As Simone de Beauvoir said, the idea of women’s intuition is a male explanation of intelligence in the gender that was uneducated and forced into dependence. Therefore, I do not have intuition, simply a good head on my shoulders. I took a job in France because it felt right to me; the idea fulfilled a desire that I had not quite articulated. This was my biggest step thus far in embracing the world around me. My job teaching English to college students here is nothing as radical as teaching English to education-deprived girls in Pakistan, but I can feel myself coming to terms with that formidable realization: my purpose in life.
This is the paragraph where I am supposed to articulate with great conviction the details of said purpose. Though I cannot speak on great authority as to how I will live out my life, I have a clear vision of what I want to see happen in the world. I think that we need to take a simultaneously anthropological and humanitarian stance on sexist cultural practices. One cannot change the way that people live without first understanding why they live in such a way. Take for example Gregory Mortenson, author of Three Cups of Tea. He was able to negotiate with the Taliban to have a school safely built for girls. While this man must have stellar communication skills to successfully propose something progressive to such a deeply sexist organization, he also had a cultural understanding of the people of Afghanistan. Though Mortenson’s triumph did not change the world in one fell swoop, it serves as a paradigm for the global feminist movement. If we are going to change the way the world sees women, we must do it in such a manner that promotes peace and understanding. Truthful writing is a very powerful instrument for this cause. It spreads knowledge and eradicates misconceptions. Writing has the power to bring a piece of the world across oceans and right into your lap. It is time for the world’s people to stop assuming the worst of their fellow human beings and instead try to understand their perspective.
I believe that I can help spread knowledge with my own hands. I already am. When I saw the competition for Voices of Our Future I knew without a doubt that this was something I had to do. Despite all the inconstancy and self-deprecation involved in my postgraduate life, this writing challenge captured my interest without a fight. Being a correspondent for Voices of Our Future will give me the opportunity to be heard on precisely the subjects I care about most. As a novice journalist in a newspaper or magazine, I would have to write “fluff pieces” on weddings or pet fashion shows. With Pulsewire, I can make real a difference with my writing. I can use my education and passion for women’s rights to share my opinions and solutions directly with women who are experiencing oppression. This website is so effective because these women can talk back. Reading becomes and active practice. I have the ability to hear how my ideas are received by the women who live with adversity every day. My primary interest is not the opinion of an editor-in-chief or a government. I am interested in using my writing to broadcast the voices that have been silenced for too long.


bougeotte's picture

Greetings from a listener

I am your listener for your final assignment. I must say you write extremely well, but then I looked at your bio and understood why. I especially liked the Simone de Beauvoir quote since I am a big fan of hers. Nonetheless, I would have loved to hear more about a specific cause you wish to take up - what is that truly interests you with regards to women's rights.
I understand the turmoil of not knowing what to do next after college, as I myself just finished graduate school and am seeking employment. You captured that sensation vividly. You are a technically proficient writer, and I look forward to reading more of your pieces in the future.
The best of luck,
PS. Did you get to see the Monet exhibition? I hear it is phenomenal.

Mary D's picture

Terri, Thank you for your


Thank you for your kind words. Unfortunately I was unable to see the Monet exhibit. I am a huge fan of the impressionists though. Was it in Paris? I am roughly an hour away from Paris by train. I would have loved to be more detailed about my specific causes, if only I had a larger word limit! Ah the curse of being loquacious.

rozjean's picture

The World As We Know It

Hi Mary D.,
How wonderful to be young, living in France, and pondering your life's destiny. I, too, am a big fan of Greg Mortenson. He is a totally non-sexist man!
With warm regards,

rmweaver's picture

I can identify so much with

I can identify so much with what you said - about searching for your purpose in life. You are taking important steps now - by stepping out, taking risks and speaking your voice.

What a leap of faith and adventure it must have taken for you to decide to move to France after school! i saw a video once in a photography class where the photographer gave advice on how to take the best pictures. He talked a lot about "putting yourself in the position of the most potential". I've thought about it a lot since then and about how that idea applies to so much more than photography.

All the best to you on this journey,

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