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To CHOOSE is to BE

Government School Girls in Uttar Pradesh, India - Education Will Enable Choice!

Some of the easiest years of my life were spent during my childhood. Why I say or believe that is because I soaked in the environment as it is, taking all adults and experts' views as rules written in stone and practiced without question. Those days, I saw 'questioning' as blasphemy. I wasn't even sure what codes would one be violating but nevertheless was led to believe like it was some sort of a malpractice. Fortunately for me, I wasn't brought up in a strict discipline that did not allow space to explore or a voice to lend. Yet, the concept of 'choice' and personal agency was very little.

As adolescence came around and I was forced in situations where my will had to determine much more than I just simply had learned by rote and rules, I found myself amidst a great struggle for words and dealt with the inability to action without consultation. Parallel to this, as more and more 'shoulds' became mandatory to my 'being' - whether it was my clothes, my choice in music, the way I spoke to boys etc. - I began questioning as to why it was more desirable or ideal for me to conform to certain ways that were naturally just different from mine. Before I knew it, I was labelled a 'tomboy' and I remember those years as "the golden era", when I pursued my interests unabashedly and learned that a woman was subject to being classified and labelled into types as per how she conformed. It was also the time I felt outcasted from the "feminine gender" and got caught between gender conflicts.

In order to further this understanding of human social behavior and to explore the existence of the 'self' within, I pursued the subject of Psychology for five years. During this period, I began writing "seriously" beyond the unsaid, self admitted secrets and desires that I would store away in my high school journal, which I'm sure served as a base to later writing with a reason, argument and context. I think my voice was still finding its courage which is why it was natural that I began with fiction.

With guidance from a dear friend in college, I was inspired to take up internships in magazines and volunteered in non profits which allowed for learning experiences that has made me what I am today. What I am today is certainly not the end of the journey but a place of greater confidence in the self and the belief that choice, consent and credibility should motivate my decision and action in all spheres of life.

Even though my journey wasn't easy, I realize that I still exist in a more privileged space where access is abundant, if not will or choice. Through World Pulse, I would like to motivate and mentor those for whom access may be limited and impart that without will or choice, its an eventual path to self destruction whether organic or existential.


RenKiss's picture

Wonderful post. I can see

Wonderful post. I can see where you're coming from, as someone who's studied Sociology gender isn't as black and white as we'd like it to be. Not everyone will into the man/woman binary.

Thank you for sharing your story.

gittlemana's picture

choice, consent, and credibility

I think you tie these three elements - choice, consent, and credibility - into your story really well. I'm glad to hear you didn't succumb to ideas of what is normal or expected. I'm always happy when young women push the envelope and find a way, whether through journalism or another venue, to really find their voice. Thank you!

Linda M. Ando's picture

Acceptance of SELF and EXPLORATION

Dear Sister,

Thank you for sharing your story and the journey you traveled to discover the beauty which lies inside.
Our inner landscape is mysterious and worthwhile to explore with curiosity and respect while we figure out how to adapt to the outer landscape of ourselves. As you so poignantly stated, CHOICE is precious like FREEDOM, both values we must not take for granted.

It is wonderful to HEAR your VOICE and we look forward to you exercising your voice via VOF and other media networks. You can help other women and girls discover their unique inner and outer landscapes.

With Gratitude,

Linda M. Ando

Makepeace_Sitlhou's picture

Thank you!

...for leaving such heart warming words of immense encouragement.

In the coming weeks with the assignment submissions, I hope to make myself more pro-actively participative with the World Pulse communities.



Makepeace Sitlhou

@makeysitlhou on Twitter

rozjean's picture

The voice within

Dear Makepeace,
What a wonderful journey you have been on. So many girls enter adulthood still believing they must conform to the status quo without ever questioning the voice within. You have managed to transcend by exploring your inner-self and making decisions that fit who you have become. You are already a good role model for others and I look forward to continuing to hear your voice.
Warm wishes,

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