Once, I cut my wrist because of the demons playing hopscotch in my backyard, and the nurse that stitched back my wrist in place told me: “Hey you’re really pretty. Someday you’re gonna make a man really happy, why’d you waste all your beauty like this?”
I told her then: I wanted to slash my face, from one pretty eyeball to the next, from one perfect lip to the next, till every red-as-revolution-scar on my beautiful face spelled: R-E-B-E-L against my molten copper skin.
What have they told you about Medusa, about Meenakshi and Kannagi and Isakki?
That they were all so fucking beautiful and they were all goddesses in their own right and if only, if only they had stayed demure with their pretty mouths shut, if only they had tied their hair and not worn too much kohl around their eyes, if only they stopped playing with fire and accepted fate served on a platter, they’d all have lived longer?
You see, in my country, they call women, goddesses.
Goddesses worthy enough to be in glass cases, stone sculptures, rock forts and always warm in their beds, warm enough to make babies with, warm enough to rise sheets from inside, but never warm enough to rise and rebel.
You see, a woman that had snakes for hair and could turn you to stone with a glance, was a villainess, terrible beauty, that was punished solely for being so beautiful enough to provoke a man to rape her in the first place.
As long as you keep your beauty under restraints, you’re a goddess, you’re a queen.
You see, Meenakshi, the warrior queen who fought for her own hand when no king could, and ruled the land that never sleeps with all the glory that her temples fail to portray,
Well, her three breasts (and her valour), they seemingly melted into two as she looked down at her feet when the eyes of Shiva met hers and that’s just summing up why they call women goddesses in my country.
Patriarchy says you can be anything, you’re all goddesses, you can be anything under the sky, it’s all fine as long as you look at your feet when a man looks into your eyes and when I say fuck patriarchy,
My mother burned into my mouth, a red cast iron rod, a scar that I carry with pride, a scar as red as the rebellion I speak of.
You see, Kannagi rose up and revolted for justice and all they wanted to glorify was how much she loved her husband despite his wayward ways and how good a wife she was and how good a role model,
When girls my age fall on their husband’s feet and talk about Kannagi and love and devotion in one goddamn sentence,
I want to blame this country for calling its women goddesses and raping them inside temple walls and calling it all fair in love and war, when the only war they want to play is an ugly game of who has the penis and who does not.
You see, Issaki, tore out her heart and handed it on a platter to the man that made her pregnant and refused to acknowledge that at court and oh, they made her a goddess too,
Only now, she sits demure with a saree and a head full of jasmine flowers, caged forever inside the walls of all that she wanted to fight in the first place, when she tore her heart and put it on a platter in their sight,
You might as well stitch it back and watch her scream curses at you for calling her a goddess and putting her inside your own prison of patriarchal bars.
You see, my country has a problem.
And the worst part is that they choose not to see that which they don’t want to change,
They want their women as goddesses, demure, soft and play-doh like, cold, with all their fire extinguished, on an altar, where they can see what’s between their legs and rape them behind closed doors, inside temple walls, all the while calling them goddesses and queens and whatnot.
They only want to squeeze us into sizeable moulds and put us on a pedestal so that we’d never want to climb down, because they don’t want us to, they only take our ripped hearts and rip them to a million shreds,
So that we’d never rise and rebel again.
They call us goddesses and whores in a single breath, when all we want, is to be left alone.
You see, some of us, we let go of that wild in us that gnaws us from within and we’re not okay being “just fucking beautiful” alone, we are more, we are more than just our kohl rimmed eyes that cause you to sin, our red painted mouths that make you want them on every part of your body, our breasts that have bestowed art with eternity, our beauty that causes you to sin inside temple walls and in your head,
We are more than the way we look and if the fire in our souls have made you want to shut our red, red mouths with a NO, I’m sorry, I’d rather set a whole country on fire than watch you put out all my red-hot rebellion and let me die in the cold of your home.
Published Author. Poet. Spoken Word Artist. Entrepreneur. Boxer. Avid Reader. Dog Mommy.
I believe in the power of love to heal the world, one word at a time.