An Ode to Feminism and Personality Prints

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Feminism runs in my family, in parts.

I come from a family of outspoken (sometimes bordering on the line of offensive) women, about whom the men in the house would jokingly warn new entrants to be wary of.

We inherit a chunk of values subconsciously from the ones around us. The early lessons often imparted by family. The few beads of feminism that I took away from mine:

Importance of education and hatred for dowry – I learned from my grandfather, who would tell his daughters “I am ready to sell everything to get you girls a good education” and who would ask prospects to kindly leave if they ever asked for dowry.

Importance of courage, debating, learning, re-learning, and speaking out – I learned from my mother. She has been at the receiving end of many jibes that came her way for raising her daughters to be the feminists that we are. Instead of feeling the burden of everyone’s favorite dialogue “It’s the mother’s fault,” she rose to the challenge and took it as a compliment.

Importance of financial independence – I learned from my aunts, who owing to personal incidents had to depend on themselves to keep their family afloat.

Importance of gender equality – I learned from my dad, who was absolutely fine with doing household chores, cooking, and cleaning. P.S: He used to make the best mutton curry.

Importance of freedom – I learned from my sister, who values her independence more than anything else in this world. Nothing can stop her from pursuing her dreams in life.

We always learn little lessons from everyone around us, without even knowing. When I look back, to think where I got my current ideologies from, these are the people who pop up in my mind. I learned a little bit from each and together they have defined my set of values.

An individual can be unique not just in physical appearance or fingerprints, but even by their “personality print” which is the sum total of all their experiences in life. Next time you feel you are not special, think about it this way. There is literally no one like you – with the same set of values, journey, experiences, understanding. Just like fingerprints, no two personality prints are alike. You are uniquely you. Is there any better reason to celebrate?

An Ode to Unexplained Feelings

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Is it not unsettling that what we feel can never be expressed entirely with words?

Imagine feeling the whole world, and when you express it, it turns out less than whole – as small, grainy and flighty as sand. Most of the finest specks, lost in translation.

We are only subjected to someone’s surface-level emotions. The tip of an iceberg. Never truly getting to experience the depths.

People often say if given a superpower, they would like to read other’s minds. But how reliable are those thoughts? They can be inaccurate and flippant. You might feel pain, but the comments flaring in your mind might be that of anger. You might feel happiness, but your thoughts could counter with a cynical “Is this too good to be true?” Thoughts can be contradicting, untrue and a spoilsport. Feelings, though – they are as true as they can get.

I would rather feel what people are feeling – in its entirety. Feelings won’t lie even if you desperately wish they would. What we feel inside is the purest, most concentrated form of emotion. When we try to assemble our feelings into words, we dilute the essence by half. When we let it out, we lose more, depending on how skilled you are with the spoken language. Then it is up to the recipient to preserve the remaining as is or interpret it in a totally different way. A game of Chinese Whispers. This is why we are often left stunned, when a loved one misunderstands you, because what you feel is totally different from what they have interpreted it to be. Words can be beautiful but they are equally constricting.

I sometimes wonder if something like an emotion tester (let’s call it a feel-o-meter) would have made us less judgmental and more compassionate. A device that can measure the intensity of someone’s emotions.

  • To appreciate those who stay quiet but are filled up to the brim with love.
  • To recognize those who sweet talk but feel nothing.
  • To understand that someone’s pain is just that – pain, and nothing else – no manipulation, no faking involved.
  • To understand someone’s anger is more than just anger – it is a deep-rooted sadness.
  • To understand that someone’s inability to express is not apathy but an internal struggle with overwhelming emotions.

People mostly use their reckless judgment to analyze whether someone is being genuine or not.

  • We could be crying, but someone would say “Stop acting”
  • We could be hurt, but people would say “You are overreacting”
  • We could genuinely be sorry but someone would say “You don’t mean it”

We make up these little disapproving stories in our mind about a person, to suit our whims and fancies, without really knowing the truth. There is so much time wasted in this period between judgment and knowing. And who is to blame? Us for being unable to reveal our feelings in its totality, or them for not seeing our unadulterated feelings?