As Women’s History Month comes to a close, I wrote this poem as a year-long reminder of what this month signifies to me. A life-long reminder, actually.
We all have our battles. We all have something that our hearts are attached to. From an Islamic perspective, Muslims believe that this has to do with the heart’s separation from its Creator. So our hearts are ever searching for something to fill this void, whether it’s money, or career, or status, or love.
Filling our hearts with love and acceptance, that’s something that we all want, but I believe it’s something that I and, to generalize, really all women struggle with the most.
Us women, we know very well how to value others but we seldom know how to value ourselves. We wholeheartedly do things for others, but rarely for ourselves. We even show other people more respect than we show to ourselves. In doing so, we effervescently give others the love, honor, and acceptance that we do not know how to give to ourselves.
This only leads to a downward spiral of disappointment, loss, pain, and self-deprecation. And only further exacerbates the symptoms of this “separated heart”.
So my greatest battle has always been accepting myself.
A lot of this stems from my South Asian heritage where misogyny, male privilege, and other gender disparities have migrated to the West alongside the rest of my people.
However, some of this stems from my own personal experiences with self-acceptance and love as well.
But after years and years of struggling with the notion that I’m “not good enough”, I have finally come to the realization that when I… when we live with this mentality, when we think less of ourselves, we are denying our purpose in this world.
There’s the *Hakim (The Most Wise) who created all parts of us for a reason: our bodies, our minds, our personalities. Even our flaws were created with so much wisdom that we don’t even have the wisdom to comprehend.
Every one of us was created with precision and expertise and honor. We are all so valuable, so beloved, and so necessary for this world and for ourselves.
And you know, I’ve slowly learned to love all parts of me, even the parts that I wanted to change for the longest time. But it’s me. It’s all me and I love that. I love myself.
So this poem is an homage to….me.
To finally accepting myself as a Woman, as a Human, as a Muslim, as Me.
With these words, I wish to spread the love and honor that we don’t show ourselves too often. And through this poem, as I stand for myself, I hope to stand for all women.
I Am a Woman
I am a Woman.
My body is made of blades
and my mind, of steel.
I am Strength.
The spine that supports the weight of this world
and the womb that keeps it alive.
I am Wisdom.
I know now that time is not healing my pain, no.
Time, instead, is teaching me how to stitch those wounds
that I spent years ripping apart.
I am Love.
A manifestation of which can only be found in God Himself.
I am the proof that He is indeed “*Al Wadud”.
I am a Diver
and I will sink.
Hit rock bottom, as I have done before.
But I have found that only at the bottom is where I find pearls
and resurface with such precious gems,
rising higher than i ever have before.
I am Beauty.
Not reminiscent of a flower, whose beauty fades with its age.
But an ever-lasting one,
as intangible as my soul.
I am a Nomad.
A product of diaspora.
I wander in search of a place to call home.
Only to find,
that home in me.
I am the Heart.
The kind that was created to be broken and torn
so that it could instead be mended
and given back to its Creator.
Today, as I speak for myself,
I speak for all Women.
I speak for Struggle. Ambition. Hope. Empathy. Life.
I am all of these. And so much more.
But most of all, I am mine.
And I am enough.
Because I am a Woman.
I hope you now know, too.
*Hakim- One of the 99 names of God in Islam, meaning the “Most Wise” in Arabic
* Al Wadud- Another of the 99 names, meaning the Ultimate Source of Love