THE PRESSURE TO WRITE has been mounting. Guilt at not writing has been increasing steadily. But as a not-so-young mother of a small child, I am continually battling either illness of some sort or domestic issues which mean a series of chores! Add a demanding job to the mix. Sleepless nights, throbbing sciatic nerve, acidity — my physician gave me a wry smile and said classic symptoms of stress. Sometimes I am convinced that being feminist hasn’t helped.
During my last period, I was so overworked that my legs were jelly at the end of the day and I wished I had been my mother or her mother who could sit quietly in a corner reading something inane during their period because they were not allowed to do or touch anything lest they should pollute. I have breached those codes. My politics has given me the right vocabulary to protest, to analyze and liberate myself from arcane menstrual taboos.
My feminist politics opposes women being confined to traditional gender roles so here I am going beyond my traditional gender roles. In addition to being a mother, daughter, wife etc, I am doing so many things outside my prescribed role that I am exhausted. Domestic responsibilities and child care still largely rest on women while men are, at best, helpers. It is a difficult terrain to negotiate because somewhere it is also a question of how we define ourselves.
And at the end of the day I don’t have rest or leisure, I feel so guilty of not having done that much more, am again guilty of not being organized enough. I ponder over the difficulty of the waiting while we negotiate change. There is no such thing as a waiting room while social transformation is happening, Our lives are getting lived and daily my sciatic nerve throbs and thrums as if there was no tomorrow.
Unwittingly in this breaching of barriers, for women, wanting ‘quiet’ seems apolitical, a luxury. The questions we should ask ourselves are: isn’t feminism also about self criticality, reflection, respecting one’s body without feeling one has failed? How can we retain our feminist politics and still remain healthy, wealthy and wise? Does anyone have any ideas?