Not long after I joined this exciting forum, I moved to South Africa to go to film school. My mission was clear and I was not going to entertain any distractions:
1- learn skills 2- make valuable connections 3- use both to plan the first steps into making a difference
School life left very little time for me to even check my emails properly and so I felt a growing distance between myself and all that I held dear to me, my friends and family back home and the projects so many of us had slaved together to get off the ground and bear fruit. I was so hyped about prepping for my new role in life (the bad-ass film maker who wasn't going to sit back and let shit happen anymore). But while trying to transform into this Wonderwoman I so badly wanted to become and I had forgotten all the things that had made it possible for me to even conceive of becoming anything like Wonderwoman. I had forgotten the years of trying to prove that I can do any job as well as any man because at this stage in my life I figured it can be taken for granted that I can. I had sucessfully erased from my mind the many professional gatherings I was asked to organize and host while being reminded that I had to look pretty because I thought I had already paid my dues and its probably the turn of some other poor twenty-somthing-year-old to get her battle scars. I basically decided to reinvent all my experiences because it was clear that I was above all that now.
A year after school now, I have understood the fact that no woman is ever too good to go back to fighting the same battles again and again, either for herself or for someone else. No one can ever decree that old demons will not come out of the wood works to try and inject us with that crippling sense of frailty that once made us fit well into corsets and tight shoes. I suppose I had this first realization when one of my classmates had been so irritated with my ideas that once out of (what he thought was) earshot he exclaimed to another classmate that he now understood why some women just needed to get raped. After the initial shock of what he said had worn off, what remained with me wasn't so much anger as it was a combination of confusion and weariness. Its the circle that simply refuses to end isn't it??!! No matter what I accomplish and where I go and who I am with, I am always going to have to expect and defend myself from the same things aren't I? I see it everyday now, especially in Johannesburg where the media will not let anything slip by and its these dangeous cysts of inhumanity that grow to be the cancer of society; rape victims in Pretoria, women dying of abuse in Johannesburg, migrants being harrased and murdered in Capetown.
When I signed on to World Pulse today after over a year, I suddenly came face to face with what the rest of the world is still fighting about on the ground. Whether its education for girls that women in Cambodia are writing about or domestic violence that Indian women are writing about, or lack of maternal health services that Ethiopians are complaining about, its all still here and I have no idea where I thought that I had moved on to bigger and better battles.
But I'm back now, and although I have learned skills and made valuable contacts since I moved to South Africa, I need to use as much of my past as my present to start making a difference like all other women are. Afterall, who can better navigate a never ending cycle than one who has been through all the loops before?