I was sexless before 11! Till this age, I did not realize what the meaning of a “girl” (versus a boy) was. Not having brothers (but rather 3 beautiful sisters) contributed to my ignorance of the difference between “girls” and “boys”. My life was full of cute dresses, tiny sandals, and talking dolls. Dissatisfied with the physiological changes at this critical age I started to look around. Seeing boys in the streets, how freely they talked, walked and how they were treated made me open my eyes to the difference between me and them. I aspired to be a boy! I started to walk like a boy, talk like one and my wardrobe started to have less dresses and more unisex outfits. Towards my mid-teenage years, I occasionally put ties on. Yes, men’s ties! However, I put them on only when I let my hair loose and wild. It’s as if although I aspired to turn into a boy, I still clung to my girlhood.
Thinking is my most preferred hobby. It started with not focusing on the world, but rather on me; my own identity, who I am and what I want. They say that a woman can get more spiritual faster than a man because she doesn’t have the male ego. Her identity is less developed and more fragile than a man’s. I disagree! Women have identities but just not their own. They have the identities that the society generously bestows upon them; a daughter or a wife (or a wanton!). Why not a woman? Why isn’t “a woman” enough as a role? Why isn’t it accepted as an identity? Why do I have to be the daughter of a man or the wife of another in order to be recognized, accepted and respected in society? Why Mayada the woman is not enough?! I am not against the honorable roles of daughters and wives, but before being so, one has to be identified and treated as a woman. The fact that I am a daughter or a wife should never erase my sense of womanhood, of my individuality and uniqueness.
In my early twenties I started a journey of self-discovery. I began by shattering the stereotypes that society imposes on women before exploring what womanhood meant. Up till now, the meaning is unfathomable to me. I cannot summarize a universe in a word or two. I could only put my hands on some of the blessings women enjoy. Women are givers, embracers, and universal. Only women can embrace life within, nurture it and take care of it for a lifetime. And I am not talking about babies here; it can be anything starting from nurturing feelings to grown-up men.
After years of travelling within, I have an identity of my own; I am a woman. I am proud of what I am and have. I am proud of my endless ability to give and embrace. I call for no equality with men. I do not feel inferior or superior to them. We are both humans yet the differences between us are like that between oceans and rivers; both are “water” yet both are two totally different worlds with the lives they hold inside and the gifts they offer.
I wouldn’t trade my womanhood for the whole world. I am beautiful, in my special way. Every single woman is beautiful, in her special way.
To all the beautiful women out there, I dedicate this to you:
فيجري داخلي عذباً سلساً.ا
فأغطي غاباتٍ وجبالاً ووديانًا.ا
فتحتضن الشمس القمر
ويرقصان معاً في سماءٍ واحدة.ا
فيهدر رعدٌ وتهطل سيولٌ
تُغرِقُ الأرضَ وما عليها.ا
فيلف الكون سكون خدرٍ.ا
وفي نهاية يومي،ا
أقبع داخل حبة رملٍ،ا
على موجة بحرٍ
أنا … امرأة!ا