About a year ago, three of my closest girlfriends and I were sitting around, jokingly describing how we would be as mothers and how our children would behave by our guidance.
We are a diverse group of women. Between us, there is a blending of Vietnamese, African American, Islander, Filipino, and Italian. Naturally, we all have a different way of doing things, which stems from our culture and upbringing.
The glue that brought us all together is our Vietnamese girlfriend. She has a knack for incorrectly pronouncing words. Specific is pacific and the word vegetable becomes something entirely new coming out of her mouth. We teased her by pointing out how her kid would be a poster child for broken English.
Seconds later, as the focus shifted to me and as we finished gasping for air from insane laughter, my friend said this to me, “Oh, I can see Ne (Nene is my nickname) and her child running around barefoot with both their curly hair blowing in the wind.”
Oddly, what she said that day has stuck with me even now. When I envision her words, I see a freer version of myself, a version that I am trying to obtain in this season of my life.
I am free because I am immune to the world’s standards of what a woman should be.
I am free because I am immune to my own voice telling me what I should be.
I am free because I am not defining myself with labels and descriptive phrases.
I am free because I am the embodiment of love.
Of course, I am not saying a woman can only be free from all this by becoming a mother. I am a woman who is unsure about her own desire to reproduce, but that’s a topic for another day.
I feel as though we draw a box for ourselves when we begin the journey of self-discovery. We fill our dating profiles and social media accounts with a number of words describing who we are. Some of us try summing up ourselves with short paragraphs that paint a beautiful, or even painful, picture. We cunningly describe ourselves with hopes that others will see our togetherness or with hopes we will be asked out for tea.
But for me, I am discovering that a part of who I am cannot be described and I am okay with that. I prefer it.
I can be a number of things. I am an array of sayings, quotes, definitions and remarks, but there is a piece of rubble that doesn’t want labels nor explanations. It doesn’t want to relate or relay any particular message. It won’t fit in a 140 character box and it doesn’t need an essay’s worth of space. It is unaware of external forces and sees only the beauty of itself and of others. Just as the wind blows, shifting in ways unseen to the eye, it moves the same.
It’s a beautiful thing to learn the basis of yourself and be able to present those pieces to others as a whole, but when you reach a question mark within, don’t try to answer it by placing that piece of you in a box, only to restrain it.
Let that portion of who you are remain untamable; somewhat like the coils of my hair.