My mother, and my sister, have always been vocal in making the woman in me think about herself. Even as I admiringly stand in front of the mirror everyday to let the narcissist in me outside, my mother once asked me, "Will anyone give you the job you want, or give you good marks in the examination, just because you look good?". Then when this question was posed to me, I was busy with the narcissist and hence the question was very easily put aside as nothing.
But, after a few days, when I started thinking about the future me, I suddenly realised the import of the question. I realised the futility of trying to look beautiful every day. Why was it so important for me to look fashionable or stylish? I found that it was for the sake of others, and it was out of this external appreciation that I used to derive my internal self-worth. Now that I am young and my hair's not grey, and my face has no wrinkles, I can afford to feel like an angel. But, after, say some 40 years from now, (assuming that I'll be alive till then!), I would still need something to take pride in, or to feel good about. Don't I?
My face would no more be as clear as it now is. I would have grown old, and more importantly, fragile - both physically and mentally. When this would be the case, wouldn't I still be in need of some reason for my existence? (Not to say that 'looking good' has been the only purpose of my existence till now! But it has definitely been a matter of happiness and gratefulness, these precise feelings which I want to stay with me forever, irrespective of the source from which they're derived!)
Wouldn't I still want to love myself as much as I do now? Wouldn't I still be wanting to live, and look forward to every new day, with the same amount of enthusiasm, as I do today? I guess, yes! I want to be very much alive then, as I am now! I even then, want to be wanting to sing, dance, make merry, and celebrate life, rather than sit repenting as to what could have been and should have been.
At this juncture, what my sister once had told me comes to my mind. She had spoken to me about what she called "a woman of substance". "Do you know how difficult it is to be a 'woman of substance'? If you want people to respect you, and look up to you, you need to be a woman of substance. You need to be firmly grounded in what you are. And that you can be, only when you work hard. Only when you realise that looking good, or speaking English fluently are by no means going to help you in building yourself in substance," she had gone on! And, given the high ambitions about life which I then had, and which I still do have, I believe she made a point.
Now, what one means by the phrase "a woman of substance" may be subjective. Why then, it is meant to be subjective. I understand it as being that for which you've been sent on this planet. As being that invincible Self, that knows no fear, no trepidations as to its identity. As that Self which knows exactly, why is it here, and what is it supposed to be doing here! A woman of substance is one who transforms herself first, in order to see what she wants to see in others, because only then can she be said to have realised herself and her purpose; and only then can she lead a happy life, if not a 'successful' one. (In fact, being happy is one of the rare successes a human being can achieve in their life, I believe!).
Coming back to the point from where we started, what I've come to realise is that, she and my mother, and everyone else around me, who tell me what I am capable of doing, are not doing it for nothing. Now, when I have started thinking about my future and have started reflecting upon the person I am and the woman that I want to be, I am compelled, by reason of their merit and nothing else, to think about what the two of the most influential women in my life have had to tell about me, for me.
To add on to their reflections, assuming that I am going to live till the twilight of my life, I am adding my own realisations here. I would want the sunset to be as thrilling and enthralling as the dawn has been. I want the sun to set with the same resplendent aura, spreading happiness and love in all the directions around it, as it had been, when it had taken its birth.
I was born a baby, the girl is seeing a transition into being a woman, and I want to die as a "woman of substance", for, only then will I be able to justify my birth and life on this beautiful Earth!
And for this to happen, for me to have no "ifs" and "buts" when it's all over and I can do nothing but to stand and watch, or at the most try to relive my life in its entirety, I cannot allow the river in me to flow in whatever direction pleases it. The river needs to exercise reason in its flow, and then, and only then, will it be able to fulfill the purpose of its exuberance and liveliness! A river is called a river only when it serves some meaningful purpose, without which, it is no better than a lame stream deep inside the woods, knowing nothing, and about who, nature knows nothing!
Let the river in you flow,
Flow that it may grow,
Quenching its thirst to flow;
Twisting here, turning there,
Kissing the rocks which slapped on its face,
Let the sun caress it with a golden glow,
Let the sparrows sing by its bosom in sweet mellow,
May your heart be brave enough;
To let the river in you flow,
Let the river in you flow!