What Is the Big Deal If a Woman Loves Freely?

What is the big deal?
We have all known fear, fear of loss, of rejection, of nothingness, of hate…
But I have known the fear of love, is it something with which you all can relate?
I have been told it’s normal to hide, to cover and conceal
I fail to understand to this day, what is the big deal
Why being in love cannot be talked about and celebrated

My parents could not know, never, for my loving a boy will bring them shame
For my transcending in love will shatter my virginity as much as their name
So girl – never reveal your desires, don’t hum or play or dance freely
I am told over and again – do not trust easily, for in trusting lies the threat of debauchery
I am told to express sparingly, for what I express could be used against me, to scratch me, to wound me
So, I am told to doubt, to question the intentions of the other… that’s wisdom, you see

‘O you are too simple woman! You invite the risk of being manipulated
You must be complex to survive, so no one thinks you are useless and dated
Don’t go by people’s face value, there are layers deeper, dangerous and darker’
But I think… why would they lie, misrepresent, fool me
In associating with them, Can I not be ME?

So ways of the world… I must say are beyond me
For I can’t comprehend why trees on roads are barriers,
jungles ugly breeding spaces of mosquitoes, family a space to fear
Minds spaces of un-freedoms
Why public spaces should need permissions,
and commitments in relationships regulations

Why should education come with economics and not care
Why giving is not easy and loving be rare

These random arrangements – deafening silences, chaotic structures – crush my soul with little care
I am constantly reminded to calculate before I speak,
to be selective in friendship, to love secretly, to despise pleasure,
I am cautioned against going wayward in my pursuit to be free

Alas now I have come to fear openness, but loathe the ‘guarded’ even more
I have disliked judging, for which I was always judged, now and from before
‘You are too simple, too trusting, too friendly, too open, and therefore naive
the ways of the world will not let the likes of you thrive’
So be subtle, be serious, be professional,’ the woman is told

But unrestrained emotion is the call of her soul
In how many screams should she tell you – Let ME BE

Because you may or may not like me, you may or may not judge me, you may or may not love me
but I have the capability to be free
I won’t pretend, because I have the capacity to love you with no ends
And so I will tell you how I feel,
If you still insult me, I will not allow myself to belittle me
Because I know that even though this space is devoid of love
I live with the hope of planting a seedling to nurture
I live with this happy hope, and so I live better

Shashi Shikha is a development practitioner, juggling through the multiples of life, in poetry she finds a way to vent out the misfit that she has been amongst the ‘normals’.