One day a thought came into my mind.
It asked me ``Who Am I?``
I responded with the name I was given,
Adding the prefixes and suffixes
with which I'd been christened.
But was that really my identity?
Someone inside me answered, NO.
Then I started questioning:
Am I a shadow of my father’s desire?
My mother’s unfulfilled dream?
Am I a girlfriend who satisfies greed?
An embodiment of society’s creed?
If not all of these, then who am I?
The knot tightens. It suffocates me.
I keep running, but the question doesn’t leave.
I scream, but no one hears.
My very self laughs at my struggle.
Does my identity belong to me?
My gender alone can't define me.
Expectations can't command my performance.
Who decides who I am, if not me?
I question the knowledge once considered true
That woman must conform to man.
She's born to serve, not to rule.
I refuse to conform to fulfill others' dreams.
I reject the identity imposed on me,
To be only a daughter or sister of males
Fearless and confident,
I will carve my identity
Live my own dreams.
Arunima Chouguley is an MA candidate at the University for Peace.