I am a woman.

I am not an apple, a pear or a device measuring the passage of time. I am a woman, a living, breathing beautiful being.

STOP. Trying to fit me in a shape, I am boundless.

You can’t constrict me into geometrical entities. Numbers can’t determine my worth. Or so I tell myself.

I have spent countless days looking at my reflection in the mirror. Naked, mapping the silhouette of my body, bending down, just to count the number of rolls my stomach would make, jumping to see the flesh wiggle, pressing to see the bumps.

STOP. Trying to perverse my gaze to my own self.

I have spent hours pouring over articles about small meals, protein smoothies, flat abs, no cellulite, yoga body, bikini body, summer trends.

STOP. Trying to update my dictionary of my own self.

I have walked on a weighing scale and walked off, adjusted a bit, took off the extra piece of clothing hoping the needles would only turn a little more to left and the numbers would go down. One day, my dad joked why don’t you go to the moon, you’d weigh 1/6th of yourself and you could finally give up this morning battle. I hadn’t realized that the four walls of the bathroom had become my battleground.

STOP. Trying to make me into a martyr of a worthless cause. 

I laughed and walked outside to see the stars and bask in the moonlight. I whispered to myself, I am a woman. The voices of tabloids and young teen boys were so loud, that my own voice, only whispered now. It was hard, at first, to stop the voices entering my head, to change the way I looked at myself, to not gage my worth with few saucy headlines, it was difficult to start treating myself, more than just a shape, a number, a figure, to let go of the old habit of picking up the measuring tape, and writing the number down, looking at other women, and be envious of their physical form.

It took a while to treat myself, like someone with intellect and ideas and views, it took a while, to not be offended by the rolls in my tummy and the thick thighs I was gifted with. It took a while to embrace my body, so I could then look deep into my soul. It took a while.

And I still haven’t won, but I have managed to push the enemies a little further, and one day I would regain my kingdom, somedays it feels I already have, and then there are days when I still suck in the air when I look at myself, I still bend, halfway and come up. I pick up the measuring tape, I walk on the weighing scale. It’s on those days, when I tell myself, don’t do it, it’s not worth it, breathe out, walk off, let go.

You are a woman.

You are boundless.

Believe it.

new doc 2018-01-21 23.06.16_1

-Avni Vij

 

Coos

The dawn breaks
With your sound.
Ruffling of feathers.
You have made a home
Inside mine.
Invisible. I only hear
Your presence.
My house rings with
Your coos. A background score.
Outside, I witness your dance.
On the railing.
You read me. We are not friends.
You stay in your territory.
I stay in mine.
Your eyes follow my move.
I type away, hum in silence.
You pick up the twigs and gather bits.
I hear a call, sometimes,
I respond.
I know it’s not meant for me
But I talk to you now.
My house has become your refuge.
Your coos have become mine.
new doc 2018-01-16 15.58.05_2– Avni Vij

 

Off-limits

Jars, Boxes, Tins, Shelves, Drawers.
The meticulous placement served a purpose.
No nook or corner was left unused.
Nothing could be disturbed.

Laced with mixed smells.
Cinnamon, cardamom, clove
Frying onions. Batter rising. Ghee.
Familiar smells of childhood.

Once inside, the moves were choreographed.
A dance of knives, spatulas, spoons.
Cut, peel, chop, wash, drain.
Always ending with a pinch of salt.

Blend. Sizzle. Temper.
Crackling curry leaves.
Utensils clinking, rattling.
Never silent.

At the odd hours of the night.
Unguarded, you crept in like a cat
And cringed when the faithful shelves
Made noise.

Nothing was wasted.
Plastic, glass, bottles, tin foil.
Saved, used, reused and used again.
Keepsakes of the things once bought.

You didn’t just wander in
Without a permit.
You were a guest here. A visitor.
It only answered to ‘One’

-Avni Vij