By Mohadesa Najumi
Dedicated to my mother.
They try to shrink you.
Convince you that all your rage is a product of your own deficiencies and not theirs.
They tell you to cover up. Sink in. Become invisible so they won’t have to come eye to eye with your iron.
Your flesh is criminalized.
Your hips weigh down on them as though every inch of you is a natural disaster looming.
They rather see you grow inwards.
They treat you as if you don’t deserve to take up space.
You want to tell them that your iron warrants just as much space as his steel.
But, his steel hasn’t been rusted by the violence of forced entry, molestation, or battering.
You try to convince enough people that you are whole and not in need of saving.
You are your own hero and have never needed rescuing.
You wonder how someone who turns into iron at the age of 9 could possibly need saving? You think: Aren’t I the hero of this story?
The truth is, you had to grow up faster than everyone around you.
You had no choice but to become iron in order to deal with the pain that has become your first cousin.
Your heart is a quilt woven with the yarn of resilience.
At times you conceal your iron in order to make others around you feel less threatened.
Intimidation inducer, they call you.
But, you have learned how to deal with indignation at an early age so you don’t understand how anyone could find you to be a discomfort.
Every sigh you release is from the tiredness of waging war against a world that is trying to silence you.
You have walked further than any nomad and fought battles that make mercenaries pale in the face.
The lines under your eyes tell stories that can go on for centuries.
Your hands are relics in the museum of anguish.
I want to crystalize you and scatter you across the plains of lovelessness in hopes that everyone will be filled with your glory.
I want to tell you that your breasts are not blasphemous and that your womb does for the earth what alchemy does for gold.
I want to show you how iron stands tall above everything around it.
Iron didn’t choose to be iron just as the ocean doesn’t choose to ripple.
Yet, everyone around you is trying to turn you into stone—trying to ebb you away.
You choose to solidify instead of crumble.
You choose to persevere instead of wither.
You chose to be iron over stone, and you have never looked back since.
Mohadesa Najumi is the TFW’s special College columnist. She is a writer, an aspiring political scientist and intersectional feminist. Her work has been featured in the Huffington Post, CounterPunch and GreenLeft Weekly. Her research interests include democratic theory, post-representative societies, political power and inclusion, intersectional feminism, women’s rights, existentialism philosophy, gender binaries, secularism, challenging the traditional, liberal paradigm, post-colonialism, development, Latin America, MENA, U.S foreign policy and global social, resistance and revolutionary movements. Mohadesa blogs regularly here and tweets at @mohadesareverie. Contact her on firstname.lastname@example.org.