EMERGING FEMINISMS, Imposter to Entitlement – The Feminist Wire

EMERGING FEMINISMS, Imposter to Entitlement

By Diksha Bijlani

hey, my mother pulled off a solo
raising two kids from the ground up
her son a little too much like his father
their sunsigns alike saying:
“what’s that attitude bitch.”

some nights her knee cap
more blade than limb, her dignity
inverse to the cohesiveness
of my family, my mother
weathered a lifetime
resurrecting a house from
the bottom-up, stretch marks
and screws in all the right places,
but I have spent twenty years of existence
never to see her point at a vase and say,
“well, there’s something I set pretty.”

and hey, my father sleeps at the root section
of a wedlock gone unhappy, wears
male ego to work at 10:00 a.m. every morning
his chin clean-shaved and suspended
on a prick of self-glorification, his
bridges burned uptil the
brim of his imaginary success,
every family member recites his
anecdotal struggle secondhand to their
next of kin, and I could swear some nights
he still writes in his dear diary:
“i am entitled, to so much more.”

i have read my life from between
the lines on my palms,
each day a little more,
to know that women are poor
at gift-wrapping their heads
around themselves, wearing
every agitation of muscle
as a Gryffindor prefect badge,
but they’re perfect at
fractional multiplication of their wholes,
yielding products always smaller
than themselves, enough to
camouflage Credit from their
clean-slate skins lest someone find out
they’re really worth something; hey-
have you ever been woman enough to be
so scared of the imposter inside of you?

or have you counted effort by the sandglass,
told your man self you were worth greater than
the sum of your man parts telling you you’re more,
you’re in this for more,
you’re everyone of these blue collar men
holding their suicide guns
180 degrees inside-out
their mediocrity mutually exclusive to
what they deserve,
what they think they deserve,
their Jack Sparrow compasses
pointing to every out-of-bounds signboard,
their threshold for rejection lower than their
bank balance on most days, their little heads
enough to wrap them whole, hey,
does entitlement bind you to the Universe-
or the Universe to you?

because this world has grown up on women
who make reverse attributions of achievement,
think their snuggly derisive skins
are impossible to grow out of,
think men are unsurpassable,
their glass ceilings lower than their
heads held high, women who are
conditioned second fiddles as history tells it
their success always too much,
too bigger than before,
big enough to make them feel
less little of their own selves
but never bigger than these men
watching the world from peaks,
so they give themselves closure
with maternity, or leave their skin out
to dry while they let all the other
women catch up in this all-feminine
race where women beat women,
take their fear of whiplash, dip them
in crevices of imposter syndrome
and call it patriarchy.

this world has never been a better place
for these men, these men who sleep
half-drained and wake up with twice the
gratification, their fight always renewing itself,
making up its own levels of achievement
unlocked, sometimes collecting the keys from
mail boxes of women who shut their doors
too soon, even when the postman called twice.

god knows where they get their conviction,
to internalize entitlement like a syndrome,
drink it every morning in their glass mugs;
does it feed off the ambitions of jaded women
who will never know they could win,
if only they tried?
for her hands were rough that night,
his a light shade of pink,
nobody sang tales of workplace at home,
so they assumed she collected the meat loaf
and he paid for it.

 Diksha Bijlani is a writer and spoken word poet from India. She is the winner of the first National Youth Poetry Slam ever held in India in 2016 and will be representing her country at the 2017 International Slam Stage in Chicago. Her prose and poetry have been published in Berlin Artparasites magazine and Thought Catalog. She writes on a range of perspectives on feminism and the life of a woman.