I Refuse to be your Goddess, by Sarah Ather Kashmiri
One night they knocked, it was my crowning ceremony,
They came with a crown, a pedestal, flowers and a set of holy dictates,
They told me I was Sita, I was Maryam and I was Mother Teressa,
They explained in detail about the delicacies I was built of, I was the daisy, I was cotton and I was obedient.
They described how I was beautiful and I never asked questions.
The crowning ceremony smelled of roses plucked forcibly from the garden of freedom,
It glittered with the reflection of jewelry designed to wrap skin in perfection and control,
The glitter was so loud that they forgot I had a mind and a mouth,
They asked me to recite the joy of being a Goddess,
I greeted them with a smile and stood on the pedestal and I laughed,
I laughed with the sound of a thousand thunders,
I laughed till my hysteria penetrated their skin and their skin deep definitions of womanhood,
To their surprise, I refused to be their Goddess,
I refused to be their deity,
I refused to sit on the throne carved carefully with the screams and blood of women who fought for my right to even hold a book today with pride,
I told them I refuse to stand by your holy dictates of how my tongue should operate and what the angle of my thighs should be when I sit,
Please spare me, spare me the chance of being a human,
I dreamed of dancing under the night skies with moonlight gleaming on my shoulders while I laugh and the old paradigms that dictated when my vagina should be functional would quiver!
I dream of being fire and melting the chains you brought polished with gold,
I dream of unfolding into a fluid storm that dwells in the mysteries of the universe,
I dream of being a poet, a dancer, a lover, a mathematician, a fighter, an ever-changing flux with passion and curiosity,
I refuse to be your Goddess, spare me my freedom to sin,
Please give me a chance to recite my daily life like poetry, I bleed, I lust, I cry, I shake, I fight, I fall down and I get up.
My voice didn’t shake but some fingers did,
Some stood bewildered,
And in all their goodwill advised me,
They told me, ‘Dear, you have ovaries and breasts and arrogance, they never go together’
I greeted them with a smile and I gave them an offer,
I gave them the crown they brought and asked them to wear it on their thick thoughts,
I promised them I will worship them if they dressed how I asked them to,
And there was silence,
The ceremony became a funeral,
A funeral of an age old thought.
– Sarah Ather Kashmiri.