March 4, 2013
Portrait of a Lady
International Women’s Day is celebrated on March 8 every year. I am not normally in favor of confining such occasions in a single day, but unlike other commercialized and annually observed absurdities, International Women’s Day has deeper and more meaningful objectives.
My literary friends in Cebu are celebrating the occasion with Phenomenal Woman: An Evening of Poetry, Music, and Dance, named after Maya Angelou’s phenomenal poem. I cannot join them in person as they pay tribute to Woman but am joining them in spirit by presenting this portrait of a lady. It is a collage of thoughts from my journals dating back to 2007. It is comforting to know that it is now 2013 and my view of Woman remains the same despite the many changes I have undergone in life. To quote Simone de Beauvoir, “One is not born a woman, one becomes one.” Although this is a far cry from Henry James’ thick novel, it is a humble depiction, not of my self, but of who I always aim, hope, and strive to be.
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She enters a scene discreetly and does not crave attention. Her make-up is a glow of intellect that dons her whole mien. She agrees that one can make all the fashion statements just by dressing up one’s mind. She does not swathe herself with any fancy title or lean on a professional suffix to gain respect because she bears her good name in a profession all her own.
Among the heart-throbs and head-turners, she would seem rather unembellished because she does not strut on a vain show, and yet she would often be the object of concealed fascination or subconscious admiration by those who know how to see, or by those who deserve to see her, profoundly. The enigmatic – but not beyond comprehension – language of her eyes and unpredictability of being evokes a nonsexual arousal that allures only the most observant mind and heart. Her smile is a remnant of childhood and her modest brows an oxymoron of serious wit. The hands she offers are diligently rough and a near stranger to commercial salves, but her touch is of flowing tenderness. Her scent trails are of knowledge and wisdom. She walks in strength, faith, and contentedness, trampling on confusion.
When it comes to squabbles, she realizes that one mark of a strong woman is in being aware of something that can hurt someone beyond repair but withholds it, and of being conscious of having the power to bring someone down but refrains from doing it.
She is no habromaniac with delusions of happiness but understands that it is alright not to be happy sometimes. She can draw inspiration from sorrow and understands that life can still be beautiful even with an occasional wounded heart.
She does not make man her sole obsession. She does not shame the very soul of womanhood by imposing her presence or beg and insist upon staying in a man’s life, knowing that in the end, it is more comforting to know that who she has in her life is the one who stayed not because he was merely sympathetic, or did not have a choice, or was begged or forced, but simply because he chose to. She knows that if one is truly loved, one does not have to console oneself publicly with the fact and will find no need to convince and prove others of a man’s devotion. She respects man but fathoms that he is not the answer to everything.
The sagacious love within her accomplishes her beauty and time cannot shrivel her spirit. She is my portrait of a lady, and she deserves to claim, “I am Woman”.
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“Favor is deceitful, and beauty is vain; but a woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised.” – Proverbs 31:30
Filed under Kape-Writed Articles from The Mindanao Observer