Saturday, July 23, 2005

The victim complex

Some days you look back at everything you’ve been through and you feel this deep, humming happiness. You’ve survived it all to think about it today – without crashing apart afresh.

We weather so many rough patches – there are some days that are just sheer murder on your spirit… but you know that if you survive that, you will survive anything, and that wave carries you through triumphantly.

So you were knocked down, so you were traumatised, so you were shattered… so what? You dusted yourself off and walked on. Tougher and stronger than before. (When we can be such supremely strong beings, how can we ever have a phrase in our language like “im only human”…. It should be “im human”! It should be a proud statement of fact, not a grovelling excuse for weakness. )

We had gone to the beach recently and were watching the full moon glinting off the sea as we talked. She has always maintained this stance on the victim complex, which has intrigued me. This woman always maintains that the victim complex is deeply embedded in our conditioning. We most of us scream with pain and rage, of old scars, wear our tortures with a gruesome virtuous pride… but very few of us stand up tall after being knocked down to say “to hell with you. You think that’s going to keep me down?”. So few do not seek help or concession because we automatically assume the victims role.

Doesn’t that ring really true? Especially where we women are concerned, we are repeatedly told it is the end of the world if were raped, abused, tortured or beaten. We seldom hear the stories of women who have been through all that and are still striding on with their head held high. We just don’t hear enough about indomitable spirits that cannot be slapped down or punctured by a penis.

As much as it is important for women who have suffered to speak of their pain, I think its equally, if not more vital, that women who have sailed through speak of how they have healed. I had not thought it to be so earlier – I wondered what comfort one could possibly draw from hearing about more pain. What I realised is that the spirit after the pain is what makes the difference.

Rather than hear about how yet another person has been living on the scraps of sympathy she pleads for from society, when in despair I would hear about a woman like Maya Angelou, Germaine Greer, Andrea Dworkin, or one of the wonderful women I know, and feel reassured that there are such tremendous reserves of strength that it is possible to summon up!

This is a poem ill come back to for the rest of my life....

"Still I Rise"
You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I'll rise.

Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
'Cause I walk like I've got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.

Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I'll rise.

Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops.
Weakened by my soulful cries.

Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don't you take it awful hard'
Cause I laugh like I've got gold mines
Diggin' in my own back yard.

You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I'll rise.

Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I've got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?

Out of the huts of history's shame
I rise
Up from a past that's rooted in pain
I rise
I'm a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.
Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
I rise
Into a daybreak that's wondrously clear
I rise
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
I rise
I rise
I rise.

- Maya Angelou.

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22 Comments:

Blogger wooaaooww said...

aah! :)

9:07 am  
Blogger Senthil said...

(a) Love the new look. You did something to your hair? ;)
Especially like the way too quiet -> 1 squeak -> n blah thingie.
(b) Like the first stanza of the poem. Bit dramatic, that... but nice. And yes, the phoneix is exactly how one ahould try to be.

2:32 pm  
Blogger Senthil said...

Sorry, p-h-o-e-n-i-x. Fingers slightly numbed by the rain...

2:33 pm  
Blogger Aditya Bidikar said...

Excellent post. Love the poem.

I like the new look too, but the main font is a bit too small. The sidebar size is more readable.

3:47 am  
Blogger m. said...

@ wooaaooww: :)

@senthil: lol, how dyou guess! how nice :i was hoping someone would notice the smart ass comments! :d maya angelou was raped as a child, and stopped speaking due to the trauma. years later she started writing poetry and recovered her voice (and spirit!)...

@ aditya: thanks. oh sorry - i forgot to make the font bigger : did it now :)

4:31 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice one kid!! a point that ppl tend to overlook and forget abt once the news loses its sensationalism..

11:00 am  
Blogger KoPoS said...

great poem. btw, i really liked the earthy template :(

7:09 am  
Blogger M (tread softly upon) said...

Chance visit to ur blog esp since the name appealed :))
Loved it, really. My aunt who is a survivor of Life used to say "every rough patch I have been through has added another muscle to my emotional constitution". I applaud the women who've been through it all and emerged stronger.

2:36 pm  
Blogger krishna canchi said...

oh...one more "m"...hope there isnt a third:)
uve changed to a new template again! this one looks plain and simple..but a smaller font(prolly the next smaller size) wud be better

3:47 am  
Blogger m. said...

@ "anon" : thanksh :D

@ poorna shashank: thanks... sigh. dont ask about the template. tis the woeful story of my life!

@ M: lol.. such good taste i tell you! ;) ah yes. well said!

@ kp: muhahaha, we shall take over the earth one day! this one is called the moody blues for obvious reasons ... ive had it with comps and techie stuff! *sulk* :d

9:03 pm  
Blogger Aditya Bidikar said...

Forgot to thank you for the other poem you sent. Thanks. This look is nice - simple, to the point. The other one was also rather good, though.

12:51 pm  
Blogger Aditya Bidikar said...

PS: If you've got problems with the template, I'll gladly edit it for you. I know a bit of HTML (and CSS), and I've got time.

12:54 pm  
Blogger Rohan Kumar said...

Absolutely brilliantly worded and joyfully full on hope.

8:57 pm  
Blogger m. said...

@aditya: wow! thanks a lot for the generous offer! id be most grateful if you could suggest some books that i could read and learn web designing from though, so i can do my donkey work myself :) for now, the moody blues feel is apt so im letting it be! what did you think of the other angelou? :)

@rohan kumar: hi. yes it is, isnt it! i love that poem :D

10:59 pm  
Blogger krishna canchi said...

The poem is a master-piece. Its worth framing and keeping on one's table...as an energizer when the chips are down..

9:56 am  
Blogger sensiblystoned said...

lol. The Template - the never ending saga!!!!!! rofl.

10:50 am  
Blogger Aditya Bidikar said...

The other poem's pretty good, but not as good as 'Still I Rise'. But I loved the last stanza of 'Phenomenal Woman'. And the refrain. :)

I learnt what designing I know from downloading as many templates as I could and then looking at their sources, but I guess you could get tutorials on the net, from any search engine. They've got a lot of free ones up there. I'll ask around for recommendations for books.

1:04 pm  
Blogger ~phobiac~ said...

hey..another good one...Madam.M ...u gettin better by the day...or shud I say post ?!!

10:44 pm  
Blogger kaaju katli said...

superb post!

3:32 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

ur an ass..completely useless...:D

5:26 am  
Blogger m. said...

@ krishna : :)

@ ss: story of my life!

@ aditya: oh ok.. sall look around. danke!

@ phobiac : thanks very much... but hey! now i know what you think of my first posts! ;) LOL

@ kaaju katli: thanks

8:16 am  
Blogger m. said...

@anon: patti! youre talking?! and btw... no chocolate cake for you :D

9:58 am  

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