Grateful. Today and every day from this moment forward I am truly grateful for who I am. Although my life is far from perfect, today I banished all negative thoughts that my incessant mind conjures up about my body, my circumstance, my upbringing, my social status, my faults. Today I consider my self lucky. Fortunate to have been born into a western society where women have the freedom to choose. Choose who to love, choose who to marry, choose to be educated, choose to better ourselves, choose to be independent, choose to live a nurturing life. I cannot imagine the pain of being ripped from your family at age 13 to marry a man you have never met. Being thought of as a burden to your family just because you are female and your family is poor. Your parents cannot afford to feed you or send you to school. You are a commodity. An asset. A business transaction. Something to be discarded because you hold no value within your family. Better to be married off to an unscrupulous man who is willing to pay for an illegal, underaged bride. Married to a man who sees you as his possession, to do at will what he wants with you. Beat you, demean you, force you to have sex with him at any time of the day, and crush your dream of education and a better life.
Therefore today I am grateful. I am grateful that I live in a society where girls can go to school. I am grateful that I had, and continue to have, the opportunity to improve my life. I am grateful I can choose who I want to marry or not. I am grateful for the freedom to choose what to wear. I am grateful for the opportunity to be educated and attend university. I am grateful for my freedom. Every woman who lives in a free democratic society should be thankful every day for their personal freedom. Freedom that should not be squandered. Freedom that should be fought for. Freedom that should be cherished and never relinquished. Freedom that should never be taken for granted. We all have different circumstances, different life journeys, different experiences. But we all have choice. So next time you wish you had someone else life, someone else’s fabulously curated Instagram life or carefully scripted reality TV life, think about all the less fortunate girls and women around the world who have no access to education, equality and opportunity. Be grateful for your freedom. Strive to love who you are every single day. Strive to better yourself and your own life every day. Strive to make a positive difference to the world and those around you. Today I accept all my faults: warts and all. Today I am grateful. I am free.
*I was inspired to write this post after watching an SBS Dateline documentary called ‘Married at 13’ (http://www.sbs.com.au/news/dateline/story/married-13), and I am sharing this post with you on the 21st January 2017 in support of The Women’s March on Washington. Women’s rights are human rights.