See that Superwoman up there, in all her ebony might and strength?
That's not really how I view myself, but it is how I view who I want to be. I want to be the badass superhero who steps in, saves the day, and kicks infertility's ass into shameful submission.
"Kicking infertility's ass for myself and others since 1998."
Ha. Ha-ha. HA-motherflippin-sarcastic-HA-HA!
It seems as though lately, I've been the kickee rather than the kicker.
When I'm feeling small and defeated and insignificant (like now), I imagine myself with that fierce expression and flexed muscles, the crimson cape flowing down my back. I even have a theme song. Madonna's "4 Minutes" (featuring Justin the Timberlake, who consequently activates Chance's gag reflex) makes me want to go out and smack some villain ass in tempo to a funky groove. Someone blasted that song on repeat all the way to work this morning, but I swear it wasn't me.
I digress…what I really want to draw your attention to is Superwoman's tattoo.
It is a West African Adinkra symbol which means dwennimen or "ram's horns." According to the Adinkra Symbol Index, the full explanation is thus:
symbol of humility together with strength
The ram will fight fiercely against an adversary, but it also submits
humbly to slaughter, emphasizing that even the strong need to be
Hmm. I am humble. I think I am strong. Given that my current arch enemy is the Infertilibeast, I can't ever see myself submitting humbly in the face of slaughter by infertility. Maybe the humility comes from being able to admit that you just got your ass spanked, to be able to lay down and know when it's no longer worth it to take the Dylan Thomas approach of raging against the dying light. Is true acceptance the ability to let go gently? Somehow I think that for most of us, that level of "humility" is the equivalent of nirvana; we all strive to get there, but the journey is long and rough and many of us will never actually achieve it. I feel like I will always scratch and rage in one way or another, and if that excludes me from being humble, then so be it.
I think I like the definition of dwennimmen on this website better:
of strength (in mind, body and soul),
humility, wisdom and learning
It is a more modern translation, with just enough of a nuance that it feels like it fits me better. My mom has a tattoo of the dwennimmen symbol, and I think it is fitting and appropriate for her. She's one hell of a kick ass and take names kind of woman.
Mommy Lady and my sisters are addicted to tattoos. I think they each have more than ten now, with most of them being African symbols. Chanel and Dani each have Adinkra symbols which represent them also, and all three of them have been after me to choose a symbol and also have it permanently-inked-into-my-skin-by-the-jabbing-of-a-thousand-painful-burning-pokes (read, I'm too chicken shit to do it). Mom eventually wants to get tattoos of a "family" symbol with the symbols representing me, Chanel, and Dani surrounding it.
The symbol that actually feels like it fits me best is
Because of its thorns, the raffia tree is a very dangerous challenge
to the snake. His ability to climb it is a model of persistence
Traditional meaning: persistence and prudence
Modern meaning: used as a symbol for performing the unusual or the impossible
This road might be thorny and I might get pricked along the way, and I might be moving in a direction that would otherwise go against my natural instinct, but I'll be damned if I let the challenges I face keep me from striving to keep moving in that upward direction.
Here is the Adinkra Symbol Index and another list of Adinkra Symbols. The former link is a bit easier to navigate and has the more traditional translations and explanations behind the symboles. The latter has the more modern definitions.
Which symbol most appeals to you, either for who you are or who you are striving to be? Share here in the comments or if you feel so inclined, write a post on your blog and leave the link here.