She confuses me…
Here I am mother, wife, woman.
She fascinates me…
Here I am activist, feminist, independent, lawyer.
She beguiles me…
Here i am free spirited, liberated, unchained.
She intimidates me….
There she is …
The daughter of the King of Samangan, beautiful, wise, young, passionate ambitious…
She claws her way through the pages of mythology, …
into my reality,
into my life,
into my head.
She is powerful! She is formidable!! She is commanding!!
She roars like the Lions...
She thunders like the ferocious skies ...
and then, she cries, and she whimpers. She sobs and she falls apart like chalk…
She grabs me by shoulders, she shakes me to my core, she questions my foundations, my beliefs, my reality.
Tahmineh has crossed the incredibly vast repository of Ferdowsi’s mind into the timeless pages of mythology, AND unto history…
only to penetrate my soul,
to infiltrate my being and
to stand by my road,
by my path,
on this part of my JOURNEY.
Tahmineh has name, she has fame. She has fortune.
She is the daughter of the king.
She needs nothing.
She is all want… all desire… and all passion.
She is brave and courageous.
She professes her love to Rostam. She tells him she has loved him from far away, through the legends that have made Rostam the Pahlavan that he is…
But is that LOVE? How can you love a man you’ve never seen?
Or is that lust?
Or is it desire?
Does our soul recognize our soul mate before we are aware of his presence? Or did she lust him for the warrior and incredible specimen of DNA that he was?
Or was it desire? The desire to conquer the infallible warrior on territory where only a woman can win?
Why does Rostam show up in Samangan in the first place and manage to lose his horse? Did Rostam call unto Tahmineh? Did Tahmineh call unto ROstam?
Is it fate?
Is it destiny?
Is it free will?
Did she create her own reality by choosing to act on her desires? Or were Rostam and Tahmineh pawns in a chess game divined by fate? Tahmineh plunges me deep in the embrace of Molana…..
Tahmineh walk into his chambers… She makes it clear that she understands that the union, even though sanctified, is a short lived one. She wants the union to produce a Child.
and I ask my self… would I not do the same were I not placed in her position, in her shoes, face to face with one of the most formidable and desired men of my time? Would I not make the same choices, having had all that I’d need: Name, fame and fortune?
Would I not have laid besides the strongest, bravest and most courageous of warriors, knowing that the union may produce the perfect child?
I admit: I love the fact that she chooses to walk into HIS chambers, smelling of musk and much like the Lion in search of Prey, She walks in, intent on the hunt… filled with desire, fueled by passion, driven by the knowledge that Rostam, the undefeatable, will not be able to resist her beauty & intelligence, she hones in on the KILL.
Who amongst us, would not have done the same?
Tahmineh’s choice plunges me inside Plato’s discourse on Theories of Desire…
Does all my education, knowledge, wisdom, life experience, cries of liberation, feminism and independence suddenly give way to my need to become a mother, a creator, a goddess? Am I striving for immortality by wanting a child or am I being benevolent GOD by bringing a life into this world??
Tahmineh makes me question the fundamental issue of what it is to be a creator. She makes me question God and religion.
Why does she not tell Rostam that the child was a boy? Did she withhold the truth and thus betray Rostam? Does Rostam have any legitimate standing to inquire and demand the truth? Did he not forfeit his right to know when he chose to leave? What is Free Will? If she chose to lay by his side, and beget his child, did he not make the same choice? Did he not chose as well to lay with her, and give her that which she wanted the most? Was he not thus, responsible to inquire, to raise and to parent the child?
Tahmineh makes me question what it means to be a parent.
Why did it matter the child was a boy and not a girl… Why do we accept it as betrayal to not advise the father he’s had a son… But it’s not treason for the father to be absent from the child’s life, if she happens to be a girl??
Tahmineh raises issues of gender discrimination and misogyny.
Who does the child belong to? Whose reality is dominant? What is the truth? Tahmineh’s reality of wanting a child to make her the Queen is not the truth of Sohrab’s existence as Rostam’s child.
Sohrab’s truth has no meaning within the context of her intentions. Does she free Sohrab like the arrow from the Bow to live out his life … or was it Sohrab’s right to own his own reality by gaining knowledge of his lineage. Does she taint his truth in her ambition to become Queen?
Tahmineh channels Machiavelli’s notions that the ends justify the means.
Does it matter what our intentions are regardless of the end results?
Are we culpable for that which we set in motion but we do not will? ?
Is there a greater responsibility for intending things that are beyond our control?
What is the difference between intent, deliberation and rationalization..
Tahmineh slams me against the walls of legal jurisprudence.
How sweet it is to be free! … How thrilling it is to have free will… How refreshing it is to own oneself, one’s womanhood… How so very empowering to have the will, the knowledge, the desire and the power to want something, strive for it, obtain it and achieve it and savor the spoils of war…
But was she? Was she really free? Did she really own herself? Was she really empowered? Or was Tahmineh in need of child to become Queen, in need of man, to become a mother, in need of her father the King, to have the luxury of comfort in life and thus the ability to chose her prey?
When she is told of Sohrab, her son’s death, at the hands of Rostam, her lover… Tahmineh laments:
To whom shall I clasp upon my bosom now?
Who is there that will rid me of my grief?
Whom shall I call upon to take thy place?
To whom impart my pain and misery?
Tahmineh’s response… in looking outside of her self, looking for someone to “rid her of her grief” … or someone to whom to impart her pain and misery to… or someone to clasp upon her bosom… destroys me…
Is Tahmineh really a woman of free will, or is she, the quintessential victim of sexism who has to use manipulation to gain station in life?
I have to admit... it is quite an honor, perhaps one of the pinnacles of my life, to stand in front of hundreds, at the Palace of Fine Arts, on the International Celebration of Women's Day and speak among artists...And i am but a speck of dust in the Universe...But the whole of Universe reverberates tonight, within my existence... And surely, i know, the Universe, as i know it, would not be the same without me.
I want to say that i am humbled! i am not. i am not that important to be humbled. BUT I am proud... i am giddy... i am ecstatic, i am filled with joy to be a woman, an independent thinker, a rebel rouser, a revolutionary, and a skeptic.
I am thankful to all the Women who came before me... who suffered and triumphed ahead of me... who forged the way, who paved the road and who illuminated the road, so that i could become who i have.
None of us is alone… none of us wins alone, none of us suffers alone, none of us laughs alone.
We are sisters thru and true. We are mothers, we are lovers, we are wives, we are daughters, we are thinkers, believers, movers, shakers, creators….
We are god’s finest work, most precious work and most complex creation.
We have thousands of layers, hundred of moods, and dozens of facets
We are evanescent, and yet eternal
We are mercurial and yet consistent
We are passionate and yet logical
We are infallible yet fragile…
March 8, 2013
in Celebration of the International Women's Day
in collaboration with
[i'd love to hear your opinion. please let me hear YOUR voice]