I am really bad at drawing and has always been. Even making an apple was a struggle and then coloring it was a whole lot of tragedy. In school, when we were told to draw ‘something of your own choice’, it always used to be a “Scenery” (maybe that’s why I was never a nature lover, coz the kind of scenery I drew never made me like nature). The same mountains, V-shaped birds in the blue sky, weird sun exactly between the two mountains, river, hut and tree. That was drawing for me and my mother was well aware of my artistic skills!
But she still always encouraged me to participate in all the drawing contests. I thought she loved the ‘Participation Certificates’, or else why would she take me to places for these contests? However, sometimes I used to get some free crayons, the other times, a free food packet. So I was always happy and playing with colors of course is disliked by none. Therefore I decided that it was a nice place to be in, and I played along.
In school too, I participated in every event that I knew of- race, elocution, speech, drama, throwball, etc. And even when I did not get a prize,I was still celebrated as if I stood 1st. I have seen people crying when they came 2nd or 3rd for the loss of the first position they aimed for. But I was always seen smiling and rejoicing even when I failed (which actually no one at home considered failure though).
The whole theory behind this weird behaviour pattern was that my mother believed that “Participation is Victory”. She said:
“You’ll only win/ fail when you participate.
You’ll only know that you’re good at something or not after giving it a chance.
You might just win something or be pro at something but if you don’t enjoy it, it won’t bring you joy.
You might lose something or be really bad at that thing,but if it brings you immense happiness, it’s worth giving a couple of more shots.
And you discover happiness only when you participate, not to win, but to discover and know your strengths.”
So for them, “I never failed- I participated!”
Without intentionally saying it out loud, just taking me to these competitions and celebrating my participations (and not my wins) she said it all.
In the age where there was no “Taare Zameen Pe“, having the spirit of participation & rejoicing it for the courage to face failures is real FEMINISM!