May She Always Remain Mighty

May She Always Remain Mighty 15-05-2015

Photo taken 15-05-2015.


He said he wanted to swim. It was dark. He gave me his སྲུང་བ་ to hold as I wasn’t going in the water. I took it for him. He went in and swam with the others. With no pockets, I put his སྲུང་བ་ over my head and inside my shirt so as not to expose it to the elements.
After the swim we all retreat back inside and he asks for his སྲུང་བ་ back. I start to take it off my neck and proceed to give it back to him.
He stops, takes a second and gives me a strange look before reaching out for it.
I ask “what?”
“Girls aren’t allowed to wear it.”
“Why? That’s nonsense.”
“Its true. It takes away its power.”
Something comes over me. I am not processing. I am just doing.
My heart is racing and my face is warm. I am determined to look unapologetically into his eyes.
In a dramatic fashion, I start rubbing the སྲུང་བ་ all over my chest and put out my hand for him.
“དབྱ་” I say.
Taking it back, he looks at me and grins.

I remember being in the South
In the small city of Hubili, waiting for our gari to leave
The driver was out. 
Inside the parked jeep, Ani la and I waited
The rear-view mirror was garlanded with many protections.
With curiosity, I reached out to touch it.
“Don’t touch” Anila said. 
“You’ll taint the མཚོན་སྲུང་ with your womanhood 
-Render it powerless.”
Am I too powerful?” I ask her. 
I ask all of us. 
It must be because we are too powerful. 

She’s given flesh.
Given blood.
Given life.
If her blood is impure, 
then we are all stained.
Born covered
in her life
in her glory.

She is so smart, you know, she surpassed geshe status

her origins are of a fierce lineage of amalas, anilas and achalas. la la

cultivated by sheros,

risen out of the permafrost,

passing by all who dared to confront or delude

her. she. we.

learned the suffering we endure

are the moments we secure

our resilience.