The Invention of wings by Sue Monk Kidd
Yes, we Asian (born and breed in Asia) will never understand the plight/ struggle of the Black-White (racial) issue in the West. I don't say the concept of slave is totally alien with our culture, we do have that. I remember, my housemate in my uni years told me about her grandma's ulun (slaves). She's from KB, a Dusun like me. I was shocked to hear that. The closest i can give for a personal experience with this kind of relationship is with my Dad's Om(s) (Timorese helpers at our orchard). They're no slave.
I'd read some books on slave issue, To Kill a Mockingbird, Island Beneath the Sea etc. and watched some good movies like 12 years a Slave, Django unchained etc. But, i never live in a community struggling with this issue. I'm short in understanding the depth and severity of the matter.
So, i trotted on the read, getting to know Sarah Grimke and Handful Hetty. The 2 main characters in the story. Hetty was given to Sarah at her 11th birthday to be her waiting maid. Sarah's own slave. Slave has no rights whatsoever and follow the master's says to the dot. Sarah was born in an aristocrat and wealthy family in Charleston, South Carolina. She can be anything she wanted to be, except that she's a she, a woman. Both of them needs to find or at least invent wings, if they desire freedom.
This book explore that desire for freedom and the fights entailed, of slave and of women.
I distilled 4 main lesson i got from The Inventions of Wings.
1. DARE TO BE DIFFERENT
In a culture and community where uniformity and conformity is of utmost important, this could pose a challenge. You could be a threat to a long-known culture (in this story-the slave keeping practice). people usually stick to whatever they knew, rarely deviating from the comfort of their known environment. however, make sure that you chose to be different not for the sake of being different. Be different if that's the only way to rightly soar.
Sarah was different ever since she's kid. she refused to be given a maid. she aspired to be more than just a woman of her time. In her adult, she deviated from the usual life and chose a different path to live her life. Hetty, despite her limited choice in life, did the same in every-way she can.
The only way to convince people of your conviction/idea is to be consistent with it. Consistent is a very dynamic word. Never confuse it with stagnant/ static. People, will at times labeled you as stubborn, hard-headed fellow. Stay.
Sarah was consistent in her belief of abolishing slave. she did what she can, her whole life.
3. FIND A KINDRED SPIRIT
Don't despair. For every cause, there'll be a kind soul, a kindred spirit to yours. Find them. Hold onto them. Never let them go. They are your other wings people. Flock with them. Learn to fly on each other's strength.
Sarah got her in her younger sister, Angelina and the Quaker community. Hetty, in her friend Sarah.
4. CLEAR VISION
The saddest part in any endeavour is a hazy goal. Really, it doesn't matter how you're going to achieve what you wanted to do. Just get a clear vision of where you want to go/ ended up. Freedom is a goal. But, what kind of freedom you need? you can have wings and fly, but, if you cant see beyond the cage, whats the use?
Hetty's words to Sarah haunted me "My body might be a slave, but not my mind. For you, its the other way round".
Dont put shackle on your mind.
3rd book done! 6.5/10
3rd book done! 6.5/10