International Women’s Day 2013: Swallow A World


This quote was found by Rachel, aka Mrs Joan Hunter Dunn, who creates the beautiful blog Flowers and Stripes.  There is little that I can say other than this captures both what it is to be a woman whilst recognising that such a thing is impossible.  There is magic, here, an understanding of how we are ultimately connected, but all, in essence, unique:    


‘…I no longer want to be anything except what who I am. Who what am I? My answer: I am the sum total of everything that went before me, of all I have been seen done, of everything done-to-me. I am everyone everything whose being-in-the-world affected was affected by mine. I am anything that happens after I’ve gone which would not have happened if I had not come. Nor am I particularly exceptional in this matter; each ‘I’, every one of the now-six-hundred-million-plus of us, contains a similar multitude. I repeat for the last time: to understand me, you’ll have to swallow a world.’

Salman Rushdie, Midnight’s Children

Categories: International Women's Day
9 interesting thoughts on this


  1. Posted March 8, 2013 at 7:23 am | Permalink

    Oh, I love this! I love coincidence and little facts you find out, for instance after we have George his name we discovered various George’s had been in the family previously but neither of us had known that.

    *bursts into song* (the circle of life from the Lion King)

    • Posted March 8, 2013 at 8:01 am | Permalink

      *joins in with the harmonies*

  2. Elsie
    Posted March 8, 2013 at 7:49 am | Permalink

    This is perfect. On first reading I’ve interpreted it one way -I am the sum total of everything that went before me – to me this refers to family and the likes, then re-read it and started thinking rather than just going with my initial reaction and started thinking about ALL that has gone before us, all that has occurred that in some way has influenced each & every one of us, and how we are influencing what the future is for other people, how important that is and that we are able to help make changes.
    This is waffle. I know what I’m trying to say but I’ve got that can’t get words in order and typing and thoughts and jumble thing going on from too much IWD excitement. And a little bit of Circle of Life going round in my head thanks to Anna!

  3. Posted March 8, 2013 at 7:51 am | Permalink

    I agree: perfect. I love the feeling of interconnectedness, none of us exist alone in a vacuum.

    K x

  4. Posted March 8, 2013 at 8:05 am | Permalink

    This is perfect! I love Rachel’s quotes, she knows all the best ones!!

  5. Posted March 8, 2013 at 8:21 am | Permalink

    This is beautiful. Like Katie, I love the reminder that we are all connected and that we are all important.

  6. Posted March 8, 2013 at 9:07 am | Permalink

    What an amazing quote, from an equally fantastic book. It’s been years since I read it but it touched me at deeply at the time. Thank you Rachel x

  7. Posted March 8, 2013 at 9:17 am | Permalink

    What a mind-blowing and brilliant quote! Happy IWD everyone :)

  8. Zan
    Posted March 8, 2013 at 10:04 am | Permalink

    Great quote from a great book :)

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Hello! We're Clare, Aisling and Anna and welcome to a corner of the world where smart, flawed, real women talk about the bigger picture; about their experiences, stories and opinions on all aspects of being a woman today, from marriage to feminism to pretty, too.

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