Woman In Chains

Thesna Aston
3 min readFeb 29, 2024

“It’s a world gone crazy, keeps a woman in chains.” sung by Tears for Fears.

Photo by Kaley Dykstra on Unsplash

I was born imprisoned. The chains placed around me since birth are heavy, designed to weigh me down.

You can’t see it, but it’s there. It’s always been there.

Most times, I have the energy to fight and demand my freedom, to scream that I deserve to live as carefree as others, but as I get older and my youth slowly dissipates, those times become less as the chains remain, cutting into my psyche. Sometimes, they drag my feet through the muddy waters of life until, breathless, clinging to hope, and looking for respite, I stop and rest until I regain the strength to continue the fight.

I didn’t know how not to fight because there was no other choice.

My freedom was restricted when, as a young child, the chains were a system called Apartheid- forced to live in a poverty-stricken hovel because of the color of my skin, unable to move about as white children did. At seven years old, I learned to memorize and understand “Right of Admission Reserved” and “Europeans Only” before entering unknown places.

As a teen, the chains became tighter when told how to dress because men had eyes that filled with lust when parts of my body were not covered. Not that clothing, however conservative, stopped the abuse from happening. I was known as “mouthy, cheeky, or rude” when I struggled against the chains and my defiance to be a “lady.”

I entered a male-dominated world in business, and the chains imperceptibly tightened. They mocked my audacity to enter their spaces and accused me of sleeping my way to the top or being an affirmative action appointee. It was exhausting, but I persevered, winning my right to be there.

It’s hard to survive or flourish in a world that places the burden of love and humanity on a woman. It’s even harder when you are Black and brown.

The expectation of being a woman is:

Age gracefully and speak with soft tones.

Birth children and bounced back to her former self.

Be a supportive partner while trying to find her niche.

Ignore racism, sexism and microaggressions.

No profanity because it’s unbecoming.

The list continues.

We live in a greedy, violent society plagued by wars, crime, and brutality, but the weight of the chains means ignoring it and forging a way forward.

I learned to take those chains and wear them like an accessory whilst slowly carving a life where freedom and happiness are important. I teach others not to place the burden of restriction on their girl child.

While Patriarchy attempts to move us into a bygone era, I see changes in the future generation’s confidence, feistiness, and unwillingness to wear the chains of the past. I am grateful to have been a part of that change in counselling and coaching children who reject labels and are unapologetically outspoken in their desire to be themselves.



Thesna Aston

Writer-The complexities of life are simplified through my Writing. Wellness Coach, Human Rights Activist. Grateful for my life and family. Writing is healing