Gayathri Krishna S, Thiruvanathapuram, Kerala
Looking back on our younger selves, most of us would realise those days were the happiest times of our life. Sure, we were stupid and loud, selfish and high maintanance but we didn’t know that back then. We were perfect in our eyes. You might all remember those days when all your aunts, uncles and cousins would gather around and ask us to sing or dance. And we didn’t think, not for a second. We were so excited and proud of ourselves that we could sing or dance the whole day away. We would raise our voice and fight if we didn’t get that extra piece of chocolate that our cousin (same age) got. We would put all our energy into getting a toy that we want the most. In short, we knew what we wanted and if we didn’t get our due share, we would fight like our whole life depended on it. We were the centre of attention, mostly because we were cute back then but also because we would express our opinion on everything even if we did’nt know a thing about it. ‘Did you pay the housing loan’ Mom would ask Dad and then I would very bravely reply for my Dad ‘Amma…..@$%^&%$ (gibberish)..’ Even I don’t remember all the rubbish I used to say. [if you ask me about housing loans, I would still say rubbish things]. We were kings and queens of our own island of imagination. One day I’m the clever Jerry troubling the poor Tom, and next day I’m the nerdy and intelligent Velma in Scooby doo then the day after that I’m Barbie the island princess. We were free of worry and tension. But most importantly, we were confident and proud of ourselves. Sure you could argue why we were so. It’s merely because of our lack of knowledge. It’s true mostly. But I would say our knowledge mostly coincides with the societal notions and expectations. So what we consider as knowledge might simply be what our society has taught us to be right. As we grew, a slow but really tremendous change started taking place,. . A new emotion started developing in our minds. This has changed and moulded us into who we are right now. Today, if we spend hours looking in the mirror wishing we were thinner, fairer and more beautiful, if we spend our time wishing we could speak like her or sing like him or make friends like them, this emotion has taken hold of us. INSECURITY. This emotion or rather if I put it better; a curse emerged in our confident bold mind when someone for the first time told you, ‘You should lose weight’. The mirror which till now reflected your smiling face back to you for the first time would reflect a sad worrying face. you would tell yourself ‘Why didn’t I realise till now, I’m fat!’ And you get trapped in this never ending spiral of insecurities. Each day you would realise your so called ‘flaws’ or others would remind them about it. No one would then tell you about how adorable your smile is or how cute your dimple is because all of them and yourselves included get focussed on the so called negatives. You would think it over a 100 times before speaking your mind. You would stop yourselves from speaking even if an unjust thing has happened to you because ‘what will they think?’ You would refrain yourself from dancing because ‘what if I might dance awkwardly?’ You would refrain from singing because ‘what if my voice might break?’ The girl who played cricket till 4th standard with boys suddenly gets told you can’t cause you’re weak. She doesn’t believe it initially but when the whole world tell us we can’t, we internalise it. I’m sure you’re all familiar with the story of how a man bought a cow from the market and a couple of thieves wanted it for themselves. One by one went up to him and said ‘where are you going with this dog?’ he corrected them by saying it was a cow. But when the fifth man asked him the same question, he became convinced it was a dog. As he couldn’t go back to the market which was so far away now, he left the cow and went home alone. The thieves got what they wanted. I believe the same is happening to us. They’re telling us we have a dog when we actually have a cow which is a utilitarian animal. The truth is we are more of what has been told we are than what we really are. Most of our thoughts and actions are what has been socially constructed.
Whenever I think of my child hood, I have only happy memories. There isn’t one sad memory I can think of. I wish to be confident, brave and outspoken like I was back then leaving out the selfish and stupid self. We all wish to have that stress free and carefree life. But as J K Rowling said ‘It is impossible to live without failing at something unless you live so cautiously you might not have lived at all in which case you fail by default’. So life will provide us with set backs. What we can all hope and thrive to have is the confidence, valor and ability to speak what ought to be spoken and do what ought to be done without any inhibitions. Remember those insecurities and so called flaws are not yours, they’re others perceptions. You are perfect if you believe you really are. So a word of advise to all ladies out there, end this long term relationship with insecurity, breakup with him and free yourself. Here is a song by gnash called ‘dear insecurity’. You should definitely check this out.
Its time I make you take your hands off me
Set me free, I’m gonna let you see
I’m proud of who I am
Just the way I am