June 07, 2012

The Self-Image

(written after an obnoxious lady told some cruelly careless words about my appearance in the most casual fashion, within my earshot, to my mother, in a function, and I wanted to be cruel and mean to her and dig her eyeballs and pickle them in little earthen jars. But all I did was shut up and boil inside and feel pitiably vulnerable-till date- and leave the function soon!)

It is quite a pity that we as humans really depend on so many people to build our opinions and image about ourselves. How much ever we don't care about society at large for our actions, we do care about their opinions on certain things- our vulnerabilities.

When we already have certain insecurities regarding traits of our personality, or more commonly, about the way we look, all of a sudden every Kamakshi, Meenakshi and Visalaakshi's opinions attain prime focus.

Especially, what you hear about yourself, as a kid, really somehow never leaves you. Having been brought up as the 'brains' of the family, I never had a great opinion about the way I looked. And it took three years of acceptance in NID to finally feel good about the way I look. Casual comments and snide remarks, however, still shake me silly.

What is the cure to such issues of one's self-image? Acceptance, is one thing we all search for in our lives.  In our families, within our circles of friends, in our romantic partners, husbands, wives, children, and so on. At every turn and phase, we need some kind of pillar or one person who would stand by no matter how large our noses are or how small and crinkly our eyes are.

As kids, more or less every one has this acceptance in family. Which is probably why childhood forms the best part of everyone's lives. We delight in the very existence of every kid, celebrate their every move and basically give them superstar status, except the occasional moments of strict disciplinary action. Even after reprimanding a child, most sane parents convey the motive for scolding and make peace with the kid. And hence restore the rosy perfectly loved world of a child.

When we grow up, however, checkboxes come into play in every walk of our lives. People require you to be a certain way, respond thus, refrain from talking to their 'enemies' and so on- making it difficult for us to ever dissociate from expectations and disappointments. Our self-image becomes deeply connected with peer viewpoints.

This remains pretty much the state for a really long time. Although I am a person who does her own thing based on her own logic and conviction, and rarely does things to please society just for "playing safe" or "being conventional", I would be lying if I say I don't get affected by snide careless remarks that people make about me, around me. Their words remain with me for long and do affect me, mostly if it concerns the way I look, and I am not sure if a day would come where I'd base my self-image merely on my own opinions than get affected by what the world has to say.

How much our vulnerabilities weigh us down! How much we let our weak points put setbacks into our lives?

I wish there would be a day when I can completely accept the truth- your body is merely a vessel and what kind of a person you are, is what matters. I have only made partial peace with it still.


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Maira Gall