While I take another sip of mojito, sitting all alone in this settling cafe, away from the hustles of the city, with my diary that I mostly always carry with me at all times, I finally get the time and required space to narrate a story, that I have really never talked about. I call it a story, because like any other, it has characters, a plot ,though not intentionally built, and a lesson, a very important lesson. As somebody wisely said, that you gain experiences in two ways, first, from your own experiences and second, from the experience of others. It is now up to you, you can choose to continue reading or let it go..
This story started long back when I was a little girl. With all “beautiful” and “intelligent” folks around me, I would often feel that I am not good enough. Not “beautiful” enough, because I was conditioned that beauty for a girl is in fair skin, in narrow waist and in “nazaakat”. I did fairly okayish in studies, and was believed to be an average student, because my peers were probably smarter, and my close ones had already set a benchmark of scoring high always. I was expected to at least be at par with, if not better than them. I wasn’t good at sports, because I was never keen about it. I wasn’t good at cultural events. However, as a matter of fact, I had taken classical music lessons for four years, and that was because my sister had a god-gifted voice and she was being further trained in the same and as a younger sibling it was expected that I too should follow her pug-marks. I knew I made a terrible singer. And, similarly, the discipline and passion required for dancing was something I always lacked in. It was just not my cup of tea.
I was shy, and would rather sit in the corner of the class, or would just choose a back-seat and observe everybody else.
At times I would try coming out of this shell. But it was too much for me. I discovered other attractions, or at-least pretended to do so, to keep myself busy, while everybody was at something. Days passed, years passed and I carried this burden with me for a real long time. The burden of feeling that I was not good enough. No matter what I did, it would think that there wasn’t anything special about it. In my writings, in my art, in my craft, in my conversations, in my relationships, there always bore a fear of not being good enough.
It took me not less than 15 years or so, to accept the fact that being average is a mere tag that we, as a society, have put on all of us. Each one of us is different.
There is no set parameter that makes you beautiful. It can be anything and trust me, each of us deserve to know and believe that we are all beautiful in our own unique ways.
More than anything else, it is the responsibility of parents to ensure that the child competes with oneself, not the class, not the sibling, not the first rank-holder, not the convention set by an imaginary body. Do you know why? Because, in the quest of being outstanding, we train our brains to be someone else. It hurts and leaves a scar when you do something only because “You are expected to do that”. Like, to take classes that you were never passionate about. To dress up in ways that make you feel uncomfortable, To be extra nice, when you are crying within, to say a yes, when your conscience knows it is wrong, to act and behave in ways set by the people, even that means foregoing who you actually are.
For the parents out there, while raising your child, do remember your own childhood. Do what’s the best for them, but let that not leave a scar on their memory forever. Do what makes them ready for the days ahead, but not at the cost of snatching away their true identity from them. Do not ever demean anybody’s child, because you have no idea about their lives.
Let life NOT be a race. Some say that life is the longest thing that can happen to you, but I truly believe that life is the shortest thing that happens to you. LIFE is this moment when you are breathing. Make this moment right, and everything else will fall in place. Listen to your conscience. It knows the best for you.