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Ever wondered how we live in ‘small boxes’ that are made up of judgmental voices of the society? Did you ever realize that you are in fact living in a box?
With our privilege, we all live in opulence, and in cities that give us the best of all the worlds. It’s a blessing, and a privilege. Yet, there comes a point when we cease to ‘connect’ with the external world. Unknowingly, we live our lives in boxes made up of society’s judgmental notions. And, we get trapped into accepting them as ‘how things should be’.
After a tiring day of housework, childcare, self-care, job assignments, when I step out for coffee, I see people looking like models from a magazine. They beautifully balance grocery shopping with angelic kids who are handled by nannies. One look at my overworked self makes me want to disappear into the pavement.
I buy what feels comfortable. If Lee feels comfortable, I buy that. If something from a nameless roadside shop feels comfortable, I buy that as well. I don’t believe in maintaining a social standard by being brand conscious. If someone is, I won’t judge them. I just don’t want to be bothered by such lifestyle performances.
One day, I was trying on a bright red attire in a shop. The shop assistant came up with a suggestion that a lighter peach shade would suit my skin color. I had to resist a strong temptation of showing her a picture of women of every complexion donning the same red. But, my civility took over. I thanked her for her help, and headed for a burger.
Over time I began living according to these dictates – always exchanging the bright red for the peach that would suit my skin. Such notions are not limited to fashion. They are everywhere. Society is always telling us what to do, and how to do it. Be it behaving according to our age, raising a child, or even the type of house we should be living in. The list never ends.
Over a period of time, I felt the spark in my heart dim, little by little. Subconsciously, I began following such social dictates, and stopped feeling like myself. I believe things could have gotten a lot worse had I not met a woman who felt like a fresh breath of air.
I met her at a common friend’s barbeque party. When I saw her, my heart was set free. Her presence, the way she held herself, conveyed a sense of freedom from the societal norms. She was an architect as well as a mother of two. And, she came riding on her Royal Enfield.
To be honest, I dismissed her as another bike-obsessed man at first glance. When she removed the helmet, I couldn’t help but stare. Her delicate figure stepped away from the bike with a wide grin. She held her helmet in one hand, a bottle of champagne in the other hand.
As we were introduced, I longed to understand what she was made up of. She didn’t have much make-up on, just eyeliner. Her hair was carelessly, yet artistically, tucked in a way that accentuated her face. She had brought her son along, and set him up to do the homework inside.
‘How do you manage that?’ I asked bewildered.
She studied me carefully, at first. Then she said, ‘I did not want to miss out on this party. Moreover, I did not want my son to get scolded for not completing his homework. So I brought everything to the venue where the fun is.’ And, she winked.
I noticed her going in every now and then to check up on her son. Her husband and daughter would be joining a while later she informed. Her daughter had swimming classes, and did not want to miss that.
Later as we talked on various things, I told her how liberated I felt by making her acquaintance. ‘I understand’, she told me. Then she continued. “I’ve been told what I ‘should’ and ‘should not’ do. Like –
We concluded that society asks us to dim our light based on our age, sex, skin color, etc. I have always felt that these unreasonable norms keep the longings of my soul unexpressed. What is such a life!? We can express the divinity residing within us and yet we don’t do that.
I often wonder, who makes these rules and why do most people follow them? Over the years, we’ve broken many stereotypes, in the matters of household chores as well as science. Why do we then choose to stick to societal norms instead of having fun?
This realization dawned on me a while ago. Since then, I stubbornly shut these voices of dos and don’ts inside my head. And, I follow my heart. Trust me, it is liberating, said the woman I met at the party.
She had such an immense impact on my life. I could suddenly embrace that I should be who I already am. Nothing else matters. If I love to feel the rain, I shouldn’t stop myself from doing so simply because I am no longer a child.
I want to walk out, and feel the rain with my eyes closed and hands wide open. I no longer care about people’s opinions. This is my life. Who apart from me can decide what to do with it? The divine spark inside me, often says (in Ronan Keating’s voice), ‘If you get a chance to sit it out or dance, I hope you dance!’
Today, I ask you, Will you choose to dance?
Image source: a still from Little Things
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A Social Media Content Writer by profession. A writer by heart. A genuine foodie. Simple
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