Good Women Must Hide ‘Who We Are’ To Become ‘What We Should Be’ To Fit Into Society

We are forced to put on a face, abide by rules of society to be valid members, judged for what can be seen... so we silence, and hide who we are. The root of our troubles...

We are forced to put on a face, abide by rules of society to be valid members, judged for what can be seen… so we silence, and hide who we are. The root of our troubles…

Have you ever felt a sense of loneliness, isolation and an emptiness inside you that no matter what you do seem to come back? Yes, one can go on a shopping spree, jump off a plane, or put simply, gorge on fast food to numb that feeling, but once the experience is over, the emptiness seeps back in.

Interestingly, I can exactly point out when this emptiness started to manifest in my life. Or more accurately when I started to disconnect with the happiness of being.

It all started gradually when I stepped into high school.

Sometimes I wonder if I can have that untainted happiness of childhood ever again. The fact that while travelling through the villages in Slovenia I had chanced upon this exact possibility made me question further.

How? Well, we were visiting the beautiful town of Bled.  The houses in Bled are simple cottages with a burst of flowers exploding in every corner. This was one pretty, vibrant town that seemed to quite lift up your vibe. While I walked through admiring these houses I caught a glimpse of a wrinkled Slovenian woman basking in the sun on her balcony. What caught my eye was the serenity on her face and the unmistakeable smile on her face as she watched contentedly at the tourists strolling past her house. I wondered what she was doing right.

Thinking on these lines led me to ponder on what I was doing right when I was a child. Would implementing the same change the happiness quotient in my current situation? Here’s what I found out.

Our circle of warmth

I remember one cold December evening. I must have been around 3 and a half or four years old. I had just gotten up from my afternoon nap. The sun sets early in Assam during the winters and around five in the evening it is pitch dark.

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So it was cold and it was dark, but the moment I woke up, my eyes fell on my family, sitting by the heater warming themselves. There was a glass of hot chocolate already placed for me near the small chair next to the heater. When my father saw me waking up, he called me to join them with a love and a happiness that exuded so much warmth. He called me with such an eagerness and welcoming outstretched arms that it made me feel like a treasure. I felt that just existing and being myself was the best thing I can ever do.

As we grow up, we gradually lose this circle of warmth. Maybe because of distance or maybe because people change. Whatever it is, we lose this circle of warmth where it is perfect to be just ourselves, and still know that there are people who would hold our back.

I know people who are still surrounded by this, and I cannot imagine happier adults. Adults who are not afraid of judgement. People who live in a circle of love and unrestrained self-expression. Nothing empowers an individual more than having a set of people who always have their back no matter what.

The freedom to be ourselves, no matter what 

As a child, I had the freedom to be myself. There was no one to dictate who and what I should be like. As one grows up, there are a lot of influences. The world is so colourful that you feel like getting a taste of everything you can be. Moreover, we are gradually taught to be polite, to follow set etiquettes, and stay quiet even when facing conflicting emotions or feelings.

We start to gradually live a life of lie, where who we are is overshadowed by what looks good on the outside.

I myself have been different people at different times. High school saw a different me, college yet another and as a working woman I am a completely different person. But at the end of the day, every day, I can still feel that 3 year old girl, waking up to her father’s hug and a cup of hot chocolate.

And this difference between who I am in my core and who I am forced to be outside gives birth to the emptiness that is so familiar to me.

Expression of our truth

When I was a child, I used to befriend everyone. I guess every child does that. A pup, a lamb, a house servant; and these relationships had the most honest friendships.

As we grow older, we are dictated on what company we can keep. There is this unwritten rule about what we can express. We are afraid to speak the truth because of these dictates. At times people choose to just stay quiet to avoid a conflict. Something as simple as, ‘I miss you’ is often disguised as ‘Sorry, I am so busy I did not realise you did not call’.

We need to keep a public face, keep a standard, and keep telling a story about who we are, when the truth is, the story about us is not even remotely us. On a larger level, there are those who work at a 9 to 5 job whereas their heart is set into being a graffiti artist. There are others who live in grand city skyscrapers, whereas their heart is set on settling down in a small cottage near a snow clad mountain somewhere in Scandinavia. Then, there are those women who dream of making it big in their career while working out the dynamics of a demanding work and family.

What I have understood is, we suffer because we trade ‘who we are’ for ‘what we should be to look good in society.’  I am sure that woman I saw in Slovenia has not budged all her life from being herself; and what did she gain by doing that? A ripe old age with no regrets whatsoever.

Image source: a still form the film Thappad

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About the Author

Priyanka Kotoky

A Social Media Content Writer by profession. A writer by heart. A genuine foodie. Simple by nature. Love to read, create paintings and cook. Have impossible dreams. At the moment, engaged in making those dreams read more...

89 Posts | 154,647 Views

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