I am that girlfriend. I’m possessive, demanding, sometimes over bearing and extremely opinionated, among other things. In short, I’m not perfect. I’ve noticed it, I have known the worst and the best about myself for a while now but not once have I lost myself in the rush to be ‘perfect’. I never thought twice when I got jealous, I never held back when I was mad and I never dressed a certain way. You know what that did for me? It made me mad, conscious and uncertain. Being a normal functioning human being who feels and expresses was transformed into being an arrogant maniac who people should steer clear off. I knew my mind, I still do, I knew my strengths and I wasn’t scared to show them. I wasn’t scared to feel or trust or even forgive.
And people hated that. Not only did their words fail to influence me, but the fact that I was comfortable with who I was threatened them. What a catastrophe that this woman is okay with showing human emotions (she cried?!). How terrible that she validates her emotions (such a drama queen). Imagine the agony of a strong independent woman ( who will marry her?)! God forbid she knows she pretty (she’s so vain). What horrible torture it must be for her boyfriend if she doesn’t like him being pecked on the cheek by another girl. Oh god (So clingy. So lame.)! And as much as I would like to term these reactions as an exaggeration, knowing your mind and speaking it, is such a curse, especially in the Indian society. It was (and is) enough of a curse for educated men and women to go the extra mile to tell my mom to ‘straighten’ me out.
I heard all of it and changed nothing. During my teens when my bug teeth were being tamed, my glasses getting thicker and short bob with bangs was frizzy, (and that was my good look) was when Ugly Betty hit the Indian TV. Well those were the days! The name calling, the short skirts, the snarky remarks, were a part of my experience but did not define my experience or change who I am. All that my haters could see was a brace ridden, specks laden big laugh. Only because I was genuinely happy at least 7/10 days, I was too secure in my self-worth to care about others. The other three days I’d mop at home in the comfort of my mom’s cooking and perpetual pampering. I was often hurt by mean words and Bollywood (it’s where all the Indian movie magic happens) standards. I would stand in front of my mirror and wonder what life would be like, if I were prettier. Would I be happier? Would I have be more assured? What if I became more cool? And I never got an answer. All my teens I never knew what it’d be like to be pretty and lady like. See me today and it’s an ugly duckling transformation. But I’m still not ‘perfect’. Point being: I was never the proverbial definition of societal perfection, in either beauty or behavioral expectations from a ‘woman’. I never was and I never will be.
Today, however, I’m an aspiring doctor, already on my way to being a Life Coach, a successful blogger, and I’m happy. Because unlike yesterday, when I was ‘so un-cool’ today I’m a rare bread. I am unique and sought after just because I’m in touch with the real human in me – not the infallible facebook charmer, but the clumsy, perpetual bad hair day college going me.
The only thing that didn’t change was my happiness. I learnt to be happy with whatever I had; my flaws, my strengths, my weaknesses, everything. Some days were more effort, other days not so much. But I have always been a little hesitant and unsure. My family, who I constantly look towards for validation, see me as ‘perfection’, yet I look towards them for validation. I get possessive of my best friend having ‘other’ best friends. I am skinny by most definitions and yet I have body issues. I dress rather well yet I double check every so often. I’m doing well in school yet I think I’m lacking. And you know what? It’s okay. Some of you may not agree and that’s okay too. Whatever makes you happy.
If being skinny brings you joy, do it! If being covered gives you joy, do it. If being in a bikini gives you joy just do it. It’s your life and you’ll always have haters. No matter where you reach or where you start, they’ll always be someone to tell you you’re not good enough, that you’re too clingy, to possessive, to assertive, too dark, too fat, too skinny and the more you listen to them the less you listen to yourself, the less you love yourself and less happy you are. So don’t listen, don’t harbor fear. If I could live my teenage years with glasses, braces and bangs and survive it, I’m pretty sure so can you.
If you too are that girlfriend, if you too are sensitive, emotional, possessive, irrational and sometimes (read many times) annoying, so be it. You are perfect the way you are and no one has the right to tell you otherwise so don’t let them. For those few traits are a part of you but will never define you. For you are, and always will be the only one who can define yourself.