This is a featured post at Write Over Weekend an initiative by Blogadda for Indian Bloggers.
Do you remember your college days? Who doesn’t? Those are the days of fun and frolic. The first time out of your house, all on your own, making new friends in college and hostel, the college canteen, the classes, the lectures, bunking classes. Hoping not to be ragged by your seniors in your first year, the vivas, the exams, the idle chatter and a lot more. Reminiscing for an entire day won’t be enough.
Apart from this, we had these annual events that everybody awaited, The rose day, The fresher’s day, the send-off party, the annual juke box event, the dandiya night, the saree day, the fun carnival games day, the fun week and so on. Fun for everybody right, the most awaited moments. Not for me.
The pic on the left is a scanned image of me taken in our hostel during my first year of college. It was the day we had send-off party for our super-seniors at our college. One of the fun days. But for me those fun days were more often than not anxiety days. If the preparation didn’t feel like anxiety, surely post-event I would have something to be not happy about. One of the reasons for that is
The pic on left is what I was. The pic on the right is what I thought I was.
If you think I was one of the girls whose self-worth was tied to a number on the scale, or the brands I wore or one who only cared how people looked. Wrong! Even before I entered college, I was one of those people who believed in “substance over form”. I thoroughly enjoyed studying computer science engineering. It was my dream come true. I was in one of the best colleges, I did well in my studies, made friends with some wonderful people and had hopes for my life. I was generally happy with what I was. But but… But somewhere deep down every time I had to get ready for a special occasion I would get reminded I am not going to fit in and get tensed. I wasn’t thin, the great-looking, the most fashionable, the most delicate, the grapevine specialist, the most vocal and by extension not the popular one or even the noticed one.
The mirror was my enemy. I hated shopping for clothes for the occasions. If by some chance on any occasion you thought it was ok then you had “friends” who told you “lose some weight”, “you are supposed to grow vertically not horizontally” or that I am Jayalalitha in line or that I need to improve my fashion sense. Goes without saying that I wasn’t one of the cool girls. It isn’t just about looks but also how you are expected to behave. If being cool is the desired state then everything else that isn’t cool is a nightmare for college days. You are supposed to take societal cues on how to be and confirm to those standards to be accepted. Not that I cared that much but it affects you all the same. These events always reminded me no matter what your talents, what you did, how you spoke or how well you dressed, in the end the show-stealers will be one of THOSE girls. The ones who fitted into the idea of what girls should be. It could never be me 😦
I had fun but not without regrets. I always wished I could be more “Normal”, more accepted. There was so much external pressure to fit in, to be accepted. But a lot of what was expected wasn’t me. I did not concede to all those ideas but the thought always remained if I had conceded I would have that approval which I desired and then probably life would have been much easier if not better.
However, life moves on and not long after that I learnt to accept myself as I am. I look forward to the events for what they are, the fun I would have and the people I meet and not fret on how good (or hideous) would I look. I don’t look at myself in the mirror and get an anxiety attack. Realized my fashion sense is way better than those few girls who gave me fashion advice. Realized at least half the guys that I wished looked at me weren’t worth it and I was better off not getting any attention from them. I am health-conscious but I don’t keep counting the calories in every morsel of my food or that number on the scale doesn’t freak me out. I speak my mind and do what I wish regardless of whether it looks cool and am happy about it. And this pic is what I am and feel like now.
It is easier to say these now that I am out of college and much more mature. I only wish there was some way I could have known better then.