I’m a girl.
I am twenty one years old and unmarried. I am still struggling with my career, trying to make something out of myself. I am not yet established or settled. I am not earning an overflowing income, nor am I satisfied with my work.
I am living away from home, in a different city, a different state, a different culture. I am still adjusting and adapting to new norms, unfamiliar traditions, and unknown faces.
Yet I wake up every day and heave a sigh of relief. I am where I am because of who I am. I walked on my own path, traversed my own journey, taught myself my own lessons, inculcated my own faults and got rid of them my way. I wake up each day and I walk down to the grocery store in my pyjamas and my unkempt hair. I leave for work in my pants and my shirt tucked out. I do not own more than four pairs of these clothes that I choose to wear to work. I wash my face and I apply my sunscreen, mostly because I got sunburn in the past, and I leave. I do not possess a lipstick, eyeliner or a foundation pack. I am not light complexioned by birth. I have a rather dark colour. I am not fair but I do believe that I’m lovely. I am not tall, but I do believe that I’m beautiful. I am not slim, but I do know that I’m healthy. I do not have long, straight tresses. I am a girl with short tiny curls and I find them attractive.
This is how I’ve been since I was five, or maybe even younger. My parents love me, never asked me to change. I was never, by any of the people who have a right to, pressurised to chip in extra, unwanted and unnecessary efforts to transform and mould myself to resemble another one of the million mannequins we live around. I have been accepted and loved with my uncombed hair and my fat body. I was taught well enough to simply walk out of the times and the lives of people whose faces gleamed with the hint of disapproval. I have been patted on my back for masculine gestures and been supported for my athletic interests. I have been counted as part of the diversity as the not-so-sensitive one. My emotions never came in the way of defining my identity. I do not, till date, know to cook an entire meal for the family, or for myself. The world of household chores and the likes, do not charm me in any possible way and I have never faced a situation where there have been attempts to change that. I have never been questioned about my pursuits or my perspective on life. I have not had a smooth life. I have had my ups and downs, my own scars. I have faced the wrath of living on my own terms, in a society surrounded by people who promote anything but. I’ve been wounded; some cuts deeper than the others. Some injuries I got over, while others are still healing. I have not been blind to the frowns neither have I been deaf to the humiliations. But eventually I learned how to let the frowns pass by my eye and the humiliations only touch my ear, if at all. Because if there is something that I can declare with certainty and belief is that society never forgets to scowl. No matter what you do, what you wear, how you conduct yourself, society will always find a reason to degrade and mortify. Patriarchy enslaves both men and women. While the birth of a girl child is claimed to be the mother’s “fault”, earning for the family is inherently considered the father’s responsibility. While the female is expected to be soft spoken and submissive, the male can never cry tears without being termed puny and effeminate. We live in a world where a man whose beliefs are rooted in misogyny is treated with respect, while the real life hero, who treats women from a distance, is considered feminine. What it all comes down to is the simple fact that the society is not a place worth investing your emotions and efforts in.
Today, I am living on my own, working on my own and making a name for myself. I am not married, neither am I living an extravagant life. I am dissatisfied with my work and the underuse of my potential. Yet I wake up every day and heave a sigh of relief. I pay my own bills, I feed my own stomach and I cover my own head. I hold no regrets. I have never been a slave of what could have been and if I asked to do it again, I would not change a thing about how I’ve lived. Ask the world to define a girl and the only similarities you will find in me and the definitions would the fact that I have the vagina and the uterus, if that would be mentioned at all. But in spite of what they say, I am a girl through and through and I don’t think there is anything wrong in adding some diversity to such wrongful binary gender divisions.