It has been a while since I have been complimented. It is not that my ego needs constant feeding. It is not a hungry lion caged in its own pretenses but, it is also not a dog that needs training. I have been deluged with advice on changing and improving myself of late, so much so, that I have decided to not change at all! All this while, I have been building up my case and have now convinced at least myself that I am perfect the way I am.
First of all, all the good advice supposedly begins with a ‘be yourself’ keynote. How can I improve if I have to be myself. All the messy, annoying, cringe-worthy habits that I possess make me unique in my own way. According to my mother, I need to discipline myself, guard myself from too much fun and frolic and learn homely skills that will prepare me for the ordeal called life. I do not think she knows that those lectures are an ordeal in themselves. My elder sister wants me to take my career seriously. I know I have to do something in life but, when there are others more concerned than me about my own career, I cannot help but wonder if there is any point in changing myself at all!
Personal improvement is a good thing and I know one should always strive to be his best self. I do that too. But sadly for my guardian angels, my best self is not good enough. My best self wants to sleep late and wake up in the afternoons. It wants to keep reading a fantasy series until its eye give in. My best self wants to make friends with guys and hang out with them. My best self is not a typical good girl. To put is succinctly, my aim in life does not revolve around being a suitable bride to someone else.
Then there are people who want me to be promiscuous. There are guys who are just there for ‘a chance’. The pressure from both quarters is immense. My answer to both is that I do not want to fall or rise due to any drive which has a locus outside of me. If I want to go to America and pursue higher education, I don’t want the reason to be parental pressure. If I want to lose my virginity, I don’t want the reason to be my boyfriend’s intense sexual desire.
I have been listening to everyone’s appeals with extreme patience but, just like any human, my patience has reached the brim now. I do not want to change. I want to grow. I want to fall in love. I want to fly but I want to do it because of a motivation that comes from within.
My parents’, especially my mother’s fears might be right that the motivation might never come. She fears that I will spoil my life, these precious years, without doing anything worthwhile. I might. But, there comes the point. What is worthwhile? She wants me to eventually have a good family life and a stable career. Do I want those things? I do. Who doesn’t? But, do I like the way people take to get there? Can I do what is needed to be successful? Can I study continuously and cut myself off from friends and fun? My answer is, if I could, I would.
I know there are people who can sacrifice their personalities in lieu of a stable life. I just love myself too much to do that. I do not deem it necessary that I have to sell my soul to the devil in order to succeed. I also do not thing I need to become an angel either. I guess, I am a big fan of Buddha’s middle path and no matter what the society wants me to do, I will just take the middle path.
Now, I know couples who gave up on their relationships because of certain personality clashes. The boyfriend wanted to smoke cigarettes, the girl didn’t like it- they got separated. The girl wanted to wear short dresses and hang out at parties, the boyfriend got insecure, they got separated. Now, what would have happened if these people had decided to sacrifice their habits (good or bad) for the other person?
The person who would have ‘adjusted’ or ‘sacrificed’ would have done so as a favour to the other and every other fight that they would have in the future, it would be tainted with the blood of their former selves. If you change someone, their blood is on your hands. Yes, people improve and rise in love, but that should be voluntary and the drive should come from within. And that’s my entire point.
Now as a footnote, let’s talk about ‘flaws’ a little. This article is about me so let me talk about my flaws- I am a girl who likes to wake up late in the morning. I have been doing that all my adolescence and that’s how my body functions. I am a late night person. Let’s say I become an early riser. Biologically speaking, there will be slight adjustments in my body clock and then I will become a morning person. With practice, I can also be made to like a subject like say, Sanskrit, which currently isn’t something I am attracted to. I can be given new hobbies, new language, new identity even. But, when I am molded into this mold of so-called perfection, will I be perfect?
Is it ever possible to know what is the correct way to live? In the book ‘A Brave New World’, Huxley portrays the perils of hedonism but, my point is- if hedonism is so bad, why does it feel so good? I am not saying that either industry or hedonism based lifestyle is good. All I am saying is, and I speak to all those who argue for either kind of lifestyle, that how do you know which way is the right way?
If there is no clear way and I am doing okay on my own, should’t I be allowed to gravitate to my natural self? That way, even if I end up being a nobody, at least I will not be that grumpy old woman who is honking at the traffic signal not because she is getting late but because she is angry at her family for not letting her fulfill her dreams!
You may call me out on being a rebel without a cause but, although I have no cause, I have definitely been provoked and I say NO to change!
I feel I should end this post with a Jai Hind so…