I am different. That’s what I thought till I met people who are just like me.
These people are from various age groups – some younger than me, some older, some of my age. I was delighted. Now, I could tell those who want me to ‘fall in with the ways of the world’ that ‘see, people like me exist. I am not abnormal or worse, dumb – as you think of me.’
Alas, instead of classifying me as ‘normal’, they proceed to put my esteemed friends in the categories they hitherto reserved for me.
I have got so used to being called ‘dumb’ that I have lost my sensitivity for the epithet.
This christening happens only in household settings, where I am supposed to complete a household chore. Or deck up for a function. Or cook. Or any other house-related work that a ‘woman’ is ‘supposed to know how to do.’
Close family, close relatives – the people I care about, the people who care about me or at least think they care about me do this to me. They think they’re helping me out. They are helping a woman who doesn’t know how to be a woman survive in this big bad mean world, where women fail ‘the whole purpose of their lives’ if they do not know how to do the mundane chores ‘perfectly’ – meaning how they want the chores to be done if they were the ones doing them.
Make no mistake – these are the people who I love or whom I have come to love. They are my own. I love them to the end of the world. I’d do anything for them. Except – DOING THESE STUPID THINGS A PARTICULAR WAY THAT APPARENTLY ARE THE ONLY MEASURES THAT QUALIFY ME AS A WOMAN.
This societal gaslighting flummoxed me first. Then, I began to doubt myself. I tried to see reason in their coaxing, and then their angry outbursts. Maybe I should ignore the way they say it, and act on their points. After all, doing these things that a woman is supposed to do, makes the house a better place to live in. I desperately tried. For TWO DECADES. Almost. Since the age of 15…
I tried to be the woman that a particular section of society (which I thought to be fictional until recently – but it exists, alas!) wants me to be. I have failed. I am sorry.
Now I know what it means to be that student in the class who puts his heart and soul in trying to ‘understand’ what the teacher says, and then ‘remember’ it at the time of exam, and ‘implement’ it in practicals – but cannot do it, even if he spends the last iota of intelligence he has! I empathise with you, my friend! (the he(s) and the she(s) both)
This brings me to the conclusion. I have decided to settle this issue once and for all. I am not falling prey to any gaslighting. I see through it – on the other end, which is crystal clear – I see a confident me, wearing my own skin, not trying to please anyone whose standards differ than my own – of being a woman. I know every woman who’s tried to live life her way has paid a price.
I am a sportsperson. I am a writer. I am an enterpreneur. I am a family person. I am a woman. That’s who I am.
If that makes me a self-centered vain selfish specimen of a human being…well, that’s your perception of me. I ain’t doing nothing about it that takes me back to the gaslighting attempts.
I’ll love you to the moon and back, ALWAYS! But, my dears, I won’t even try to see things your way. We’re different. I’m different.