Helurrr everyone! Welcome to my very first blog post! I am really excited to finally share this with you as I’ve been working on it forever… (It sure does feel that way to me). This is obviously a very controversial topic and I believe it is applicable to all culture and race groups. However, due to my Indian heritage, I will be speaking from personal experience for the most part. Be that as it may, I am pretty sure that you will be able to identify with most of what I have to say because we’re all human at the end of it all. So grab a nice cup of your favourite blend and enjoy!
First things first, let’s address my actual composition (one part cupcake and 2 parts sarcasm lol) – my first name is Muslim and my last is Hindu (Tamil to be specific). I almost always get weird looks when I introduce myself and have developed a very generic response: “My mother is Muslim and my father is Tamil.” For some, that is enough and is usually followed by a slight chuckle at the thought (I assume some Romeo & Juliet scene about forbidden love probably). BUT there is the odd person who feels like they deserve more because it’s not fair to make such a bold statement and not explain what happens next. To that I explain that my dad converted (changed his religion) in order to marry my mum the Muslim way (they made nikkah) and we followed Islam. Now that we have that little backstory out of the way, let’s carry on.
For those of you wondering what on earth the title is about – trust me, there is a mould that society measures everyone against. And whilst this mould pertains to both male and female, I feel like females have it worse because we’re always made aware of how far off we are from the ‘perfect woman/girlfriend/daughter/mother, etc.’ In the Indian culture specifically, a lot of emphasis is put on the colour of your skin, the texture of your hair, straightness of your teeth and your body shape. If you were light skinned with long straight hair, had a smile like you worked for Aquafresh and were slim with a big bust and somewhat round booty – you were just perfect.
*Disclaimer: I have absolutely nothing against anyone who has the features I mentioned above and I am in no way stating that your physical appearance has any bearing on what kind of a person you are. You rock girl! Go on with your bad self!
Enter me, an extremely skinny, medium toned teenager with frizzy hair for days and teeth that were all over the place. Firstly, being a teenage girl is hard enough when you’re trying to figure out what’s happening to your body (or not happening), reacting to boys, keeping up relations with your mother… it’s a little much tbh. AND THEN you are made fun of because of your hair and your flat chest (which kind of deflects from your other undesirable physical traits so you run with it). Pretty soon you’re stuffing your bra, begging your mother to pay for expensive hair treatments and wearing shorts underneath your jeans. The. Struggle. Is. Real. Eventually, going out with your friends becomes torture because it doesn’t matter how many hours it takes you to get ready, you’re never going to look like the chick who is filling up DD’s.
With your family:
There is always that one aunty whose first line when she sees you is: “So dark you gone”, or “Your mother doesn’t feed you?” This is usually followed by her showcasing her own daughter who is your age but resembles Wonder Woman. (Side note: the movie was absolutely epic and you should totally watch it if you haven’t already!) Every single family function or get together ends up the same and you start to slowly resent them. Not for what they are but for how you feel when you realise that you are a 14 year old girl who is trapped in a 10 year old boy’s body and you shouldn’t look like that. Funny how we place so much emphasis on what is going on outside rather than focusing on building what is inside.
Growing up and into motherhood:
I’m not sure whether this happens everywhere but I feel like people expect that a mother should either look like a hot mess or like Victoria Beckham. BUT, very strong opinions are tied to both scenarios. If you look like a hot mess then you are doing a great job with your kids, taking care of your husband and you probably clean your house 3 times a day – you just ‘let yourself go’. Ooooh jirre! I can just die when I hear that phrase. So what if you don’t want to look like you just came off the runway, you do you, boo. Then there’s the supermodel mother whose hair is always on point and always looks like she wakes up with a perfect contour. “You must not give your kids a bath and there’s no way you’re cooking for your husband every day – you probably don’t even make your bed’. Ooooh shem! In what world! Good for you doll! Without taking anything away from the woman who does not wear designer heels, I applaud the woman who is able to colour coordinate and have her eyebrows done perfectly every day. To whoever is reading this, if you walk around with your comfy pair of Nikes (that’s me btw), prefer a long sweater and cool leggings or if you cannot leave the house without looking like you stole Victoria’s Secret – YOU FREAKING ROCK GIRL!
People need to stop putting so much pressure on girls and women and expecting them to look a certain way. We need to guide and nurture the already beautiful soul that is within and let her flourish. Let her be so confident in herself that she does not need any approval from anyone. You will find that once you allow a girl to grow the way God intended, she will be nothing short of majestic. So mothers, sisters, aunties, whoever you are, you first need to realise that you are damn beautiful! Once you believe that, start imparting that onto every girl you are lucky enough to meet. We need to build each other by building ourselves. It doesn’t matter what shape, size or shade you are, you are created perfectly and you ought to be proud of yourself.
I read this quote somewhere (I honestly can’t remember where), but I found it so powerful and true:
“The presence of one woman’s beauty is not the absence of yours.”
Thank you so much for reading