Life would be so much simpler if we did not expect things from other people. Or from ourselves.
As a product of a middle class family with the scrappy middle class be-the-best-that-you-can-be tradition, I have a lot of expectations from myself. They mostly end up making life difficult for me.
There are a lot of similarities between being Catholic and in being pure-bred Indian Middle class.
For instance, we too believe that we are put onto this earth to suffer. Suffer through our inadequacies and imperfections and keep working towards that indefinable heaven where we hope a better life, more money and a set number of virgins await us. The virgins bit is a small metaphor for the puritanical values that are also a part of that baggage of expectations. Every 20-something woman who is currently contemplating marriage and has had a relationship or two before will agree what a minefield that little bit right there is. Also, I think I have successfully mixed up all religions and done my bit toward world peace. (Takes a bow)
Going back to the expecting things from yourself part, there are some ways in which women outdo men in that department (Okay fine. There are at least a gazillion ways). But currently suffering from fat issues myself, I have come to realize that the highest standards we set are definitely for our body.
Twist it, contort it, pluck it, colour it, bleach it, clothe it…do anything but let it be the way it is.
Fear not. This is not a feminist tirade on the amount of effort women put into looking like women. It is just a bit of grudging respect for those hours of self-deprecation, misery and not to mention the pain that we are okay with suffering.
And not just that. We are also okay with putting on a one-man show on how we are not really a human body with needs and noises but perfect fairy princess whom the man has been lucky enough to meet. For months on end! Ask any man who is in a new relationship if he has heard his lady-love fart. Or for that matter even heard her pee or in fact even seen her eat properly. It might sound like a bit of arcane feminine nonsense which no modern woman does anymore, but trust me, that is not true. We all do our share of little dramas to keep the magic alive. Like getting up in the morning, brushing and putting on a little lip-gloss. Or carrying an emergency makeup kit everywhere in oversized bags and risking permanent shoulder injury. Or pre-flushing so that the noise covers any unfortunate tinkling sounds.
That last one has an easy solution. Let’s just install background music in all washrooms. For that matter, we should have music everywhere! Just to take the edge off. I’m sure any little of help is welcome, as long as we can stop thinking about stupid stuff like that and just concentrate on being loved for the awesome people we are (notwithstanding what our parents told us).