A few days back, I turned 36, and I am not someone to feel bad or lie about ageing or getting older. I love being “me” and have always been proud of my existence—the scars, the experiences, the greying hair (which I am in no mood to colour in the near future by the way) and above all, the multiplying wisdom. It makes me look at the world from a broader perspective and with a clearer understanding. However, there are days when my comfortable skin feels irked not from within but from the touch of society it is exposed to.
There are days when I lose my patience due to the insensitivity with which humans treat each other. in my country if you are a woman aged 36—who chairs a senior management position—you are brutalized by judgements and shaming (some upfront and others behind the back). These judgements often initiate from other women and include participation from men, some youngsters and everyone who is completely unimportant and nonexistent in your life.
Some days I feel deprived of my rights to share opinions, express my thoughts the way I want to, and above all, of being understood. Someone or the other is always ready to point out what you do.
“Don’t talk like this” ;“Don’t say this you might offend”; “Don’t do this you might be misunderstood”; “Don’t do this or they will talk negatively about your character”; “Why are you talking to youngsters and kids you are so senior? They will take it in a bad light!”; “Who will take your position seriously if you behave childishly?”; “I didn’t expect such a blunt statement from you”; “You are married you must avoid certain things…” blah blah blah…
I mean this list is long, but even longer is the queue of people who are focused on you for some unknown reason. What adds to my fury are the strangers who sit out there, judging my actions and reactions simply because of their “overconfidence” thinking that their “assumptions” are apt. You know those “I-know-it-all” kind of people— who knew it all—but applied none to their lives— because pointing fingers on others was much easier than introspecting and changing self!
Age shaming, body shaming, character shaming, bullying, calling names are just a few of the things one encounters on a daily basis, especially someone like me, who doesn’t put makeup or try to look younger, taller, prettier or smarter. Some days, the judgements are hilarious and on others, extremely hurtful and subjugating—so much so that they make one feel like un-adulting.
Why does this society fail to understand that age or professional position or marital status doesn’t confine the freedom of my existence? I can be all of the above and still live a free life with the same dignity as any other woman. My choices may be different, and you may not understand them, but that doesn’t mean I am wrong or worthy of shaming or mockery or anything offensive.
I was breaking stereotypes at 20, then 25, and now at 36, and I am sure I would do the same even at 80. I would be opinionated, loud, would use the f-word even more often than I do today, chair my seniority, and still be married. You might even see me sky diving, I mean, who knows!!
Then, what will society label me as? How will it judge me then? I will tell you, even at 80, society will shame me for being me, for holding my ground, for smashing wrong beliefs, and for being unapologetic. And maybe even then, on some days, I would want to un-adult.
This society actually needs to start letting adulthood be easier than this. These stereotypes and so-called conditioning needs to be broken. Everyone deserves to age gracefully and still be whatever the hell they wish to be!