By Attiya Karodia
“What is Strength,
When it is nothing but curvy Endurance with lipstick on?
What is hardship,
When it becomes a norm?
What is Femininity,
When it is Emotion, Instinct and Intuition in a discarded box labelled ‘weak’?
What triumph is there for women,
When our goals, essence, composure and restraint is based on what society seeks?”
Every now and again I find myself in a good place, where I feel like I am succeeding at the elusive work-life balance I learnt about in school and read about in Cosmo, but it doesn’t take very long before I am flung once again into a depressive state where anything and everything seems impossible to achieve without stepping on someone’s toes. After walking off the worst of the despair as I have so many times before, I realise that this feeling – that in order to achieve peace and acceptance from family or society you must compromise some part of yourself – isn’t just unfair, but something that women deal with regardless of circumstance or location.
When we enter the workplace, we are expected to leave our emotions at the door, because the professional world is obviously no place for a woman’s impulsive nature, we have to work like men in order to progress or succeed right? If we embrace and showcase the benefits of these ‘feminine’ qualities, we’re quickly brushed off to a ‘womanly department’, something frilly and less substantial, like fashion, or book-keeping.
“Thou shalt compromise your emotion in the workplace”
When you’re a young girl, there are still professions and goals that you will be discouraged from doing or aspiring to.
“Thou shalt compromise some of your dreams for the sake of convenience and acceptability”
When you interact with others, reacting to a sexual advance with disapproval will have you quickly called ‘bat shit crazy”.
“Thou shalt compromise your opinion to maintain a civil environment”
In every sphere of life, we’re faced with unspoken criteria, a compromise in every situation which we must bear because we are women, and in order to do what you love, and lead the life you love, you have to be comfortable with either giving up a part of yourself, or being comfortable with facing disapproval. We’re told that we can’t have it all, and from the day we understand what makes us happy, we strive not to please ourselves fully, but to please everyone.
About a month ago, I became extremely frustrated with myself, for not achieving what I expected myself to achieve this year, for not being able to keep the people around me content, for not doing more of what I love, for feeling swamped with obligations and not meeting them, but also, for feeling anxious about being happy, as if by granting myself a modicum of peace, I was somehow bringing some sort of emotionally fatal consequence on myself.
Why should we be functional but not happy?
Well I want to change that. I want to do what makes me smile, what keeps me happy, what motivates and inspires me. Everyone has their own life that they lead, what on earth has been stopping me from leading my own? Take the wheel that steers your heart and drive off to somewhere you don’t have to be on time for.
I don’t want it to just be me taking charge of my Happiness, I’m tasking each and every one of my readers to either let go or rid yourself of something that brings you sadness, anger or anxiety or add one thing to your daily life that will make you smile, or even better, laugh!
For 2 weeks, I will be tweeting a new happy addition to my life with the hashtag #JustAddHappiness , and I want your beautiful souls to join me 🙂