It’s hard—even for me, who has literally made it my job to preach the importance of shedding the impact of social norms and societal expectations all day, every day.
Because we’re social and connected beings having a human experience and not visa versa, rejection feels horrible. It’s evident that an easier way to go about fitting in here is to look good, according to societal standards. But we’ve learned that doing that doesn’t make us feel any better. Still, it’s scary to go against the grain. What if that makes us feel even worse?
Personally, I haven’t yet mastered not giving a shit about my appearance. I wish I could tell you differently. I have insight and know all the things, intellectually, but it’s still hard for me to practice the truth all the time. I often attempt to strike some sort of a weird, made-up, bullshit balance. What does that mean? Here’s an example.
For Valentine’s Day, my mom bought me two amazing gifts (yes, she still buys me V-Day gifts!): 1.) A really cool journal with a bold cover that says, “I am what a feminist looks like” and 2.) Anti-aging cream. Anyone else see the irony? Thanks, mom.
I love both of the gifts—and that’s the point!
The shedding doesn’t happen overnight. Taking up space, using my voice and practicing what I preach is a lifelong journey. I know you know what I’m talking about. We’re working towards progress not perfection.
At the very least, let’s strive to keep our focus on that which sets us free—not that which confines us.
One day at a time.
Art by Edinah Chewe.