What Influences Us

What Influences Us

As young girls, we were all raised with certain ideas and notions about what is right and wrong. We had to dress up a certain way, always say the right thing, be quiet, be polite, be nice. As we got older, slowly and steadily we were conditioned to view ourselves from the perspective of a man. Our mothers taught us to ‘let him win’, ‘agree with him’, ‘serve him’. It is no wonder that eventually women lost their sense of selves. Our identities were strayed and if we wanted to fight back for our rights, it would take a great deal of pain and courage to take back what was once ours.

I myself have been in situations where I would force myself to dress a certain way, to do my hair, to eat as little as I possibly could just to look a certain way. I forgot about what my own needs and wants were – that I had to nourish my body and take care of it, that I had to fuel myself and be kind to myself. I was blinded by the idea that I must look attractive and graceful – even if it meant that the things I did to achieve a certain look would harm me in the long run.

I have spent countless hours in front of a mirror, picking apart parts of my body: “I’m too big”, “I’m too small”. I’ve been on both sides of the body weight spectrum, and still, people around me have always had a problem with the way I look. I find it amusing how people could have the nerve to comment about someone’s appearance.

I remember, when I was anorexic, people would come up to me and tell me to “eat more”, “put some meat on those bones”, “you look sick”. And to my horror, when I was finally weight restored, the same people, who told me to gain weight, would come up to me and tell me that I needed to go to the gym and that I should lay off the dessert. Surprising, isn’t it? I was shocked and so unsure of myself when things like that would happen to me. It is terrifying and so appalling that people could say things about your appearance without knowing anything about what you’ve been through. I lost my period for 3 years, I was constantly fighting with my family, i was tired exhausted all the time, my hair was falling out. I was struggling with one of the most horrible mental disorders that kills so many people – and yet I was constantly told that I was not “perfect” according to society’s standards.

I believe that, sometimes, we need to take a step back and think about where our expectations stem from. Is it something we genuinely want? Or is it something that is just “demanded” from us. What I’m trying to say is that sometimes, our society makes it seem like we have to be picture perfect, we have to look attractive at all times, we have to wear the latest fashion – always, always, always. Why? Who are we doing all this for? Is it for ourselves? Or is it because we been brainwashed by what social media wants us to do?