A conversation with my sister stirred a long buried memory.
It was the first week of college and we were chilling at ‘Cafe Coffee Day’. The clichéd truth-n-dare came along with some silly teenage questions.
Who’s your crush from the juniors? Who do you think is the hottest? Cutest? Prettiest? Someone you’d like to go for a coffee with?
Apparently we all juniors were girls and the seniors were mostly guys. Every guy named a girl and their cute love stories took a flight.
Nobody took my name. And there, my teenage self popped a question in head- ‘Am I so bad looking?’
I have never been the popular butterfly in school. I have never had a boyfriend. I was neither a back-bencher. I loved reading more than partying- or maybe because I never went to one.
I had spectacles and braces. I had an unrequited crush. I had a best friend with a boyfriend- who always gave her a chocolate after school.
No, I was not a teacher’s pet but I liked giving answers I knew. I think that’s the only thing which kept me buzzing in the class.
I was an average underdog.
I had dreams and ambitions always entangled with insecurities and fear.
There are majority of teenage girls who always feel alienated.
They feel less beautiful, more fat.
They eye the It-girls with perfect hair and sassy dance moves. They have never bunked any class, leave alone school for that matter. They respect their teachers and never apply kajal or get fringes done. IT’S NOT ALLOWED.
They are not the rule breakers.
Their parents taught them to behave themselves. And, they always did. Even if that meant feeling out of place, un-cool and being judged and validated at every move.
So like all of them, I accepted that I will never be beautiful.
I focused on being a good person. Even though a good heart is seldom considered over short skirts in school, I hardly had a choice. It wasn’t easy.
I had some silly fights and heavy arguments to prove my worth. Little did I knew, justifying your worth is needless. Fighting through the quandary of teenage school opera, I graduated with some beautiful friends.
“Ah! College. Finally my dreams might come true. I will be beautiful. I will have a boyfriend. I will party.”
Swirl back to the reality. Not much really changes. You are still the naive duckling out of school struggling with frizzy hair and rains while you topple onto every next person. No, not because you are in heels of course. Cinderella hasn’t had her magic touch yet!
You are so confused with the ways of this new world that you can’t keep yourself getting shocked after every other conversation.
However, college doesn’t judge you if you walk alone on the aisle. People don’t validate your existence with the number of friends you have.
I am not really sure if that’s how colleges are or if it’s us who can’t care much anymore.
College might not change your friends or make you a party diva but it will surely instill in you a confidence and charisma you have been looking for everywhere.
Spectacles and braces can be removed in a day but the respect and dignity you carry needs to be earned. The person you become is the one this world will finally love and be with.
School was never really the reality. It’s a sheltered home for pretty lies.
”The Big Bad World is waiting outside”.
Turns out, it might be a good place for a lot of you. It will change you for good.
There will be struggles and you will question yourself. But that’s when you will find the answers. That’s when you will learn that beauty is how we see ourselves to be.
Perhaps, happiest girls are really the prettiest ones.
I feel fulfilled, complete and much at peace. I don’t know how much the vanity has worked its charm but I feel beautiful too. I don’t need people around me to satiate my soul. I feel proud of not giving away myself when I was most vulnerable.
However, when I look back at school and the evolved culture it strives in, I feel disheartened. People are no more willing to be good people.
A lot more and more of them are changing themselves to be someone else. They are losing out on their good side to be accepted and loved.
This acceptance is not what it seems. It’s hollow and momentary.
I hope girls understand that vanity is no replacement for your dignity. I
In the end, the world falls for your bona fide self.