Today I thought of how I live in this cocoon, a mental safety bubble that protects me from socially imposed pressures. I thought of how lately, the society, and certain people I’ve interacted with, have tried to pop my bubble and leave me exposed to the pressure. I took a moment to visualize what it would be like to let myself succumb to the pressure and busk in it—oh god no! That was an overwhelming thought. Have you ever seen a vampire exposed to sunlight without one of those day rings? Exactly! I would burn—my mind and entire being, merely reduced to ashes. I recently hit that age I so much fancied when I was a little girl; my vision of it was exquisite. It’s also an age where, as a woman, with so much against us—traditional beliefs, time, and science, the societal pressures of marriage, having kids, and acquiring financial wealth, start to kick in.
Okay, I usually don’t feel the pressure because of my aforementioned mental safety bubble. Still, I suppose I imagined I’d be a little further along in my life journey by now. Financial liberty, to say the least! I thought by now I’d be the woman of my dreams. The image I have of her is vivid, created by a much younger me, from movies I watched, music videos, and people I crossed paths with that seemed appealing enough to fit my concept of a dream woman. She’s sensual, glazed with sultriness, calm, collected, and most importantly, has her shit together. She’s free; mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and financially. And her body is banging, of course!
Dreams can be misguided sometimes, you know, especially when you’re young and green. So, little me went ahead and based the idea of a dream woman on what she watched and who she saw, without the slightest idea of the stories behind those people that she built her concept of dream woman around. She had no clue that behind that dream lay a journey, a story untold. I could easily blame the media for this kind of wacky perceptual programming. My thought process on how I’d finally morph into the woman of my dreams was— be a kid now, respect adults, do kid stuff like going to school and playing silly little games, grow up, and then boom! Life of my dreams.
Here I am now; at this age I idolized so much and couldn’t wait to get to, and I realize there’s so much more to life than my superficial dream. It’s more than the physical outlook; the money and a banging body. If I pay closer attention to the details of how I repetitively visualized this point of my life—what I saw was me in a fancy yet simple but elegantly decorated home. After a long day of work, I’d come home to my comfort zone; a scenic view through my large living room window and an uber-chic patio where I’d sip some green tea, read a book, and unwind. Yeah, something like that.
Grown now, I’m thinking about my dream, the aesthetic around it, and there’s peace within this woman in my vision— something of utter importance that I didn’t quite conceptualize when I was younger. Wisdom indeed comes with experience because younger me must’ve believed that when money is in plenty, peace of mind, health, and good vibes fall right in with it. It was a widespread belief growing up, mainly because people barely talked about the effort one has to put into intentional personal growth and healing; overcoming childhood traumas, creating peace within, learning to love yourself and others as they are. You know, the quintessential things that amount to living a close to blissful human life.
So, back to when I let myself busk in the pressure of hitting 25. I was chilling at a friend’s, and a particular guy was talking to me about why he thought marriage was a scam in our contemporary world. He said, “you women change when you get into relationships and especially when it reaches a point where you move in with a man.” That sounded insulting to me, and I was keen to warn him against generalizing women based on his bad personal experiences. We started talking about relationships, and I happened to ask how old he was. He said 25. Quite frankly, I expected he’d be way older as I’d already judged based on his physical appearance. My bad, but my judgment had landed nowhere close to 25. Given I’d just turned 25, I decided to indulge him on the socially imposed pressures a woman faces once they reach their mid-twenties, or rather, the challenges I was facing.
I said, “my mum called the other day and told me that by the time I’m turning 27, I should be focused on bearing a child. And it’s not just her, I have friends in their mid-twenties who’ve shared the same story. Unfortunately, it’s a thing when you hit 25 years of age and above, when you’re a woman, what people are wondering is, do you have a partner? Are you married or engaged to be married at least? Oh, and when can we expect kids from you? They expect you to have somehow laid out your life’s plan flawlessly.”
I continued to say, “I don’t succumb to that kind of pressure because all I can think of is getting things right with me first, working on myself.” He was quick to counter my statement. He said, “your mum is right, and so is society because when women reach a certain age, they shut down…” “Shut down?!” I interrupted in shock. I then chuckled and told him that’s the wrong way to put it—as if women are baby baking ovens with a short life span. You’d think women quickly become rusty and outdated and can no longer function after! Can you believe this guy? Pffft! Ignorance must be bliss because his defense was, “that’s what we call it out in the streets”—of course, that was right before he went ahead to correct himself, “I meant menopause.” He continued, “first, we heard that menopause kicks in at 55 years, then it got to 50, now it’s 45, we don’t really know how low the age limit is going to get, and the ratio of men to women is decreasing daily.” And all I could think of is how he was saying all this in an attempt to justify why I ought to feel pressured.
At that moment, I did feel pressured, and I even started to question whether having kids is something that’s on the table for me. So, I did my math out loud and said,” I’m 25 now, and it’s not clear when I’m going to meet the father of my children, and even if it was clear, there’s no way in hell I’m bringing kids into this world if I’m not confident I can tend to their every need. Momentarily, I’m trying to make strides towards financial freedom. Say I meet a man tomorrow or even next year, and we fall deeply in love—marriage and starting a family is not something I’d jump into blindly. I’d need at least three years to date the man, get to know the man, and let the man know me. Shit! The situation of succumbing to the pressure doesn’t even make sense.”
Long after that conversation, I found myself thinking about the law of attraction. “It is simple,” I thought—”but not easy.” I, for one, believe in the law of attraction; I believe if I better myself, my thoughts and keep working towards progress as far as my goals are concerned, my gradual efforts will amount to the fulfillment of my dreams. The things I desire will manifest in my life. Yes, things may not unfold according to the timeline that I expected or the time-frame by which people think I should have done this or have that— but everything will fall into place in due time. Life is a step-by-step journey, and there are lessons learned to help you morph into the best possible version of yourself that there can be.
The process, however, is arduous, and the road gets bumpy—faith gets shaken. So, I asked myself, “what gets in my way?” The way of thinking and being better to attract better. Here’s what I came up with:
1. Fear of the unknown
2. Other people’s opinions
3. Constantly worrying instead of being
5. Seeking people’s approval
I have decided to free myself from all that. Fear of the unknown will only hold me back, and I need to keep moving. Well, as far as other people’s opinions go, it is their own damn concern, for I am entitled to live as I deem suitable, long as I’m not crossing anyone. I’ve been learning to free myself from the constant worrying. I came up with a mantra for that, “I am absolved of the worry; it is not mine to carry.” When I chant this, I feel lighter, and I immediately let go of things I can’t control. Self-doubt still gnaws at me from time to time, but I’m learning to trust my ability to do the things that I set out to do. The thing about seeking people’s approval is, it deprives you of a truly authentic life. It steals away your freedom of self-discovery.