The world will never be happy with you. You will always be too tall or too short, too fat or too thin, too quiet or too opinionated. There will always be a plethora of evidence that you’re not good enough. “Say what? You’re single? Why aren’t you in a relationship? Shall we set you up with someone?” Then, when you meet someone you like, you’ll get asked why you aren’t engaged yet. The minute you announce your engagement, everyone wants to know when you’re getting married. Straight after the wedding, and often before, you’ll get asked when you’re going to have babies. These questions are asked to appease a bunch of societal expectations that cannot be satisfied. Society has this unspoken idea of what ideal looks like, and when you don’t fit the mould, people don’t know what to do with you. They don’t know where to place you in their neatly constructed hierarchy of importance that cannot be challenged at any cost.
A friend who knows my medical history and knows that radiation has made it impossible for me to have children, cornered me the other day. He asked me when I’m having children (insert eye-roll emoji right there). I reminded him that it’s not going to happen naturally. He kept questioning and prodding. “Why don’t you make a plan? Why don’t you adopt?” I’m sure he meant well, but that line of questioning just felt intrusive. It is, in fact, none of his business. I’ve been asked this question by friends, by relatives, by acquaintances and clients. They’re not going to stop asking, because society has taught them that a woman without children couldn’t possibly be complete or whole. I think this was a moment of realisation for me. I realised that I don’t owe anyone an explanation. In future, I’m going to handle it differently. Instead of trying to explain circumstances I have no answers to, I’m just going to reply “that’s quite a personal question, don’t you think?” I’m hoping that this reply will stop the barrage of questions.
One of my favourite sayings is ‘you do you, boo’. Do you. Live your life without explaining yourself to anyone. Stand for what you believe in and be true to who you are at your core. Your circumstances or decisions might bother others, but you will never satisfy everyone, so you may as well stop trying. There is a vibrant, exciting life out there for you to live. Don’t let the expectations of others put a damper on it.
Until next time,