“The flower that blooms in adversity is the rarest and most beautiful of all.”
― Walt Disney Company, Mulan
I would like to introduce you to one of the biggest inspirations of my life. My middle sister. I have watched her overcome many hurdles, deal with very painful situations, work against the odds and she still strives and thrives. She provided me with the strength to keep going; growing into someone who was so aware of the person she wanted to be, made we want it. She made me feel like I shouldn’t just resign out of life just waiting for something to happen, to change the monotony I was stuck in. She showed me that hard work does pay off, there is no time frame on when you will get paid the dividends but that doesn’t mean you just give up. She carried on going even when things seemed fruitless. It doesn’t matter where the strength comes from, whether someone is younger or older than you, you have to take it in whatever form it comes.
Even while planning her wedding, she’s considering all other things which can improve the life of our family whilst also working on her own. There is just this endless capacity to provide for everyone and I commend her, as she’s done it while I haven’t been able to. I should have been at the forefront like she is but I wasn’t able to deal with the pressure and responsibility but she has taken it in her stride.
I will have to admit this has been a really tough pill to swallow over the years, from being a person always in control and having people look up to me. To someone who feels vulnerable around her own siblings, there was a lot of internal turmoil in me accepting my place wasn’t at the top; being the one able to own responsibilities.
As of late, marriage is the number one topic in my household. As she is getting married and because I didn’t nail the ‘older daughter and granddaughter role’ on both maternal and paternal sides. She has now been able to provide some joy to the family. Because as I said marriage is the only happiness people celebrate.
I am not in any way putting a damper on my sister’s wedding or feeling any form of resentment. Which many people would expect. I am glad she has found her happiness, after years of working on herself and becoming the person she is. She is now able to give everyone what they have waited for with baited breath.
I am actually immensely grateful that she’s carried the baton for me. Furthermore, I am so glad that it is this way, I may not have to have the whole shebang and the millions of eyes staring at me when ultimately I would rather just not have the attention. But this is what getting married is and I am happy she’s there.
The other reason marriage is a topic in which I feel that I am torn is because for so long that’s all I wanted and still I have phases when I wake up and just want it so bad. To have someone that’s just available for you in ways others cannot be, is so appealing. Sharing the deepest thoughts and being just you. No barrier, no makeup …..just purely naked. I wouldn’t want to say the person is ‘just yours’ because I don’t think you can just own something like that or place that much of a dependence on someone. And for so long that’s what I craved, wanting the dependence. At the end the day life changes, people change. Situations change people and those people you once knew so well, literally become ‘Someone you used to know…’ I found this notion sad years ago when I was in a relationship and heard of someone ending one, when they were due to be married. And it hit me, it could be possible that this one person you know, may actually be someone who means nothing to you at some point. And for that reason and after going through a break up I find myself conflicted when thinking about marriage.
I don’t think cheating is ok…and maybe I need to think about it more but something in me always understands a person moving on. Or finding someone else. I don’t wish it upon anyone. But I find that the drive to just find the ‘one’ makes anyone think, someone who is there/potentially compatible seem like they are the ‘one’. You may have found someone in your vicinity at that time in your life, that you think is the ‘one’ and then you have the pressure of getting married by a certain age you may just do it because you don’t know anything else. I am not saying this is the case for all but I have seen this occur myself. Well, that’s just the concoction of doom. And with that comes, people sometimes finding or even looking for something else. Someone who may fit, that much better. Without the pressure or the rush you are more likely to be able to find someone more compatible with. Hence why I am NOW, so adamant to know me, because I would have either been the one to cheat or be cheated on. Obviously the latter, I am too loyal for it to be the former.
The other side of it is being totally invested. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that, that’s meant to the point right? The two souls becoming one? But you naturally will become dependent, the person becomes your home. You build everything around this, the home includes everything you hold dearly. And this is the pessimist in me, one day it could all change. Nothing is meant to be permanent, even a paper binding two souls together in front of god. Just, as with everything else someone decided the rules, someone decided what words I should be writing down right now. Those words are not your choice, they are society’s. I can’t call love a potato but imagine you lived in a world when potato meant love and love meant potato……would you feel differently?
I do, find myself wanting to be married because I like the cosy feeling it brings but don’t want to be in a position to depend on anything but myself. Don’t get me wrong I love a gentleman, I want someone to look after me, let my problems be theirs and that will be more than reciprocated but would I be able to stop the lines from blurring and end up just giving into the fairy tale every girl wants? I’ve always wanted to be the damsel, wondered if a man would hold my honour when faced with mean people. But I’ve also learnt to do it all myself too.
I say all this but in the depths (ok maybe not that deep), this is all I seek. I want the husband and the family. And this is after all the things I have thought about. Whatever the outcome, I think it’s worth it. Sharing your passions and thoughts with someone who wants to know it all. Just saying, I think friends can provide that too….but I will remain in the hope it may be something I can find.
And considering marriage, comes the attention. I mentioned that I didn’t want the attention from a wedding and this is where I suppose also I find myself a dichotomy as I LOVE clothes, shoes and accessories – typical girl, you say and yes maybe, but for me it is flowing through my blood, my veins pump for it and (it) gives me a reason to go out into the day. I love being different and that comes out in the way I dress but as you can imagine this also means I get many looks…this used to give me anxiety and stop me from being me, even through my clothes. But as of late I have just decided to go for it and basically fake it until I make it…..which for me is walking down the road with my head held high. Instead of wishing people weren’t looking at me, wondering if there is something on my face or whether my clothing is hitched up.
This has always been a big issue for me, my self-confidence. I am not sure where it stemmed from but it became so intertwined in my life I couldn’t separate living, from not being self-conscious, it is so deep rooted into the way I am it would take someone to understand the soil I was first planted in to understand where it came from. Low self esteem as well as anxiety has been a constant in my life. I suppose some part of it was my battling acne since I was 12 years old, it’s never really gone but has lessened over the years. At the peak, I couldn’t even handle having to cover it up, all the bumps and crevasses, I knew I was making it worse but the thought of leaving the house without anything over it made me sick to the pit of my stomach. I recall the days I started going to Guy’s and St Thomas’ hospital all the way in Waterloo and I was told not to wear makeup. This journey was on the tube and I was so exposed I used to beg my dad to go to the furthest station so I wouldn’t have to sit there and wonder if people were looking at my face. I couldn’t explain this because no one gets it unless you have it. Also you really just don’t know what it feels like, unless you are there. You don’t know if someone would be looking at you or your skin and this resulted in me not having much eye contact over the years and I stopped looking at mirrors. I would just look at my clothes and just pray my face would be ok. People made everything look so flawless I just expected to pat some foundation on my face and it would just do its job. It’s like when you wear a skirt and hope that the seam of your tights isn’t hanging out of bottom because you know these things, just should work…….it doesn’t work like that, even if you will it to.
I, still to this day have my sisters ask me what I have done with my face, now this was mix of me rushing and just slapping on whatever hoping for the best. And also having terrible eyesight but ultimately it was looking in a mirror. I didn’t want to look at myself I couldn’t hold my gaze…..it horrified me, I couldn’t see another imperfection. I didn’t want to know there was another hideous spot, it was too much and I just wished I could wake up with no problem and literally say ‘I woke up like this’. But I never do. That saying was never true for me and it just felt like another failure. That’s why when I take a selfie, I will have a #rbf or will be looking at the floor. Its became a habit one I don’t know if I am ok with shaking.
To add to this, during the ‘earth shattering’ break up you will soon hear about, I was also given the excuse of ‘How would you look in the morning to my family?’….it was something like that. I have tried to block it out. But the absolute horror when he picked on the one thing that really stung more than anything. My biggest insecurity, it was literally slapped in my face and it broke me more than anything else has.
I have to keep reiterating this, we need to be kinder to people. We aren’t wired the same. Things sting people and you won’t even know it. The person will be dying inside but not say a word to you. They will go home and cry in the dark because you hit that one nerve. The one, they have so carefully been trying to plaster over but sometimes that plaster doesn’t dry and you may have reopened the crack. Please consider this next time you feel compelled to make a snide comment or bitch to your friend. You might think the other person didn’t hear or know but sometimes the most insecure people are the most aware….I know it…
Which brings me onto this new phenomenon, which may be ‘old’ by now. I find this whole #roastme thing absolutely ridiculous. Why would you want someone to call out your insecurities? Or worse still, something you hadn’t even thought was a problem with you. I’ll be honest, if I had put myself up for this, it would only be because I would hope the other person would be like….’I have nothing to ‘roast’ you about. Everyone wants the validation but this is not the way. I don’t know if this is something already but maybe we should start #toastme. Let’s be nice people, it doesn’t take a lot. If Eve didn’t end up putting some clothes on, because obviously SHE ate the apple, we would see more than just faces passing you in the road. Embrace something about you.
Hiking back to the age old tale of ‘marriage is life’ . I recall saying to my mum…That I didn’t die because I didn’t get married at 30. I am still here and breathing, I am not going to deny that at points I really didn’t want to be here and didn’t want to survive to suffer another day of gloom and disappointment. I know what I just stated sounds so DQ’ish (Copyright) (Drama Queen ish) but I find that your own pain is relative and for me it was more of not wanting to deal with the hum drum of being sad anymore. As much as I tried to think people are dealing with worse things out there, it made no difference because your pain and your way of thinking is unique so it doesn’t matter if you aren’t dealing with some form of injustice, pain or problems each person can only feel the way they feel about it. And trying to compare won’t lead to anything good, you’ll either feel bad for feeling so crap when people are dealing with so much more and you just fall into the trap of overthinking and cannot get out of your own head. Or you’ll wonder why its happening to you and not anyone else. So whether your pain comes from, disappointment in where you are, the lack of confidence in your self-appearance and the various other things that could be a problem. Just know this, to someone else your issues won’t even be a problem, don’t be so consumed in thinking everyone thinks all the bad things about you. Maybe some of them, don’t, there are nice people out there just be open to finding them. You have to be ok to open yourself up to find it, its just not as easy as putting up a Instagram post but its worth it.
***Note: all the drawings are my own, even if they look like a child’s***