Sisterhood Of The Travelling Skirts

I am here now. Finally, in a skirt. It’s not that item of clothing that gave me inspiration to write this to you, it’s the feeling I got when I saw myself in it.

Artwork by Mohana

Today I wore a skirt to college. So what, you say. It’s such a trivial thing, how is it worth writing about? It indeed is a sorry state of womanhood that we live in today. No matter how far you run away from your inhibitions, they always catch up to you. To the point where some stop trying to run away and give in.

Give in to the expectations of society, of parents and snarky relatives. Give in to that perception of measuring your worth based on numbers. Of defining your identity on the basis of what you wear. Confining yourself to a Victorian system of femininity and masculinity.

And God forbid if you don’t fit in those moulds they make for you. God forbid you don’t choose to think the way they do. Because if you do, they will make sure to break you down. Break you so much that you can’t pick up the pieces they left behind. Shattered, spilled across your wardrobe, broken pieces of sanity. And god forbid if you have any self worth left after they’re done with you.

Because how dare you love yourself. You’re too fat. You’re too dark. You’re too skinny. You’re too short. You’re too tall. You dress like a boy. You talk like a girl. You shouldn’t wear shorts with those legs. You shouldn’t eat junk, you’re fat enough. You gained weight. You lost weight. You have too many pimples. You have so many stretch marks. Your hair, your eyes, your chin, your nails and this and that and this and that.

It took me too long to find myself out of this labyrinth. It took years off of my life. Years in which I should’ve been laughing, dancing, eating. Years where the only thing I should’ve cared about is what to have for dinner.

But instead they forced me to worry about how my face looked when I laughed, how my legs looks when I danced, how my size changed when I ate. They made me think there’s a monster in the image that reflected in the mirror. They made me doubt myself. And I know they did that to you too.

I am here now. Finally, in a skirt. It’s not that item of clothing that gave me inspiration to write this to you, it’s the feeling I got when I saw myself in it. Finally, I could feel myself give in to a new kind of pleasure. After a very long time in my life, I didn’t hate the person that stood in the mirror. She isn’t a monster. She’s me.

I am not the sum of all the numbers they associate with me. I am the sum of all my emotions, all my love, all my knowledge and my talent. I will not fit in their scales or their shirt sizes or their standards. Simply because they aren’t made for me. I am not the result of all the words they used to put me down. I am an ever flowing poem, made by the phrases of my existence. I fall, I fail, I fret and I forgive.

I forgive them for trying to change me. I forgive them for fitting me in a coffin full of botched up expectations. And I forgive myself for believing them. I don’t have a picture for you. My essence cannot be captured in single frame. My confidence cannot be reflected from a feigned Instagram post. It’ll course through my veins, slowly, encompassing all the small hurdles I set in my way, drowning them whole in the sea of my thoughts.

I wish the same for you. Do not run away from your void, embrace it. Because if I could do it, I know you can too.

About the author

Srishti Berry

Srishti is a brown, bisexual mess of anxiety and nerves. Her train of thoughts travel at crazy speeds, cross crossing each other, never staying put. She believes in the power of self expression and introspection, which are her two main motives to write. Srishti is currently an undergraduate English literature student at SGTB Khalsa College, Delhi University. She aims to write for big production houses and impact millions of lives just like her idols and inspirations do, but impacting even a handful of lives would be a good start.
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