How much they stretch us from our core

by Aanya F Niaz

There’s a certain way we are to talk, walk and be. There’s a way to hold your fork and knife; there is a manner in which we are to discretely cut the steak and swirl our red wine around. A gurgling sound, a satisfied deep breath and a conservative, yet liberalized thinking. We are taught to dream and what to dream of; to yearn for our heritage and sacred sir names. We are baptized to carry the torch of our father’s honor, name and grace. You could be a ballerina, but where’s the economic justice in that? You could be a classical pianist, but where’s the monetary justice in that? If you are a dreamer of sorts, you’re weird, strange in your presence at college parties and your hesitancy to drink out of the punch bowl. If you smoke, you’re an international croissant; crunchy on the outside but soft on the inside; but who wants to explore the soft, any way? We speak in literate sentences, we describe our emotions using certain adjectives. There is no this way or the other but the only way. Our bodies twist and turn but our shadows are taught to ache for the ordinary. Your head is in a jungle but you must deforest your thoughts and find the only way back to the waters. You are the son of your father and the brother of your sister; your identity is proclaimed upon birth, the minute they slap you to make you weep. You weep to be alive; lesson 1 is learned: to find a reason to live, you must weep tears of desperation while someone is thrusting their palms against your fragile body. If you have 10 toes and 10 finger nails, you’re normal. If you have none, you’re an alien not cut out for this world. Whose to say who you are? Whose to say who I am? Society, it seems. Lesson 2 is don’t run away from the process of socialization; it will only eat you alive. But the question is: how far can we run from it to still return to what is deemed normal in order to find peaceful existence? It is exhausting keeping yourself in a pedestal on another universe; it’s unjust to procure manners of life unique to your own and it is foolish to believe you are better than anyone because you are not.

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