A conversation with a number of colleagues ended up with us talking about what it would take for us to be happy.
We were seated in a room and we all went around explicitly speaking about what makes us tick. The first guy stepped up and with the proudest look on his face, said he hoped to travel and see the world. He spoke about it briefly as we all listened intently, held captive by his passion. The next guy spoke about how he wants to help people and give back to society. The person after was even more vocal about wanting to make a whole lot of money. He said he wanted to build an empire and live like a king. When it came to the next speaker, the look of uncertainty on his face was unmistakable. I was struck by this, seeing as he is generally a very confident person. We all encouraged him and assured him that no dream is too big or too menial. He mustered up his courage and told us that he wanted to find love and raise three cute little babies. The look on his face as he spoke about this was breathtaking. He seemed to be in a world of his own, almost as if he were envisioning the cutest little perfect world. He said he constantly imagined what his Saturday mornings would be like. Him in bed with his wife reading the paper, then his kids would skip into the room and jump on to their bed. As soon as this guy finished speaking, we all started laughing and kept laughing for an excruciating amount of time. There were a lot of slaps on his back and a lot of telling him to man up. I was so caught up in all the commotion, that I almost missed the look of defeat and shame on his face.
Later when I thought about this situation, I realized I should have been the one to be ashamed. Here was a guy, putting himself out there, showing up and there we were throwing sand in his face. When I thought long and hard about it, I realized we might have spoilt the chance for him ever being himself in front of anyone ever again. We might have made a robot out of a wholesome human being. I realized that the trauma and shame he would have had, from the experience, might well prevent him from ever telling anyone his truth again. The moment he wanted to show up and stand in front of someone, he would remember the sound of our laughter and slouch back into the crowd.
So often we put all these unnecessary and unreasonable demands on people. We have been so conditioned to expect certain things from people and if they stray from it, we ridicule them and turn our faces away from their truths. Yet in the midst of all this, we are also fighting to stray from what is expected from us. This is such despicable hypocrisy. I have especially seen this from the young ladies of this generation. We are out there challenging the norm, shouting at the top of our lungs that we want to be treated as equal as our male counterparts. This is only expected I agree. I however believe the converse also applies. If we want to be treated better, we need to set the ball rolling and treat others better. If we don’t want to be restricted by expectations, we have to embrace those who have broken free from the chains of expectations.
As a lady, I can’t go and rant and rave about a man trying to shame me simply because I am not as sensitive as he believes girls should be; yet turn and ridicule a man for not being as masculine as I expect him to be. There are all these unreasonable standards of masculinity and femininity that I believe we should toss in the trash. In a world where we are constantly trying to make everyone know that we are good enough, it would make things easier if we just accepted each other. If I want to be accepted despite my quirkiness, I have to come out and show other people that they are good enough irrespective of their weaknesses. If I want to feel good enough, I have to go out and let others know that they too are good enough. Click HERE to read more posts by Angela