Sometimes I wonder if when I was younger I possibly might have been diagnosed with Oppositional Defiant Disorder. Okay…maybe not exactly clinically oppostional. But I have been one stubborn person. And I have argued about certain rules and norms and refused to follow them. I have thought about the consequences of my actions and been fine with the path I’ve taken and the rules I’ve refused to obey. I don’t think I would be where I am today, 28 years on, if I hadn’t been stubborn. And mind you, I continue to be that way.
But anyway, I found myself thinking back to all the things I’ve opposed over the years and couldn’t help but smile at some of them.
I remember being told as an 8 year old by a 9 year old girl that I had to stop wearing shorts and start wearing skirts. Because, you know, girls should be more lady-like. I think that was the first time I opposed something with the encouragement of my mum. I had panicked on hearing this and went straight to mum and said so-and-so said this…is it true? And I got the response that I could wear whatever I wanted as long as I was comfortable. And thankfully, the shorts stayed as long as I felt comfortable in them [Which was until I hit puberty and put on weight and didn’t feel comfy in them!]. After all, imagine playing football in skirts!
I got told by several relatives to “not play in the sun” as it would darken my skin. Pfft. Football and cricket were way more important to me than my skin. And fast forward to current times, I think I love a tan even more because I know it shocks some people back in India about how dark I’ve become!! *evil grin*
At around 10 or so, I was told to sit by crossing my legs. Again, more lady-like you see. I think mum and other relatives said this. Outcome: I purposely sat with my legs uncrossed! I did try crossing them but it was uncomfortable.
When I was in the 9th grade, I had made up my mind I was going to do journalism and would hence get into the Arts stream after the 10th. All was good until I got my marks which were apparently good enough to get into Science. Then started the comments by well-wishers who brainwashed my mum who also started cajoling me take up Science. What will you do with an Arts degree? I got comments from family friends about my choice of college (St. Xavier’s, Mumbai) and how people did drugs and it had a ‘reputation’. My response to those family friends was that I had a brain of my own to choose whether or not I wanted to do drugs. And the college had an even better reputation for it Arts degrees! Imagine if I had been the docile, good Indian girl and caved to others’ expectations! God forbid!!! Those 5 years were amazing and made me so much more confident and independent minus the drugs!
When applying to come to Australia for further studies, I got similar comments about my degree choice. Are you sure doing psychology is a good idea? Your parents are spending all this money and what if you don’t get a job when you return? [They didn’t know my plans to stay back here!] What is this degree going to give you anyway?
More recently, it has been about marriage and how important it is. And my response to that: I doubt I’ll ever get married! Doesn’t mean I won’t have a relationship or have kids though. *evil grin*
I think listening to people telling me how to do things their way or according to the norm has always instilled this rage in me to show them otherwise. You can’t do much with psychology — I’ll show you! You can’t go to Xavier’s because you’ll become a junkie — I’ll show you! You have to be gentle and docile and lady-like — I’ll show you! Good girls don’t drink — I’ll show you!
The more people doubt me, the more that spurs me on. The more people say I shouldn’t do things, the more determined I become to do it and show them it’s not the end of the world [Not to the point of stupidity, of course!]
I still don’t know where I got that stubborn streak from. But I am so glad I have it!!
Until next time,