Image: Nadia Fouz, http://www.theaoi.com
She kept on reading and re-reading the comments flooding her Facebook page, barely ten minutes after she had uploaded her brand new profile picture. It had taken her one week of secretly throwing up all the lunch her mom carefully packed for her before she left for work. The company trip to Goa over the weekend was, of course, like all work trips are. You only have to get just enough work done, before the setting Sun signals a break to the routine and the beginning of guilt free shenanigans.
It was an addiction like none other. Society’s kiss on our forehead becomes far more important when we forget what our own value is. She spent most of her days obsessing about societal perceptions about her, unseeing the destruction when the flashbulbs stopped flashing and it was time to go home and look into the mirror. Every hour, minute, second, seemingly filled with routine life, set like a pattern in stone; but in reality, spent agonizing over positive feedback over a filtered image, romantic in hue and empty in detail.
It was almost like she had forgotten how to walk without crutches, with her head held high.
Mothers always know. And her mother silently watched her everyday. Fading fast, becoming the person her daughter wasn’t. Becoming the one who needed help with thinking positively. Becoming the one who needed to see the world through coloured lens instead of watching shades change and mature on their own. She watched quietly, as her daughter persevered to become a high street version of everything she had not raised her as. She was now beginning to see the grim effects of what society assumed was normal, because in reality, it was leading everyone, including her own daughter to destruction.
It was not like she did not want to intervene. But, when validation becomes your drug, it is exceedingly difficult to be happy with self-appreciation. Her daughter’s need to prove herself, stay relevant, stay on top of the game and own everything she touched almost made everything else seem unimportant. It seemed like she was running fast to the finish line, only she did not know that the prize was a black hole.
Why, is it that we need someone to tell us that we are beautiful, talented, capable, responsible, amiable, social, smart, resourceful? Why, do we seek answers from external sources, when they lie within? Why, do we destroy ourselves hoping to create a phoenix, while all that flies around is ash?
But sometimes, all you can do is watch. And let life take its course. Because we may not live long enough to make every mistake in life, but there might be a lesson for everyone from our mistakes.