We’re all supposed to fit into shapes.
You can’t be too much of this or that. We pretend the molds don’t exist and we pretend that we don’t believe in them, but they’re unsupressable and floating above our heads and figuratively tattooed on our foreheads. When someone doesn’t fit into any mold, we get mad.
It’s an easy way to live in this world. To know who belongs where, who deserves what and what they’re supposed to do. The world is melodious and predictable and those who belong know exactly where they stand. Those who do not categorize themselves and feel uncomfortable doing so seem sporadic in their movements through life.
There’s nothing wrong with feeling like you do fit in somewhere, somehow, because belonging can be one of the best feelings. There’s also nothing wrong with feeling like you don’t. It just pushes you around a bit harder. People trick you (and themselves) into thinking that you do fit into this or that, or they trick you into thinking that it’s not okay to be uncategorized in your characteristics. WE ALL HAVE TO BELONG SOMEWHERE! THE GOTHS, THE GEEKS, THE NERDS, THE HIPSTERS, THE SNOBS. The world is like high school except haunted with subsets. And since there are so many – then you have to be a part of one. It’s impossible that you aren’t.
I remember a classmate telling me, “Wow! You’re not the typical Indian girl! You’re so beautiful!”, a member of the Indian community asking my mother, “Your daughter is so beautiful, but she must have trouble with school, huh?”, a girl who didn’t like me spitting, “If you’re so smart, how come you have to study that much for standardized tests?” These questions are ridiculous. Why is there an idea of a typical Indian girl (Mindy Kaling basically invalidated all stereotypes against Indian women. As well as Freida Pinto, Deepika Paduoke – the list goes on) and why is she not “beautiful”? How come attractiveness is assumed to be negatively correlated to intelligence? And why are standardized tests deemed the only way to measure someone’s intellectual capability? Molds, that’s why. Indian girls aren’t meant to be beautiful to some people. Attractive women aren’t expected to do well in school. Intelligent people are supposed to be able to ace standardized tests effortlessly. That’s just how it is.
And we lie about it all the time. We have expectations of the world and the people in it and we cannot deny that sometimes, yes, we try to squeeze people into their respective boxes. It’s dreadful to admit to subjectivity. Beliefs and ideas and opinions are supposed to be universal, especially when it is regarding other human beings. Culture and mindset heavily influences the construction of molds, and although it is in our best interests, it’s hard to deny one without denying the other (yes, it is a common belief in my culture that if you focus too much on vanity, you aren’t intelligent – and although it is withering away, we have to remember that our grandparents and their parents and so on most likely believed this at one point). Ignorance and a stubborn mindset fuels the molds but in it is possible for the ignorance and stubbornness to lead to efficiency – you do this, I’ll do that, and we’ll live in harmony.
I truly don’t know who I am or what I am, but that’s only in regards to what other people may think of my identity. For me, I know that I don’t fit into any of the molds – and in fact, the molds don’t really exist. We don’t fit in anywhere – and we aren’t supposed to. It’s a human concept. In reality, we are separate entities and universes just coexisting, pretending that matter has a double-sided meaning.
Photo taken by me.