It’s been three years since the last time I did anything remotely related to Statistics. My father knows this. And yet when he introduces me to his friends, he still says, “Meet my daughter, the Statistician.” He wouldn’t be caught dead telling people that I am a writer.
He, like most people I have encountered, is a slave to appearances. And I genuinely feel sorry for him and the likes of him.
People who are slaves to appearances don’t know how to be truly happy. They align all their decisions to societal dogmas. They second-guess every decision. They live in fear of what other people think of them. They are afraid to be judged.
So they wear their suits and ties and go off to under-paying, unprogressive and unsatisfying jobs. Because even though they are up to their necks in debt, at least they can tell people that they work for a big shot company, giving the impression that they have made it in life.
They wait at home, unemployed, because they won’t accept to work in places where they can’t take selfies wearing uncomfortably tight dresses and back-breaking shoes. They have to be behind a desk, in a rotating chair.
What they seem to forget is that being judgmental is a trait that is engraved even in the purest human being. Every time you step out into the world, someone is scrutinizing at least one aspect of your life and finding you inadequate in one way or another.
It could be your personality. You’re too loud. You’re too quiet. You’re too nice. You’re too hard. It might be about how much money you earn. Your financial success means that you stole from someone. Being poor means that you’re lazy. If you are part of the middle class, it’s because you play it too safe.
You’re even judged on the petty things like the way you talk, eat, laugh or smile. You can’t win with people. People are going to judge you no matter who you are or what you do.
So you might as well just live your life. You might as well put your classism aside and earn income as a chapatti seller if a white collar job is not forthcoming. Selling chapatti could even be your first priority because you’re good at it and it’s in demand.
You might as well go out with that nice man you’re afraid to be seen with because you told your friends you wouldn’t be caught dead with a short man.
You might as well move out of that fancy house and sell that car that you got on loan just to keep up appearances. You know you can’t afford these things and it’s keeping you awake at night.
People will judge you anyway. They will say words and offer nothing more. Whether you spend your life in conformance to their standards or live in eternal defiance is completely up to you. When all is said and done, you and you alone are the custodian of your life.