When did I become less? When did it start to matter that I am fat, don’t wear makeup, don’t have natural style, don’t look feminine? When did it become important that I fill in endless forms, keep the house tidy, have the right car? When did I begin to feel uneasy that I don’t know the right people, don’t fit in with the crowd, don’t have the same interests and priorities as most of the rest of the world?
When? Forever. I’ve always regretted not living up to – everyone else’s standards. In most areas of my life.
I’ve known for a long time that I’m measuring myself against false standards. I’ve fought against those standards for nearly as long. But that’s a pointless exercise. The world is not going to change – well it will, but not enough in my lifetime. I can, and should, fight against prejudice, narrow-mindedness, bigotry, sexism… fight not for tolerance, but for acceptance. Fight for an environment, whether microcosm or macrocosm, where I can feel accepted and loved and able to be myself, whatever that self turns out to be.
I do not much like this society we live in. There are some parts of it I love, but some elements that subject me and my loved ones to unbearable pressure. Fighting against it while trying to live in it is not going to work. So I need to disengage. I need to walk away. I need to step sideways out of the battle, and live a life I’m happy with.
I don’t know yet what form this disengagement will take in practical terms, although giving everything up in favour of a camper van and the travelling life is becoming an increasingly attractive idea. But I do know that whatever changes happen will start with my emotional disengagement and refusal to deal with unnecessary judgement and pointless demands.