Whenever you've wanted to do or say something unconventional in your life, have you ever had someone tell you (or told yourself) : "You'd better not - what would 'they' think?'
Who the heck are 'they' and perhaps, more importantly, why the heck should you care what 'they' think? The illusive group, otherwise known as 'they', have featured prominently in my life.
I've made many decisions based on what 'they' would think. I contemplated dancing on a table once just because I felt like it (not because of the amount of alcohol that was imbibed, promise!). I didn't because of what 'they' would think.
When I wanted to wear a dangerously short, tight, skirt to an event (Ally McBeal was all the rage then), I didn't because I was afraid that 'they' would disapprove.
In my mind's eye 'they' vaguely resemble a bunch of infuriating relatives. Its like having a group of old-fashioned, annoying aunties sitting on your shoulder everywhere you go, admonishing you - a truly terrifying thought! They look something like this except they're all Indian:
What is it about being human that makes all of us SO very susceptible to other people's opinion of everything we say and everything we do? We worry about other people's idea of us even if they happen to be nameless and faceless. It is a constant struggle not to take any notice of everyone else and follow our chosen path in life - even if it means that it’s a route nobody else has taken or will approve of.
This means that if your goal in life is to be a tattoo artist than a tattoo artist you should be. How horrible if you spent an entire lifetime trapped in the life of, say, an accountant when all you want to do is to use people's skin as canvas (okay, that sounds a pretty gross but you get the idea).
I think its doubly hard in Asia where pleasing your parents and fitting into the community are considered virtues of the highest order. How do you tell your parents, who want only the best for their darling son/daughter, that their child's sole aspiration in life is to be an RTM background dancer? (alright, bad example but there could be people out there who want that, couldn't there?)
Despite my best efforts not to, I still catch myself thinking about 'them' and their opinion . I suspect that the only way I'll finally stop is when I cease to worry about what others think of me. This will probably happen only when I myself am an annoying old aunty telling young people what to do.....sigh!