Thursday, October 16, 2014

Pretty is the new strong



Every time i look at this plant in the picture, growing in concrete, i am amazed.
It is quite well to grow to be a beautiful plant when you are watered and sheltered and taken care of daily, it is also seemingly easy to do that when you have soft, nourishing soil under your feet. But to grow out of concrete, with no guarantee of water, sunshine or shade and after all the hardship managing to look this pretty at the end of the day, must be taking an unimaginable amount of effort.

How do these delicate looking plants grow through the concrete? More than the plants growing through the concrete, it is the concrete that breaks around the plant. The concrete gives way to the plant, through the plant's sheer perseverance. Given, the concrete is porous and not really like a stone, but it is not soft, full of nourishment soil either. 

And look at the pretty little plant. In our minds, anything that strong cannot be that pretty and vice verse. The two are mutually exclusive.

I have heard numerous comments about a strong girl's body being described as masculine and a pretty little girl being ridiculed when it comes to arm wrestling. I have also seen the "masculine" girl at her "pretty" best and the pretty little girl putting up a tough fight. 

Strong is not big, strong is not bulk - strong is mental and physical capacity to withstand pressure. 

My mother always says " Be like a diamond, shiny and pretty on the outside, and strong on the inside". That is really the true worth of a diamond.

It is like my favorite quote "no matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up for life"

I love this quote on days when i am absolutely ready to give in. My cousin and i have our own phrase for this. We call it "powering through". 
No matter what, you say i am just going to power through this. So this applies to when i am exercising and have to finish that last tiring rep - i power through. And when i have had enough of social interactions, but there is one more party to attend - i power through. When i am sleepy, but there is work that needs to be done - i power through. When I have slept for an hour last night, but need to be up early morning - i power through.
We love this phrase. just saying it in my head, makes me feel so strong and capable of doing anything, feeling strong and pretty!

Pretty for us girls is not pink, lace and flowers, that is a perception that people have.
Pretty for us is doing what we want, pretty for us is working hard so we can get that dress or bag or oven that we have been eyeing. 
Pretty, is not getting our hair done, or make up applied, but about being ourselves, without any pretensions.
Pretty is cooking an elaborate meal for our loved ones to see the joy on their faces, pretty is not looking good for our husbands or boyfriends, but about feeling good about ourselves. 

Pretty is an emotion we feel - whether in cute dresses, or track pants.
Pretty is what we feel when we are trying to understand the working of our home wi-fi or getting new curtains for our house.
Pretty is what we feel when we are smeared with oil - either from our bike's or from the kitchen.
Pretty is when we feel strong, when we feel like we have conquered the world.
Pretty is what we feel when we know we have truly been blessed with a happy family, and pretty is what we feel when we are told we enrich someone's life.

Yes, we are pretty, but when we say pretty we don't mean how we look, but how we feel.
And that feeling has so many faces and expressions. Pretty is simple, yet complicated. 

When we talk of Cleopatra, we talk of her beauty - yes, she was striking and good looking by all accounts, but what she was remembered for was being a beautiful, complex woman who held her own in a male dominated era. She was known for her charm as well as manipulation, her sensuality, and her love for Antony. She is good and evil, pretty and strong.

So when people say - "you are strong...for a girl", take it as a compliment because they have no idea of the strength that lies within a girl.

Huffington Post had written an article earlier this year, about photographer Kate T Parker. Parker's message to her daughters was "be strong, be yourself, be honest and celebrate who you are."
The article was named "Strong is the new pretty"
Also, check out #Like a girl video, where they are fighting the negative impacts of stereotypes. "Doing anything...Like a girl" is not an insult, it is a compliment. It is acknowledging the immense strength that lies within them.

So fathers, next time let your daughters fix the bulb and ask your son to make tea for you when you come home.
Mothers teach your daughters how to change car tyres and your sons to make a perfect round roti.
Husbands let your wives drive on the highways and you can make and pack the picnic basket.

I want to go a step forward and say "pretty is the new strong"
Pretty not in the conventional sense of the word, but pretty as what i have tried to convey in this article. 



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