Sometimes when I think about the ideas that shape the way I think about myself and how I relate to the world the only response I can come up with is “I didn’t agree to this”. Like the concept that my worth in this world is dictated by my appearance and the size of my body. At no point in my life did anyone ever ask me if that standard was acceptable and whether or not I agreed. If asked, I might have said that this was bullshit and rejected the standard, but I was never asked. I was indoctrinated. In order to move through this world in a way that was more amicable and less painful I agreed to accept dogma that made no sense.
In reality, society has a list of bullshit rules that we’re all supposed to play by regardless of whether or not we accept them. Women are supposed to look a certain way, behave a certain way, engage in certain activities, and avoid other activities. All this to adhere to some sort of structure in which we didn’t agree to participate because we were never given a choice. On top of that, women who break the rules are shamed for their non-conformity. So, if we acknowledge that we didn’t agree to the rules and follow our own rules we are punished. The system even has a failsafe built in because women are conditioned to be overly concerned with what others think of them, so they abide by the rules in order to be accepted. We’re trapped in a system set up for failure in which we didn’t ask to participate.
Part of me wants to shout that I didn’t agree to this, please let me out. The other part of me fears the retribution that would come from such a balking of the system. Part of me wants to reject the rules entirely, and the other part of me wants to do anything it can to be fully accepted by the system.
This cognitive dissonance is a really painful place. The voice deep in my gut tells me that freedom lies in rejecting the system. The good little girl inside me says that it’s too dangerous. Right now, I can’t offer any insight or answers. I can finally see the system for what it is, but all I can do is stare. I’m at the top of the fence, stuck on the barbed wire, trying to decide which way to jump.