I was often told that I walk with my legs a bit too apart, like a penguin. Wonder to call it normal, since so many people have pointed this out that at some point of time, I did think of myself having some defect or disorder.
You walk as if you are coming to hit someone, they would say.
‘They’ include my friends, my colleagues and my mother who obviously has to take care of how I look, dress up, talk and walk! Even while I struggled painfully in the only heels I got for my graduation day, she persuaded me to buy more.
The people, who taught me dancing, said I had a ‘different’ style. I took ‘different’ as bad because I was the one who had to toil in my group to catch up with others. Another dance group that I joined went on to say that I need to be more feminine.
I did envy the flat, chiselled abdomens of my fellow dancers, achieved out of the regular dancing and intensive workout, but I would say that is not my style and I decided I prioritized food over anything else.
A little or no attention was my response to the stimuli, though I did work hard on my dance steps, trying to make them perfect. Body-clinging shirts and tops during the practice hours were mandatory so that we notice how the body moves and perfect our postures. The second reason was to bring out the sensuality during the dance.
I defied the norms and started wearing loose superheroes shirts and I still wear them for practice — simply because they are comfortable and don’t stick to the body after profuse sweating.
A lot of time passed and one fine day my best friend’s roommate pointed it out saying your walk is a little weird.
Spine straight and chest out, that was how she made me stand. No don’t thrust your chest out, she said correcting my posture and making me walk. Feet close to each other and walk straight she said, there! A little change and you look like a lady!
I, without a doubt, know I am a female. If walking in a way enhances my gender-specific features, exactly do I need to do that? WHY?
Honestly, some of it did stay in my head for long after this incident because I never knew her roommate. A complete stranger pointed at me the day that day I met her — it was strange and bothersome.
I actually practised being a ‘lady’. I would get conscious about what others might think, watching me walk like a Yeti towards them. I was a female after all and knowingly or unknowingly we do get jitters if we don’t portray ourselves as good as up to our satisfaction in public.
One of those days, I got tired of trying to be impeccable. I still get to hear a lot from a lot of people, who want me to behave like a girl, dress up like one and carry the politeness of a lady. But, I stay indifferent to comments and bits of advice. Now, I just like to be myself. I realized that I don’t need anyone to define the way I should be.
So these days, I just think a little less and walk more.