I went a supermarket in loose pants and papa’s tshirt. R said she wishes she
was as confident as me. I don’t think I am confident, never have; and yet, I hear this a lot.

When I cut my hair short, colour my hair, wear a bikini, or that one time
when I walked around the venue of an Art Science festival’s inauguration
ceremony in a dhoti drapped over my dress (long story), I get called confident.

And here I am assuming confidence must feel like something, not just the lack of care; that it’ll make me feel sure of myself or at least sure of this one
thing I seem confident about, I would even take a bloated chest for a sign. I
feel none of that. I don’t not care about people’s opinions either. and today,
while watering my plats, I figured why this cheap replica of confidence is
confused with the real thing.

I was watering my aloe vera after 2 weeks of neglect. Dadi saw my guilt and said “Don’t worry about this plant, it’s a shameless kind. Neglect it or over
water it, they’ll keep being” aah! I thought and I a bulb appeared over my head.

What people think of as confident is just shamelessness. I don’t care if
people at the supermarket or the inauguration think I have a warped sense of style or that I am narcissistic. I just wasn’t brought up with the nicest
clothes and haircuts (I wore any clothing sold by Apna Bazaar that resembled my friend’s which were picked by her mother. The hair, I neither had an option or an opinion about; oiled plaits with a sharp parting. I got made fun of, even bullied: I had an aunt who annually (& theatrically) called me gavar, told my cousins that my clothes are gross, hair worse and that my jaw line or lips would take surgeries to fix) I was 10 with no way to change any of the above; and honestly they didn’t seem like priority when mumma was in asylum. So I thought: this is what it is and it will have to keep not defining who I am. I studied, read and cared only about growing up.

What I am trying to get at is: I don’t want majoritarian/abilist rules to define
my mental health and how it seems, my career, life, biological clock and how they seem. I don’t aim to be confident about my choices pertaining to them. Confidence is hard. I just want to be an Aloe Vera.

Painting by Pranav Adhiyal

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