My facebook pictures have never been selfies. They’ve always been happy-happy family ones or couple types that would gets lots of “aww” responses (ok, too cutsie, I know – *cringe*) I’ve, somehow, never put one up of just me.
And here’s the thing, it didn’t even occur to me to do it. ( I am not too much of a facebook person and like to stay dormant mostly). When it finally did dawn upon me, my first reaction was to analyze why I hadn’t thought about it before (why let up a perfectly good opportunity for introspection?)
I had many explanations in my head – you know, the typical, I-have-submitted-my-identity to the family, I have lost my individuality, I see myself as a mother and wife first – all that self-depreciating crap that women love to mull over and then do damn all about it. So, me being the textbook X chromosome explored it from all angles and came to the conclusion that in the past few years I’ve done little for myself and even when I’ve thought of doing something which would not have involved the family, I’ve been bogged down with unexplained guilt and dropped the idea. Why? don’t ask. Like I said, I am quite your archetypical X chromosome.
The irony, however, is that I always lost patience with my mum all through my growing years, when I saw her do the same. She would always put us and our dad before her own wishes – always, always, always! And it irritated me. Even today my father logs on to her mail and then tells her that so and so has written, blah blah blah, because he likes to be in control and she does not protest. She’s an extremely intelligent self-made woman who has built a great institution, but at home she’s the wife who will submit herself to the fancies of her family and sacrifice her own desires for, well, for domestic peace.
I am not my mum. Not by a long shot – I have not the will and the determination that she seems to posses in copious amounts. And yet, I am the wife and mother who will (almost) never do something for herself. One instance – I never catch a movie with my friends. I love film, I can tell you that, and I am one of those weirdos who can go for one alone. When I lived in New York, I’d watch anything that caught my fancy (and a lot did). Now, I live walking distance from a cinema hall, and yet it never occurs to me to skip away for a few hours and come back a much happier person. No, I don’t do it.
Each day, I live minute by minute, get sucked into this and that around the house, do some writing and before I know it, the day has gone and I am reading to the kids in bed. Then when I lie down, I think about the day gone, about the day ahead and about what I want to do with my life. Or, I play Candy Crush till I run out of lives, then ask my husband what level he’s reached, express my jealousy and the next minute, I am asleep. That’s it. Day over.
So anyway, back to the profile picture (see what it unleashed?) After all the why and I should etc, I decided to put one up of myself alone. Not that this was an easy task. Because now I had to find one (the selfies come out distorted and I hated them all!). This led to another set of interesting observations. I don’t have any of me alone. All are with family etc. I could’ve cropped one out but I’ve never been a fan of those, they seem culled, and don’t end up looking that great. So, then, what was the revelation this time? Not much different; that I am always the one clicking the pictures and never really hand the camera to anyone else to get one of me by myself. I am the gatherer, always in garnering mode – get the flock together and take that perfect family pic, that sort. My husband is the opposite and strangely, I do see his point.
The profile picture, thus, remains the same. It’s a nice one of husband and me and I am okay about not changing it, not till I find a suitable one which seems worthy and has potential of many likes (I know -*cringe*).
The bigger picture, however is so – that the need to change my profile picture is symptomatic of a larger attitude that I am now trying to embrace – one of getting my life back, bit by bit. The past few years have swallowed away chunks of my individuality and while I understand that that’s what rearing is about sometimes, I am now keen to get back on my feet and reclaim a bit of myself. Sounds corny? Probably. But this is what life is about – about seeing truth in aphorisms and platitudes. It’s true. I used to dump on housewives who went for kitty parties and now I have respect for them – that’s one thing they do for themselves and enjoy. When I see a group of middle aged women in a restaurant cackling like schoolgirls, I applaud them in my mind for living the little life they enjoy. I am not sure what their profile pictures are like ( my bet is on family-type, though) but when they come out and meet their friends, they’ve left domesticity behind and are, for that moment at least, living for themselves.They have my new found respect.