Unlearning. It’s hard. It’s uncomfortable. Oh boy, it's tasking honestly. To take a dig at your mind space and pull out something so deep-rooted, so instilled by the society that you wonder, is it even worth it? Trust me, it is.
Falling in love, it's all-consuming. Every time you tighten your seatbelt and take a dive into this rollercoaster you are sure it's ‘till death do us part’. But ideas change, and you realize that your perception of love can change, it just needs the right stimulus. That's about it. Just because you were told that love is a handsome prince waiting to sweep you off your feet doesn’t mean you don’t get to rewrite the story. Rewrite your definition. Well, my sappy ass could write a truckload more about love but that's not the point right now.
The idea is to be open to new definitions. New meanings for things age-old. I am trying so darn hard every day to stop using words that are derogatory, which have been unintentionally ingrained into my vocabulary. I’ll be honest, it's disgusting. “Don't be a pussy, grow some balls already.” No. This is wrong. On so many levels I can’t even begin to comprehend how these sort of phrases are used so casually as though they mean nothing. A women's vagina is something sacred to her and I’ll be honest give me a call on the 16th of every month and I’ll tell you how powerful it is. Now, this in no way is telling that male genitals aren’t just as important, but it's about time we stop drawing parallels between gender and power, gender and confidence, gender and someone's ability to be themselves. Unlearn.
Having your life sorted out, waking up every day with a plan, a to-do list you follow to the T, a busy bee who knows what they want from life. It's funny how we so easily correlate happiness with getting your life together, as though uncertainty could never lead to solace. Kudos to those who have the energy to approach every day with an unkindled spirit, you might envy them. But, things don't come easy for them either, their life is complicated, too, they just happen to make it look effortless. And then there you are, confused and scared, unsure about what lies ahead. . Hey, it's okay. Life doesn't have to fit into a certain picture-perfect description. Maybe you need time, maybe you don't have to be so hard on yourself. You don't always have to be happy, you don't always have to have your shit together, you can have days where you want to rip your hair apart cause you are just so darn tired, it's okay. Unlearn.
“All men want is sex”. No, this is so not true, it needn’t be. Maybe he just wants cuddles, forehead kisses, maybe he even would like some flowers and chocolates on his bad days, maybe even on the good ones. And that’s okay. Maybe he isn’t okay with the way you are touching him, maybe he is screaming out a no in a voiceless void cause you didn’t even make it an option for him to give consent. Maybe he doesn’t want to be a pussy. Maybe he is scared that if he doesn’t man up, he’ll lose you. Men aren’t always hungry for physical intimacy, not that wanting it is wrong either but let’s stop making assumptions - give them the choice to define what they believe are their needs, their desires. Unlearn.
Growth is something extraordinary. You have to learn new things, new ideas in order to grow, but in the process, you have got to let go, you have got to unlearn. Clear up the slate so even though the faint imprints of chalk dust might peek through, you know that every time you unlearn and overwrite an idea so deeply instilled in your mind, it only leads to learning something more wonderful, something that helps you grow.
Many don’t witness a butterfly breaking out of her cocoon and expanding her wings, that transformation into a miraculous being. Now, imagine if she didn’t want to let go of the idea that her cocoon was her forever home, the only place she’d ever be safe. But she decided to break some notions, realizing that she hadn’t seen things, hadn’t experienced the world at its finest just because she was locked in. You are this butterfly, and you need to break loose from any notions, any ideas that are binding you to an outdated time, stopping you from really learning, from growing, from being free. Unlearn.
Sanskriti Pattanayak is a 20-year-old from Bangalore, India currently pursuing her Bachelor's in Computer Science. Her existence summed up in a phrase would be "Unicorn meets occasional Eeyore" (you must get Winnie the Pooh references). Find her on Instagram @sanskriti_11. Her other works can be viewed on her blog: https://sanskritipattanayak.wixsite.com/sanskriti/