She rubbed the compact sponge aggressively against her dusky skin, she pressed harder and harder hoping that maybe today she’d look a little fairer than yesterday, that maybe today she wouldn’t be mocked by those nasty girls in her college who found mocking her dark skin a boost for their ego. Used tubes of fairness creams with false promises lay scattered across her dressing table. Their ads rang clear in her mind, the dusky girl whose life changes due to a fairness cream. She gets the job, the guy and she is suddenly beautiful. In other words she is fixed. Yes, of course: A Woman needs fair skin and good looks to achieve in things in life, when did talent get her anywhere?! Of course she needs to get her dark skin ‘fixed’ before even dreaming of a good life. Right?? WRONG. A woman is more than the color of her skin. She is more than the size of her waist. She is not ornamental. No, NO …she is a force of nature. She is dynamic, she is powerful and all the things she achieves in her life comes from hard work and sacrifice. How she looks doesn’t define her! We are not industry made goods with standardized sizes to be maintained. There are no standards. We are human. Imperfect and beautiful humans. So, why is it that I can’t breathe trying to keep up with the society’s expectations of how a woman should be? “That’s what I’m afraid of…not being enough. Not good enough, not smart enough, not pretty enough.” -Brooke Davis, One Tree Hill (Image is of Hollywood actress Sophia Bush who played the role of Brooke Davis in the US television series One Tree Hill) Modern culture, media, movies and celebrities portray women with a goddess like perfection. Every blemish and every wrinkle is hidden. Clones of perfection haunt our screens and our lives. They fail to inspire the greatest truth, that is, that the real goddess is within us. In our souls lies the true goddess, the daughter, the dreamer, the wife, the mother, the friend and the survivor. Actor Emma Watson once said ‘What gets scary is when your self worth gets tied up in what others think of you’. There is a lot of truth behind those words. Society has conditioned us into thinking that only if we look or act a certain way can we be appreciated as a woman. Singer Lana Del Ray sang in her hauntingly beautiful voice ‘Will you still love me when I’m no longer young and beautiful? Will you still love me when I ‘ve got nothing but my aching soul?’ In moments of weakness, when the pressure of a society which sees perfection as a norm comes crushing down on us, women wonder if self worth and love is measured in terms of physical beauty. It’s tragic how we can be pushed to such pits of low self esteem. Dusky skin, frizzy hair or pimples are things that make us real. Skin bruises, bones break, blood rushes through our veins, all these things remind us how real we are and that are not conditioned to achieve some sort of imaginary perfection. We were born to be the best version of our self but the best version of our self isn’t simply based on physical appearance, it is so much more. So be beautiful, spend hours at the salon for that special date or just because you feel like pampering yourself but do it because you want to for yourself not because you have to. Today go look in that mirror you’ve had a bittersweet relationship with and say ‘I’m enough’. Being me is enough. Because there can be no other you . ———— About the Author: This article is contributed by our intern, Ahana Roy Chowdhury.