(Wo)Man in The Mirror

For the longest time, I used to think of all the things I'd have liked to change about myself. I would make a list of the flaws I saw when I looked into the mirror. I’d do this every summer before the start of a new academic year, usually because I was inspired by teen movies and romantic comedies. Then, as the summer progressed, I'd try to change everything that I had put on that list—from different glasses to new haircuts, and different diets. I thought that changing these aspects of me would make me have the best year possible.

However, then, I'd notice this strange thing. After a few weeks or months of adopting this new persona(lity), I'd want to go back to my old self. This isn't to say that I disliked the new me, but that I didn't feel like I was being true to myself.

 

Teen movies and TV shows place a lot of importance on the concept of reinvention. There's often a makeover scene where the conventionally ”unattractive” female protagonist emerges with a new hairstyle, a new look, and removes her glasses and/or braces. This usually cuts to a new scene where everyone fawns over this new improvement in her character, and she ends up getting everything she wished for. I can't even begin to describe not only how unrealistic this trope is, but also the standard it sets for audiences to follow. However, I can say this: you shouldn't feel the need to change yourself in order to fit in with everyone else.

The beginning of a university year can be a very confusing time, and the pressure to change oneself only makes it more difficult. Amongst things like finding your niche, your friend group, your prospective clubs and so on, you're also trying to find yourself and the person you want to become. You're inevitably going to be a different (hopefully better) version of yourself at every stage in your life, so the small, superficial changes shouldn't have to matter. A rather relevant thing I realized was that this ”reinvention” didn't have to be completely physical. For example, the summer before I left for university, I decided that I wanted to become less shy and let more people into my life. It's been about two months, and while I can't say that I've completely fulfilled this goal, I'm definitely trying my hardest to be a more open, optimistic person.

Photo by hannah grace on Unsplash
 

That being said, don't let this opinion discourage you from getting a new look. If you want to change your hair colour, go for it. If you want to create a whole new wardrobe, by all means, do it! It's your life at the end of the day, and the only opinion that should matter is your own. The point of this article isn't to stop anyone from living their life and trying their hardest to be the best version of themselves but to let you know that while change is good, you shouldn't feel compelled or pressured to reinvent yourself.

 

The person in the mirror just wants you to be yourself. The idea of a fresh start is certainly very exciting, but it's important to keep in mind that you shouldn't lose all of the characteristics that make you the person you are.

 

Edited by Rangoli Gupta