Society has created an illusion, a mould that they expect you to fit into. They try to twist your skin this way and that, to make you ‘beautiful.’ It’s said that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but what is to be done when the beholder has their own definition of beauty? You let them snip and snip and snip off strands of your hair, the strands falling to the ground under the mercy of their scissors. You let them cut and cut and cut out pieces of your body and put it somewhere else, reshaping your figure to fit the latest size trend. You let them paint and paint and paint toxic waste over your face, your natural beauty stolen to make you into a picture-perfect image of what they expect the next generation to look like.

You let them because you’ve been shackled in the dark for so long that you didn’t even notice when they removed your chains. Oppression on your free speech and thought has you becoming a lyre bird, mimicking the ideas you hear around you and making them your own. Is this really the fate you wish to succumb to? Is this your purpose in life?

A puppeteer is nothing without their puppets — so fight back. Open your mouth and scream; let yourself be heard. When they try to clamp a hand over your lips, bite back. Do what you need to be heard. Move your arms to give yourself a hug; let yourself feel the love. When they try to restrain your arms, throw a punch. Do what you need to accept yourself. Look up to the sky, to the vast sea of stars. When they try to force you to look back down, laugh with the moon and follow your dreams. Do what you need to feel free.

Do what has to be done, consequences be damned.

— a written piece by Sharuthie Ramesh