Off late I have been growing my hair. It has actually been 14 months since I last had a haircut. I looked up in the mirror recently and saw my hairs parting from the middle all by themselves. That brought up a conversation in my head that I had had with my Mom when I was around 13 years old and had expressed my desire to have long locks. She was of the opinion that if I intended to be perceived a “good” boy by my teachers I should cut my hair short because that shows discipline and that’s what makes “good” boys. At that age I did not have the argument powers with my mom, and was always afraid of one of her brutal statements: “Do whatever you like”. So I matched my mom’s liking with mine and moved on. As expected I completed school, went through engineering college and got a job all in short hairs. Now that I finally do get to do what I want with full support from her, no strings attached, I questioned myself whether I am a different me in these long hairs or it’s still the same guy but with a different look.
I still feel and react the same way as I had done before. Nothing in me has changed that wasn’t there when the locks were short. I still stand by my words, backup all my promises with action and effort and don’t do things just because I can do them. I am inch by inch the same person that was there 14 months ago. Nothing has changed and I am pretty sure nothing ever will change. Then was my Mom wrong? Was it just her own preference that she wanted her only kid to look a particular way, which had prompted her to make up that story about people and their perceptions? Was I wrong in blindly following what she said, did it speak bad about my character and will power? Should I have just grown my hairs long to see what happens and just don’t care what my mom had to say? After all facing consequences of his actions is what a Man is known for.
I gave it a thought and no matter how much effort I put, I could not justify that I was wrong in following my mom’s advice. Well in hind sight its advice but during those days, they were orders. I now realize that the mere fact that I understand the value of inner character and strength was instilled in those years and that it was the direct result of my upbringing. In fact the whole value system in me was formed because of how I grew up. It was a point in my life where I could not have afforded being wrong. Naïve as I was, that age wasn’t for making statements, it was about making yourself. I had a lot of growing up to do, not just for me but also for my family. Their life was more at stake than mine.
Humans, no matter how open minded they think they are; they do follow set stereotypes more often than not. A fact, that I now understand much better than I did a decade back. So when she said that I would be perceived in a different way, she was actually making this point that I would be type casted and might not get the desired recognition. For a kid being good, is just a matter of how people around him think him to be. This fact, as simple as it sounds, did not make much sense back then. So to buckle down and do as told was not a bad decision on my part.
I always knew “Do whatever you like” means do as told! And once again this conversation brings the same feelings that had I gone my way it would have been a mistake. May be not too big on my part, as I had the energy of the youth to take me through. But on their part as they would have had a challenging twilight to their lives.
I am glad I followed!!