The Kenyan Nomad

The Kenyan Nomad

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Why Can't I Want?

I'm two chapters into a book entitled "Appetites:Why Women Want". It's been lying on my bedside table untouched for a few weeks, but I figured if I'm trying to stop being lazy about my writing, I may as well stop being lazy about my reading too. I'll start it back up tomorrow as I'll have some time to kill in the city before a jazz concert in the evening, and I thought now would be as good a time as any to write about what I think. I'm addressing this topic as a woman in her early twenties, but I'm sure that the topic of appetite is a problem for many who do not fall under this category.

I've always (well, not as a kid, but more recently) had a healthy appetite. It does fluctuate, but more often than not, I can out-eat most of my friends (and occasionally my family too). See, the weird thing is that many times, I find myself needing to justify this appetite, needing to explain why I'm eating what I'm eating. "Oh, I had a light lunch". "Yeah I worked out today so I'm super hungry". And so on, and so forth. Later on, I'll ask myself why I needed to do so; is having an appetite really such a shameful thing? 

Luckily with food, I've never had others tell me that my appetite was wrong or somehow dirty. Maybe it's because I've always been otherwise healthy and (mildly) in shape. Recently though, I began to notice ways in which other appetites seemed to be too much for society, and I know that I've heard similar things from other women who attended Sewanee (my alma mater). While I wasn't always vocally so, I've always been ambitious. I want to do well, and I'm confident enough in myself to believe that I can do so. Confidence is never something that we should have to apologise for; if I don't believe in myself, why should I expect any of you to? Yet, this confidence and desire to do well has been misconstrued in many ways; as being cocky, as being arrogant, as being selfish. 

I guess personally, I've moved beyond struggling with wanting to achieve many things, to accepting that by believing in myself, I may be able to. I know many other people who're the same way; they know what they want, and they aren't afraid to go after it. So why is it that what I want is regulated by what society thinks is appropriate? Are we trying to create a culture where confidence and belief in oneself is stifled in favour of not seeming arrogant or selfish? We all have insecurities, true; they're part of what makes us human. But choosing not to show these insecurities is in no way wrong, and you should never have to apologise for wanting what you do and believing in yourself.

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(Image courtesy of SplitShire).

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