Adjectives are not for Yourself

Sruthi Korlakunta
3 min readOct 22, 2020
Photo by Kyle Head on Unsplash, Bee by author

Am I fat? thin? behave feminine? have long hair? too slow? fast? generous? loving?

These are all questions I bother myself about very often. After a moment of reflection, I realized the glaring redundancy in these questions. I never “behaved like a girl”, “like a thin person” or a “smart person”. I couldn’t! it is technically impossible because I AM my frame of reference for the rest of the world. Whereas I am my coordinate system, everyone else are points on it. I am a person, who abides by what makes me fit in the most.

Take for example, claims to my femininity. I don't “behave” feminine or masculine. I behave in a certain way. I then see in the society that people with similar genitals to mine behave in a certain way. I imply the same behavior to myself to “fit-in”, and begin with the only common ground of identity there is at birth, which is genitals. The next time I have on a push-up bra or a baby-voice, a “man” smiles at me and pays for my drink. This makes me feel “rewarded” for being what is socially called “feminine”, because of which I go out into the world armed with more borrowed features which are “feminine”. What varies from person to person is the reward function. Sometimes it is the pat on the back from the family, which might make “conservative” stereotypes my reward function because I feel the safest being accepted by the family. Other times, it is the society that I turn to for my reward. Since either my family isn't as rewarding or the family rewards being accepted by society.

There is no possibility that I even know what it is like being another adjective. It is not like there is a big box of adjectives to choose from at the outset and I pick the one I like the most. There is no space of “no adjective” in my life, during which I walk up to the right box for an adjective of my choosing. Or, my entire life is a frantic run for adjectives from box to box, while never settling on one. Like making trips to the clothes section every time you realized the dress you loved at the mirror did not look great in the dressing room after all. The best you can do here is not to settle on an adjective, but realize, that no matter how much you love it, it is not yours forever. Better still, you realize that this is the case for everyone in the world.

Look at yourself, long and hard. Don’t look at a woman, a man, a boss, an employee, a millionaire or anything else. Look at yourself before you choose, before you think, before you act or before you give up. There is you, and your want. Strip all the lies, pluck all the adjectives, orient yourself to your frame of reference and choose what you will, regardless of what adjective you “are”.

You are, and everything else can be an adjective.

Sruthi Korlakunta

I write on tech, books, and lifestyle. | Data analyst | Made human by all the people who love me.