Trying to find clothes that fit and make me feel good had always been a problem for me. Being the fat girl since kindergarten, I used to wear my parents’ clothes to avoid the discomfort of shopping. When entering High School, I got sick of feeling ugly and started my journey to find my clothes.
As I predicted, I cannot afford those clothes. I am an average girl with not so average body and that means I can only afford normal clothes. Clothes that fit my sister and the majority of women in Indonesia in statistic but not me. People in my life even said, “If you want the clothes to fit, then be thin like other girls!” I do not want to be the fat girl in the first place, buddy. Why being “not like other girls” when I cannot afford being “special” anyway.
It is not like there were no clothes that theoretically will make me feel beautiful, I just cannot afford it. There are certain things you cannot afford for many reasons. Just like education, society provided clothing that fit the social norms and the majority of people. My question at that time, what kind of majority?
Getting clothes is the same as getting an education. Let me explain in detail so you can see my perspective even though surely you know how I feel about school by now. By the way, I am a student in public school for all my educational experiences and I fit the XL-XXL size of women clothing with popped buttons. I can fit the normal scale with few pin and tears.
Getting clothes is not just for protection to some people, clothes can be an identity. A brand can determine one’s status and worth in society. Parents want their children to be accepted at a favorite school. Just like clothing, there is some prestigious school and there is “this is the only thing I can afford” school.
To be a symbol, clothing and education should be worth something. And like every other thing in this world, money is that something. If you have money, you can afford to buy clothing from international designer and going to college overseas, or at least getting private tutors so you can be accepted at a favorite school in your country. In my high school, one teacher even expected us going to cram school, and every so often said, “You already learned it at cram school.” I was not going to cram school and needless to say I failed on that subject.
Another resource that often does not get enough credit is energy. Even though you have money, you must spend your energy to get the clothes you want and to take a test at school. What people should do in a day is dictated by social expectation. Sadly, not everyone can do homework and make a brilliant art piece while having a cup of coffee with their friends at the same time. It is not about being lazy, it is about not having the energy.
Speaking of energy, to have enough energy you need to be healthy. Healthy. Defining being healthy is a whole different matter, but society has already provided us with a guide in Indonesia. Being healthy means you can fit M size clothing, have friends, be active in the classroom, exercising three times a week at minimal and smiling 24/7. If you are not that healthy, at least you must be healthy enough to put up with twelve years of school before going to higher education or trying to get a job.
Lastly, it can be a painful experience. Society provided us with limited choices and sometimes we cannot afford those choices. As a child, the freedom of choosing is much more limited than those limitations created by society. Our circumstances are what limits us.
Some people break their limitation, but I am not talking about them. I am talking about a girl, crying on the bed all day on Sundays, dreading how her reflection in the mirror will show after putting on her uniform while staring onto calculus homework that every student has to understand. I am talking about a girl who needs to beat her boy cousins in every subject at school so she can continue her education “even though she is a girl.” I am talking about this girl, a freshman in university majoring in something her parents approved, cannot afford her interest and hating herself for so long that she becomes numb.
Getting clothes is the same as getting an education. It should be a right but it is a privilege.