On Limits

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Another year, another birthday on the horizon. Sometimes, I need to give myself a swift kick in the bum, because I can be very forgetful on occasion. And by “forgetful,” I mean that I fixate on limitations of what I can and can’t do based on who I am biologically-speaking and not what I want to do.

It is exceptionally easy to obsess about one’s gender, sexuality, appearance, and age. Those cues are everywhere and, in many ways, it’s worse for women. We open magazines to find more pictures of beautiful women who’ve been photoshopped and altered from their original form. We see tabloid magazines that proudly proclaim celebrities are “just like us” then proceed to show them at their absolute worst. And body shapes tend to be “in season.” First, it’s skinny jeans which only look good on a specific body type. Then, it’s bell bottoms which are great for women with curves.

Regardless, ours is a society that is hyper-focused on women between the ages of 18 and 25 — sometimes not even that, for there’s more than a few models out there that aren’t of age yet. Everything seems to originate from the fountain of youth and while most women can get away with wearing younger-looking clothes for a period of time, that tends to change as your body shifts via pregnancy, illness, hormone imbalances, etc.

Mind you, I absolutely love fashion and I will be the first one to say that there is a lot of art to be found there. I don’t think, however, the fashion industry dictates how we feel about ourselves. That is our responsibility.

On top of this, of course, are the comments you hear about someone’s age. Sometimes they’re negative; other times, positive. But it’s always as if the age itself has something to do with whether or not you can do the things you want to do, whether that’s play video games or climb mountains or date or whatever. It’s as if we take to heart what we can do because everyone else is saying — well, you can’t at your age. So, health and safety concerns aside, we put limits on ourselves and we do this because social pressure is overwhelming us. “I’m too old to…” or “Oh, what will people think. Women my age don’t…” or “I can’t wear that!”

I am of the belief that beauty comes from within and is supported by confidence. I feel it’s a tragedy when a woman (or anyone else for that matter) doesn’t believe in themselves enough to take care of their health, appearance, etc. But more than that — as influential as “social pressures” may be — no one can get inside your head and tell you what you can do or be. Well, provided you don’t actively want to cause harm. There is that.

Anyway, the point I’m trying to make, is that in my mind, the minute I start putting limitations on what I can do based on anything about “me” in particular, is the second I begin dying by indecision. When one limitation slams a door shut, what’s to stop other doors from closing? What’s to halt me from closing doors I’ve already opened?

Limitations suck. And, like I said earlier, outside of health concerns? Age really doesn’t matter — unless you let it. It may be harder in some cases, sure, but if you want something bad enough, you will find a way.

    Caffeinated Beverages Consumed: A natural boost? Who am I kidding… I need coffee. Needsit.
    Work-Out Minutes Logged Yesterday: Effing housework.
    In My Ears: “Bad Blood” by Ministry
    Game Last Played: Sonic and All-Stars Racing Transformed
    Movie Last Viewed: Django Unchained
    Latest Artistic Project: SHINIES. Still need to take pics…
    Latest Release: “The Button” We Are Dust anthology
One Response to On Limits

Monica Valentinelli is a writer, editor, and game developer. Her portfolio includes stories, games, comics, essays, and pop culture books.

In addition to her own worlds, she has worked on a number of different properties including Firefly, Vampire: the Masquerade, Shadowrun, Hunter: the Vigil, Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn, and Robert E. Howard’s Conan.

Looking for Monica’s books and games that are still in print? Visit Monica Valentinelli on Amazon’s Author Central or a bookstore and game store near you.

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