Warrior by Junaid Salamah

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When the word warrior is said, a familiar picture comes to mind: a strong macho man with 6packs, and well distinguished biceps and triceps. Who has around his waist a collection of knives, strapped across his back is his bow and arrow, always in battle to protect others.

However in this piece, the focus is not on those kinds of warriors, it’s on the uncelebrated warriors who are neither macho nor strong physically, nor do they have knives or bows and arrows to fight. They are the ones who are constantly faced with battles every day and everywhere, with no escape route. They are the warriors of our time and I call them “the 21st century warriors”.
They fight daily against certain standards created by some unknowns social forces, standards of beauty, success, happiness, relationship and many others.

The most commonly seen warriors are those fighting standard of beauty, constantly body-shamed, forced to fit into a certain mould, to look in a certain way in other to meet the “standards of beauty”, standards that every lady now has to battle to fit in. With the advent of social media the 21st century lady is constantly in a struggle, war to just fit in, because if she doesn’t she would be constantly “sworded” by the words of people, abused because of what she looks like and how she doesn’t fit.

The thick girls are labelled “fat”, “orobo”, “big” and you can add all the other names, it’s amazing that even the so-called standards of shape the “slim girls” are also not left out of the tongue lash, they are called “skinny”, “bony”, “lepa”. These words suddenly replace the possible nice words that could compliment them, these words become the centerpiece of the everyday conversations they engage in, greeted by such words by friends.

The fancy word for the battle is “body-shaming”, which to me is a misnomer, because it undermines the extent and depth of the battle, it’s the battle against the mind and not just the body. The mind feels the torture of the tongues lashing, the daggers of the eye tearing it apart and eventually the mind is crushed, making the emotions cave in, and then the body cringes. All in all, these are the steps to making a bitter human being, one with a low self-esteem.

When I look at the 21st century lady, I don’t just see ladies, I see warriors struggling against a standard and each day trying to win.I see a warrior struggling with rules she has to live by just to be accepted as a lady.

Warriors defer from one another because our strength defers, our weaknesses are not the same. So we have warriors battling to fit into standards, we have those who don’t care about the standards and are struggling to make themselves standards.

Whether you are a man or a woman, we all have our battles, we are all warriors of the 21st century because we all know that there are standards that we consciously or unconsciously fight with, and you warrior I must tell you that you need to keep fighting cause the world we are in now, only fighters can live, be happy, succeed and be alive.

I want you to know that standards are boring, too many people in it, and you should never be afraid of fighting to stand out, trust me the world would eventually conform to you and accept your standard as it is. Never also forget that for every battle won, there is another to be fought and each and every time you would have to choose which warrior to be.

You must also note that whatever you choose should be because you want it, never because of people because my dear you should know that people are never going to be pleased after all, but if you are pleased then the war is over and won.

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