Illustration by Maru

On the Concept of “Everyday Armour”

The concept of donning your armour was introduced to me from a young age; my mother would remind me constantly, “make sure you’ve got your armour on.”

This article is the beginning of two separate segments on the CCM; this is a part of “My Mother’s Business School,” a series about the knowledge and life skills that have been imparted onto I, the writer, and what my grand takeaway is from it — and “Everyday Armour,” is about the things we do to feel strong, to face the day, to do our best.

She would tell me this, sliding on her black work blazer. Fluff her hair a little as she looked in the mirror, checking her makeup. Thick liner on her lids, layers of mascara. Eyes that had seen an eternity and a half, and probably more.

Your armour, in gist, is what makes you comfortable. It’s what makes you able to face the day. It’s really the concept of ‘look good, feel great.’ And this is something I grew to embrace growing, despite not being very fashionable (or hygienic, for that matter).

My older sister and I grew up in a family where we would be whisked to the mamak stalls on some days, and to the country club on others. There was always an emphasis on fitting in; looking like you belonged.

As time passed, we learned the rules on what was acceptable — jeans and hoodies are for the stalls (but it’s still a little thick in current weather, so you might sweat everything out right then and there), while pretty dresses and heels were better for the club. Once we were more accustomed to the rules, then it was easier to bend them. Dark jeans can work at the club, and a low heel can work at the stalls that weren’t completely hygienically-challenged.

(One might argue that if a stall didn’t have those weird, low, cleanliness standards, then it isn’t worth eating at — but that’s a topic for another day.)

Aside from all that, the concept of armour extends past your physical appearance. It is a part of your mental state and wellbeing.

My mother would remind us, not to have any ‘holes in our armour.’

Make sure there was no point that we would be vulnerable. Prevent anyone from having any more ammo to hit us with. Cover up all gaps. The point is to look invulnerable, feel invulnerable — eventually, be invulnerable.

My armour has been my sense of humour, and obnoxious laugh. My sharp wit, and ability to write. My long lashes, bold eyebrows, and pouty lips. My ability and willingness to adapt, and to bounce back, regardless of what’s come at me. And for all of this, I am truly blessed.

So everyday, I stop for a moment to remember to don my armour. I dress how I like, because it makes me feel powerful and strong. I think good thoughts about my situation, and myself. I make sure I’ve got it together to the best of my ability because in those moments, I am the mightiest knight in all the land, and nobody can stop me, and they never will.