don’t forget to feel it all, even when it scares you to the bone
don’t forget to feel it all, even when it scares you to the bone
6:45 am alarm - heh, very cute alarm you cheeky bastard
7:00 am alarm - eh, okay I get it, give me a few minutes to open my eyes. I feel like a mummy coming out of a sarcophagus.
7:15 am alarm - shit, now I can’t make eggy toast, maybe you’re right…
7:25 am alarm - YOU WERE RIGHT THE WHOLE TIME AS USUAL WHAT DO I DO FIRST EAT OR BRUSH MY TEETH OR BOTH OKAY GOTTA GRAB THE BUS WHATEVER ILL DO NONE OF IT
As a young woman in my 20’s, I am at a stage in my life where I am beginning to discover the nooks and crannies that lead to my true self and the identity that I carry. I’ve met this overwhelming desire to become more and more genuine in my own skin and to be able to craft my identity through experiences, hobbies, and relationships that make me feel fulfilled - whatever they may be and no matter how hard it is to get there/what I lose in the process. Through experience over the years, moving from home, and transforming in college, I have gotten a pretty decent grasp as to who I am, what my interests are, and what I want to be…what I want others to see me as and to serve a purpose.
This is a SUPER COOL AWESOME RAD THING and I’m double fortunate because I grew up in a household where my Mother and Father raised me to be confident. They raised me to be different. They prided the word unique and allowed me to dress, speak, and grow in a way where I wasn’t peer pressured or forced to be any certain way BUT ALSO taught me the importance of respect to both men and women, the importance of being warm rather than cold, and the importance of how words & gestures affect others. This made me confident in my own weird, bold existence while also being aware of human communication, relationships, and looking for the positive in every circumstance.
However, as my brain grew and my hunt began to meet other girls to be weird and bold with, I realized I was the black sheep more so in a bad way rather than good. Other girls pushed each other away faster than I could reenact Chris Kattan’s Mango skit (which I memorized and would perform in my room). Differences weren’t celebrated, they were judged and deemed unworthy. I didn’t know where to start or why it was so hard to make friends with women of my own nature who I wanted to relate to despite our superficial, cultural or academic differences.
The “You Can’t Sit With Us” mentality starts from a young age. Too young in my opinion. My first experience was in preschool when my Mother had cut my hair into a nauseating bowl shape just because I wouldn’t let her brush it (THANKS MOM). Anyhoo, I showed up for preschool and we all lined up for bathrooms. Some girl pushed me and told me to get in the boy’s line. I said “but I’m a girl…” and she replied “no, you have short hair so you’re a boy. Get out!” I would have been okay with a few cordial verbal exchanges and maybe getting a teacher to sort this out…but to get angry and push me was another thing. I felt sad, confused, and judged solely on my mildly creepy short hairs. I decided to take the noble route and draw her a mediocre drawing of a lion princess. The girl liked it and let me sit next to her at story time for 2 WHOLE DAYS after! Mind you, we were young babies and she probably genuinely thought all girls had long hair…but this goes into a deeper subject. I didn’t see any boys judging each other’s hair, clothes, or shoes… I didn’t see any boy getting pushed just because his hair was too long. They would high five and congratulate each other if one boy was better than the other at board games or hopscotch. I had to get verbally shat on by a fellow young lady, produce something, and WORK my way back to having a shot at being her potential friend. I realized that making friends with some women was going to be strategic and it wouldn’t be easy…and it wasn’t really easy until college when your interests become more precise and your tolerance for bullshit becomes slim to none. Grade school, middle school, and high school is where bullying, negativity, and judgment thrive and for women, that is when that stuff really starts to affect you. Even as someone outside of public schooling and in the work force/adult hood, I face this shit EVERY DAY. We all do! People on the street. People on the bus. Manicurists. Dog walkers. Waitresses. Even some some people near and dear to me judge me on superficial aspects regularly. It doesn’t even take words. Instead of a smile, you see that person size you up. This worries me. Not only for my growth, but for when I’m 40. For when I have my own daughter and she faces this. For when I spread my wings in my career and need to trust the women around me without getting whispered about.
One time I was at a party and I was mingling and being social while really just trying to find the snack area. All seemed honky dory and I proceeded on wards to the chips and salsa. Minutes later a friend of mine came up to me and said “That girl over there, she told me she thought you were being unchill.” Since I was sober, I was confident when I said “I don’t think I’ve peed my pants today and that’s the only unchill thing I think I could have done since we’ve gotten here”. My friend pointed her out and I genuinely had never seen or spoken to her in my life. It was a do or die moment and I decided to do. I walked up to her and I said “have we met”? The girl shuffled and said a muffled “no”. I asked “Whats so unchill about me? What does that even mean?” Then the girl uttered something which I will never forget: “you were talking to everybody and like…that’s really weird. I feel like no one does that. Are you trying to win a prize or something?” I stood there and felt like my brain had just escaped my body. Did she see me as a threat because of my social skills? I didn’t understand how my actions to naturally do what people do at a party had singled me out. The next day it dawned on me that this wasn’t a personal dilemma…it’s a societal issue that has influenced women for years. Competition between men is healthy and admired. Competition between women is ugly, nasty, and polarizing. But I wasn’t playing Olympic water polo…this wasn’t a game…this was simply just life. I was simply being me. Why was I being penalized?
Truthfully, we are all victims but we are also at the same time guilty for committing the crime. We’ve been there on both sides, passing judgments, rolling our eyes, talkin’ smack. It happens. But from this day on, I’m making a point to RAISE UP my fellow women. I want to spread the light rather than keep us all in the dark. Imagine if we encouraged each other rather than put each other down? More of “You got that promotion at work! Do yo thang girl! Give me some tips so I can kick some butt too!" and less of "You got that promotion at work? Oh. How? Weren’t you only there for a year?" Try it for just a DAY and see how your brain feels. I want to make friends, build relationships, and encourage success, wealth, and happiness for women instead of seeing them as competition and only wishing them poorly. I want to inspire fellow women to be whomever they want and to be comfortable in their own skin. I want them to not feel fear if they want to be different because I’ve felt that fear and it’s paralyzing. Differences shouldn’t hurt us. They should inspire us and bring us together.