This may seem like a little bit of a weird question to ask oneself early in the morning but weird has surely never stopped me in the past 😉…
I obviously know what my name is and all the other basics of who I am, but who am I really? I sometimes wonder how many of the things I’ve been doing in my life have been the result of what was expected of me by others − by my parents, my family, my group of peers, my classmates, my teachers, my boyfriends, society. Which of the choices I made were actually my own and which were a reflection of what people expected me to choose? How many times have I changed a decision of mine because it didn’t align with what people generally decide and was therefore susceptible to come as a tiny bit of a shock to those around me?
How many times have I been afraid to do what I felt like doing because of what people may have thought of me? Did I even want to attend university, given that the high school major I chose was the result of plain old fear? I also probably wouldn’t have chosen to pursue a degree in Economics if it hadn’t been for fear.
The “funny” thing is that the more I chose out of fear, the more afraid I turned out to be. I’ve been entangled in a vicious cycle of fear for years and am only now slowly tiptoeing (baby steps!) out of it by asking myself questions I’ve never dared to ask for fear of discovering that my life has been dictated by fear. Ironic, isn’t it?
This may seem a little trivial but I recently wondered whether I even want to shave my legs. How come it’s even considered as “gross” when a woman doesn’t shave her legs? Who decided that women’s legs should be hairless and silky smooth at all times?! Why does it seem legitimate to make fun of or degrade any woman who chooses not to shave? And, worst of all, why does the thought of not shaving my own legs make me feel a little queasy? Why does it make me feel unattractive?
The reason why I believe this train of thought isn’t quite as trivial as it may seem is that I never knew that not shaving my legs was an option, that I was actually allowed to decide how I wanted my body to look and that not shaving my legs wouldn’t make me a lesser person.
It’s small things like this that suddenly make me question many of my life choices, and viewpoints for that matter. The way to go along with this, for me*, is to try to keep an open mind about things. (Almost) 31 years of conditioning make this really hard for me (and probably lots of other people), so it’s basically a full time job. I’ve taken on the habit of not beating myself up about not fitting in anymore, unlike what I’ve been doing for the bigger part of my existence. Putting on masks, pretending to be someone I’m not and doing things I don’t even have an opinion on to begin with only because there seems to be no other option − no more**!
There’s no time like the present to put this into action, especially considering the growing understanding of the importance of mental health and the destigmatisation of mental illness and therapy, the #metoo movement and the numerous marches and voices supporting women’s and LGBTQI+ rights.
Let’s dare to be “different”***. Let’s be a little weird.
Weird is awesome.
* This is very individual so what goes for me may not go for you!
** Unless I’m at work or within the frameworks of some other happening that requires me to act a certain way and doesn’t really care for my personal opinions and/or development 😅.
*** I used quotation marks because when I think about it, there can be no different if there’s no norm. In this case “different” means doing what’s right for you as opposed to what would be expected from you but not necessarily wanted by you.