Sometimes, I feel as though women travel through life with invisible boulders attached to their shoulders. As a woman, it doesn’t matter what we do, we carry the weight of everyones judgments. We are taught that we must dress a particular way, style our hair, always have groomed nails, etc The list is endless, and the expectations are exhausting to meet, yet we continue to try and live up to societies impossible standards.
Aside from the pressures society places on women, I think being born a woman is a blessing – at least thats how I feel about my life. Women encompass a strength that no other species on the planet possesses, and society teaches us to be insecure to try and suppress us, limit us and prevent us from achieving great success.
I used to be a very insecure person. I was always a tomboy. I liked sports clothes, and playing outside more than dressing up. Dressing up was never my thing. However,, one year in summer school I decided that I wanted to wear dresses and tank tops. People would ask me “why are you dressed like that? They weren’t used to seeing me in girly clothes. I felt insecure, and lied that my cousin made me dress more girly. The truth was, I wanted to wear those clothes, but I didn’t know how to break free from my peers opinions of how I should dress. Instead of saying what I felt, I lied and during the regular school year, I went back to wearing jerseys and track pants.
It wasn’t until years later that I decided to break-free from peoples opinions of how I should dress. I felt very lost and felt like I needed to find my identity. I went through a phase where I dyed my hair every colour of the rainbow. My motivation for doing this was to teach myself that the opinions of others didn’t matter. The only thing that mattered in my life was my opinion of myself. During this process, I had many people approach me to tell me they either loved my hair or hated it. Regardless of the opinion I received, I refused to let myself internalize it. Instead I made a conscious choice to only focus on my opinion. The extra noise of external judgments disappeared from my mind, and I felt free.
While I am grateful for having the strength of a woman and possessing the ability to fight for myself. I wish I didn’t have to. I wish I was free to be myself from the get go. I wish society taught me that it was okay to dress and be myself. I wish girls were taught to be free the same way boys are. However, with that said I am also grateful for the extra step that I had to overcome as a woman, because it made me stronger.