When you are travelling by yourself there is nobody telling you who you “really are” or who you are not. There is no one telling you how to be, no one reminding you of your ”type” of boys, music, food or those mistakes you made ages ago. And suddenly you realise that “your type” was not really your type at all. You find yourself going to places you never thought you would, liking new foods, new people and new music. You change. You find what you actually like. What you actually want in life. Not because you are in a new country with new people, but because you are away from the country you grew up in and the people you grew up with. And most importantly you are away from the person people think is “you”.
And then you return. When you step out from the airplain you can see the old you staring at tanned and happy you in chock. You don’t like dresses! You hate brushing your hair! You are not yourself, the old you accuses. But you ignore it, because you know that the “new” you is the real you. It is the person you were all along, but that you never had enough courage to find and be.
But then comes all the comments from all kinds of humans who know you in one way or another. ”You don’t like that and you don’t like this” keeps on dropping around you. And it gets irritating. Because you are so used to no one telling you who you are, what you like or don’t like.
And then comes the: “You have changed” comments. I actually used to be afraid of getting them and took great pride in having the same friends since day one. Being unchangeable, unbreakable. But then I realised that change is essential. Change and growth is a healthy part of life, remaining a 13-yearold forever is just not so great. And even though change often means that you must fall apart, come completely undone, the growth brings forward something beautiful you had forgotten you even had in you.
I think the best way to go is to not be offended but instead explain that escaping the box you have been living in, results in change. Personally, I am not just a sporty tomboy that have never had an interest in barbies and struggle a bit with feelings and too much mushy stuff. In fact, I don’t struggle much with feelings and mushy stuff anymore. I have learned to express what I feel on the inside, and so I have changed. I am no longer afraid of being perceived as “weak” just because I like stereotypically “feminine” things as well, like writing poetry, dancing and sometimes even crying. But then again, the next minute I can punch a boxing bag in a way that makes people go: ”You don’t fight with girls, do you?” And I don’t. But I also know that I can sit down and write poetry and pray and meditate right after if I like. There is no either or choice, you can do whatever you like, as long as it’s good.
The truth is that there is no such thing as “feminine” versus “masculine”. You can like boxing and poetry. You can be sensitive but not allow people to walk over you. You can curse and eat protein but cry to titanic and feel special if someone picks you flowers. Many of the things we see as opposites and exclusive are not opposites and exclusive at all. They are parts of us that we choose to express or hide. Parts that are yours and yours only. Parts that nobody else can say “are not you”.