All of my teenage and most of my adulthood I thought I was kind of tomboyish. Genders are on a continuum, which we know now, and I was in touch with my masculine side more than the feminine side. I did this particularly to feel stronger as a person. A by-product of the social learning that men are stronger than women. Hence, at a young age I developed a personality as competitive as a man’s. However, in this development I did not realise that I am only slightly ‘different’ from other girls. I know this because I used to discard anything feminine. But during my teenage I aspired to be as strong as a man. I would hide my emotions, never cry, thinking it’s too girly. I would always say I’m not like most other girls, which is true, but I would say it with arrogance. When I say I am not like other girls, I usually refer to some stereotypes associated with girls for example, being dramatic or overly emotional, or a shopaholic…I don’t like pink color. But something that I realized in New York, was that even if I do not represent the majority of women, I should not be among those who judge other women. It’s okay to be girly. It’s okay to like the color pink. Before my journey to the US, I always looked at lady like ladies as only feminine in the sense that they look pretty but are useless in the head. But over time I have also realized that you can as feminine as you like while being as productive as anyone else. Productivity and ambition has nothing to do with gender. However, in my mind they were always about gender roles. Through time, I became introspective and aware of my feminine side and realized that it doesn’t hurt to get ready, look pretty and proper. Something that I wasn’t doing back home. I wouldn’t use a lot of makeup because it was ‘girly’ and I wasn’t a typical girl. But in New York, I tried different things and realized that I like getting ready and looking good, which is also why a lot of people have said to me that I look more feminine and pretty now. Well, I would admit that I liked this attention and nurturing that was being given to bringing my feminine side of the surface. Everyone wants to look pretty and it doesn’t mean that people who look pretty will sacrifice their work and performance. Or that they are dumb. I kept my grades, did what I had to, at the same time taking care of my appearance. And it actually felt so nice.
This has also made me humbler as a person than before. Because I realised with the passage of time that there is nothing more compatible than a strong woman who is in touch with her feminine aspects. A woman is not only a nurturer, but brings life into this world as powerfully as her potential to destroy life. I look at other ladies and myself with respect now. For how we look, the choices that we make. I also have started enjoying life more than I used to. While women have always been targeted for oppression and subjected to humiliation, I should not be the one doing that to individuals of my own group. I realised that it was a pathetic act. To my gender or the other. Hence, now I feel I am more conscious and sensitive before making a judgement or a comment on another lady.