This is for all of those lovely individuals born into the female expectations of the world, especially those I have had the pleasure of knowing at ERCLC.
You are brilliantly worthy of being yourself in whatever form that may take.
As I find myself surrounded by many different cultures and even more individual ways of seeing life, I am ever more grateful for the community I have had at ERCLC, my old school.
Create. Keep creating. Keep taking the opportunity to learn something new.
And give yourself grace for all those moments where you feel anything but good at what you are doing.
I was recently told that perhaps I am intimidating. I asked why. I’m surrounded by people doing the things that I thought made me intimidating at home. Firefighters, rock climbers, hitchhikers, guides, travellers, multi-talented women and individuals of all sorts of badass kinds.
“Actually I think it’s because of how curious you are.”
I had told this person that pretty much everyone I come in contact with is peppered with questions. Could they teach me? What does this mean? What do they know about the area? How likely is it for me to be able to do this?
ERCLC is a place where that is encouraged. You want to learn how to use a laser cutter? You want to learn about the biology of a horse hoof? You want to learn how to code games, sew, cook, act, run a country, travel the world, fence, or pretty much anything you can think of? We will get you the books, point you in the right direction, find someone who knows, figure it out with you, or answer your questions.
Go for it.
So what happens when you put someone who has lived that for most of their life into a place where asking so incessantly isn’t necessarily normal?
You know I’m still trying to figure it out.
I’ve sat on my bed many afternoons wondering if I’m somehow throwing myself way too far out there. Maybe I ought to back off. Maybe I ought to somehow make myself more manageable. I’m louder, more easily excited, younger, and less experienced than many around me.
I’ve had a lot of “ah crap. Maybe I ought to have kept my mouth shut.”
I’m finding the lovely people who listen to me, but perhaps I am more thankful for those who let me listen to them.
All this to say, if you are brave enough to do anything, start by being brave enough to ask a question. Because I am spending a good portion of my days looking like I don’t know much so that I can learn a heck of a lot more.
For those little girls and individuals in general who are finding themselves caught in an expectant tangle of gender or society expectations, I have some encouragement.
There is nothing more beautiful to a real person than another real person.
I am taking up space. I have shaved sides and blue hair. I am asking questions. I am announcing my presence with echoing barefooted footsteps in the halls. I am laughing loudly, excitedly introducing myself to people, sheepishly running off a longboard when I go too fast, watching people with wide eyes as they tell stories, and happily proclaiming my personal favourite accomplishment of the day.
And it certainly isn’t always accepted or encouraged.
So I’ll keep being myself again tomorrow.
I absolutely love it when you do the same.