You shouldn’t be afraid to be authentic to yourself

Who are you, really?

I’m certain you are someone unique. You have your own interests and dreams, your own strengths and flaws. The core of who you are is uncontested.

Yet so many of us fall into a trap.

I’m referring to the societal trap. The box that sets standards of what we can and cannot do based on a specific characteristic we possess, and it can feel challenging, even isolating, trying to pop the lid off of said box.

While these standards are not limited to one category, one that holds particular significance for me is societal expectations based on perceived gender.

Growing up, I was proud of being a self-proclaimed tomboy. I loved being outside, never afraid to get dirty or rip holes in my jeans.

In grade school, I found myself more easily befriending boys instead of girls; I detested anything “girly” like make-up or dresses.

I resisted any time traditional female gendered ideas were imposed upon me. You could always find me in a pair of jeans, t-shirt, and a ball cap.

With this pride, however, also came isolation. I didn’t feel like I fit in with my other peers.

Boys, while knowing I was a tomboy, still saw me as different. And I had little in common with most girls.

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve come to find a balance. For me, that balance is rooted in androgyny.

Androgyny is the possession or display of both masculine and feminine characteristics. For me, this means just being myself without paying much regard to stereotypical gender traits.

I’ve come to embrace feminine parts of myself, such as my body, while also expressing other parts of who I am in a more gender-neutral way.

For example, I rock women’s skinny jeans while wearing a men’s corduroy jacket. I prefer a style that is practical and simple while also expressing myself in a way I want to be seen.

My partner has similar ideas about androgyny. While donning men’s jeans and t-shirts, they also love floral and rock a women’s cut floral dress shirt despite being male.

They also wear unisex pants and some of their favorite colors include red, pink, purple and yellow.

It doesn’t really matter what kind of labels the apparel that you wear carries. If it’s comfortable and speaks to you, then you should send it.

Androgyny extends beyond clothing as well. It is really just living as you want to live. It even smashes stereotypical gender expectations.

It even smashes stereotypical gender expectations.

I don’t know how many times people ask me about cooking simply because I am perceived as being a girl.

As a kid, I had little interest in cooking because it was framed as something that “women should be doing.”

Now, I recognize the benefits and importance of cooking and it is something I enjoy doing from time to time, however, most often I leave that up to my partner.

However, most often I leave that up to my partner. My partner also resists traditional gender expectations, and one of the reasons they like cooking so much is because it is “supposed to be for women.”

So again, despite being male, they are our main cook as they have more interest in it than I do.

They watch videos on different cultural cuisines and try their hand at them. I often find them experimenting in the kitchen with a variety of seasonings and techniques.

Cooking is an important skill to have and practice. It’s for anyone, and the list of examples could go on.

Basically, do whatever you desire, whether that be gardening, sports, art, music, science, make-up, etc.

Another thing to consider is your emotions. Our social constructs tell us that “men” should bottle their emotions while “women” are given free passes to cry. However, it doesn’t have to be that way; express your emotions in whatever way is best for your mental health.

It is important that you evaluate who you are and what you do. Perhaps more importantly, you should analyze the why behind your actions.

Are you driven by societal standards telling you to behave or dress in a certain way?

Or do you do what you do because you are answering the call inside yourself to be yourself?

Smash your way out of the box. Find the light peeking through the corners and tear off the lid, It’s nerve-wracking to do so. But only then will you be able to stand tall and free.

It’s nerve-wracking to do so. But only then will you be able to stand tall and free.

Only then will you have found yourself. Your true self, and let’s be honest, don’t you want to find that?

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