An existing struggle of wanting to fit in this society’s dull standards versus wanting to show your true colors and the most diverse version of yourself.
RAINBOW AT HER YOUNG AGE
At the age of seven, I like exploring my colors. My dresses became scarce in my wardrobe. I am the happiest in my comfy jeans, my favorite tee, my high-cut converse, and a boy haircut. I love hanging out with my boy cousins and best friends and I get totally crazy over Marvel trivia.
Sure, I am not as demure as Maria Clara or even a sweetheart like Barbie. However, I never considered myself to be a tomboy or super feminine. Despite how much I want to see myself in a certain way. The way I view my true self is different from how people understand me.
Disney Princess and the dream to be a barbie doll is my childhood obsession. because I wear baggy clothes, and nondescript shoes, and enjoy boyish things, I am labeled as a tomboy. I never liked being told how I was by other people.
I thought the way I speak or the way I present myself is fine but as I’ve aged people like my relatives keep saying this is what you should wear, you must behave this way.
SERIES OF UNFORTUNATE EVENTS
People thought labeling your gender is a kind of endearment but for me, it is a discomfort. I felt the pressure to accept it and reject the feminine side of me.
“Beatrize ang pangalan mo, pambabae kaya dapat babae ka rin magdamit mag-ayos ka naman.”
This is the time during our family reunion when my homophobic aunt said to me.
I was just 16 years old and all I could do was smile because she was my aunt.
“Hindi ba ko babae pag ganto ako manamit?”
This is a question from my 16-year-old self. There is a point in my life when I try to fit in those what they call perfect girl standards.
My friends called me “Yombot”, (an unarranged word for tomboy) because of my boy haircut and oversized t-shirt I wore every Wednesday in my previous school.
Every comment about my gender eats me alive. I hate the pressure to be a perfect daughter, classmate, niece, and girl. Instead of encouraging me to be the better version of myself they are the first that builds up my insecurity about my gender.
CELEBRATING HER COLORS
There was a point where I tried to be the proper and traditional woman they want. Acceptance truly matters to me at that time. But I was not happy and comfortable. It is a punch in the face, a good punch.
Then it hit me, “Why can’t I just be me?”
As I’ve aged, I have gained the capacity to read deeper between the lines.
The echoes and labels towards myself often discourage me that I need to fulfill for people to accept me.
All this time I know that I have a unique way of expressing my sides. I can still wear pretty dresses while in my pair of converse chuck Taylor rubber shoes. I came to accept that my different shades and colors were beautiful. It takes me years to realize that more than uncertainty and not caring about what others say can be my ultimate strength.
It feels like they are putting me into a dark box to standardize my identity so they feel more comfortable on their own. Labeling adventurous, ambitious, and hustlers as “tomboys” isn’t helpful at all. It just creates a bigger issue of gender stereotypes.
People are complex, ever-evolving, and diverse beings.
Instead of labeling their identities, is it okay if we try to connect more with their souls?
The way I am thinking about it now is that I don’t care about being a tomboy or even feminine. I know some of you and others out there who can feel similarly
I am more focused on moving to the Venn Diagram of my life where I can be both feminine and masculine or something in between.
The woman is a palette with a wide range of tones and flavors. I am still a Maria Clara that explores different colors in my time.
Remember not to limit an individual’s identity just because it is the kind of standard. Be mindful of what we say to others.
Diversity of gender and variety of faces is an absolute factor of our gender identity. I believe that we can achieve anything and be anything as long as we put our minds to it.
I can slay both and certainly lots of women like me too. We are in the 21st century, just let girls be girls in the most beautiful way possible. Hey darling, remember to be you, love yourself, celebrate your wins and slay every day. Hugs and Kisses.
Bea is a highly motivated working student by day and a certified K-pop fan by night. Telling stories creatively is her goal and public service is what she loves. She loves pizza more than anything and is obsessed with 80s movies. She believes in a quote from Forrest Gump “Life is like a box of chocolates, you never what you’re gonna get”.