Thirty comes in February.
For the final year in my 20s, I gave up fear. One thing that has changed is that I don’t look at the labels on things so closely anymore. Whether it is brands at a supermarket or the shopping mall, people’s national origin, sexual orientation, political party, social economic status- I feel like I am at a place where I’m not a respecter of those surface identifiers. In fact, the more strangely packaged or unconventional, the more attracted I seem to be.
The more questions I have about a person, place, or product- the more curiosity and attraction I have towards it. If familiarity breeds comfort, adventure lies in the unexplored. Because I’m not afraid of the mishaps, of rejection, of finding out I was wrong about my previously held beliefs, of what people think of me, I have freedom to explore, experiment, and live more fully.
I guess I spent my twenties looking into other people trying to confirm my own ideas and beliefs- looking for justification in people who agreed and feeling superior to people who didn’t. I surrounded myself primarily with white, religious, middle class, educated people from nuclear families. These people are the mountains. I love the mountains. They are beautiful. But now I want variety. I want to visit the mountains, the desserts, the beach, the lakes, and the rivers- I want to experience them up close and explore different types of terrains, recognising the beauty and value in different types of people and subcultures. I want my passport of friends to be stamped from around the world. I pick up little souvenirs of values, ideas, ways of life, cultural influences and leave little pieces of who I am behind.
Giving up fear means I’m running towards diversity, not away from it.
I also recognise that no two mountains are the same, but that stereotypes try and conform and decrease our own unique individualities, stammering our preciousness to fit in a one-size fits most kind of container. I refuse to do that primarily because I don’t want to fit in anyone else’s box for me either. I want to evolve. I want to be authentic- and I believe to receive the space to live outside of a container, I have to give it away first.
To all the people I pursued because fear wasn’t factored this year- I feel so much love towards you. From the close friendships that have developed to the strangers I met once- for all the people who found space for me in their lives, I feel so much gratitude. Each person’s story has left an imprint on who I am and insight into the story of the next person.
It has grown my heart and diminished my fear.
Be loved. Be love.