Last night I wrote the ominous WhatsApp message “We have changed,” to a friend, who responded with “be specific, you are being abstract.” I laughed because usually the situation is reversed—my friend is being abstract and I want more specification. But at 11:12pm when I wrote this message, in lieu of my pity party themed “woe is me”, I was thinking about how everyone has changed around me, while I (cue the party) am still the same. So instead of writing back specifics, I fell asleep after binge watching Netflix.
Today, after loitering the morning away, I saw my friend's message and decided to replied:
“You have a new job, our friends are getting married, our other friend is in medical school…” and I continued, “I mean I know I have changed but…it is not so much external change as it is internal.”
Abandoning my phone, I went to my journal to soul search and started to write how I had changed. What I found, as I finished writing, was that the main theme of change was my shift in perspective on how much the world needs feminism. How I need feminism.
Now what does this mean? As my friend would reply, be more specific about this "shift" in perspective as it concerns to feminism. Gladly. First, one of the biggest external changes this year is that I moved abroad. I dropped myself into a whole new setting, where no one knew my name, who I was, what I was doing and I had a lot of explaining to do, to myself, strangers, family, and peers. Was this moving abroad amazing? Yes. Scary? Yes. Lonely? Yes but—these questions are irrelevant, because no one asked them (unless you were close friends or family). What is relevant is what I heard this year. And what I heard is that people have already formed an idea of who I am. Which, as a single female abroad, is along the lines of being a whore or your connected with some native guy. But this insight on females abroad must be deconstructed another day, as will the lecture on "going somewhere no ones knows your name to expand your horizons".
What is important is how I felt and acted when I was nothing more than "female", or more specifically a "female abroad" to society. To be a female, is to be everyone's opinion of what you should be except your own. And damn, have I been twisting myself about, angry in the face of nonchalant indifference.
"I am a humanist".
I would be to. But, we need feminism first. And this is how I have changed. A year ago, I might even have uttered those words but now I say clearly I am a feminist. I am not swayed.