Growing up in provincial Spain in the 80s was an exceptional experience. We were the first generation to be born in democracy after decades of extremely oppressive dictatorship & the generational gap with our parents was astonishing, in the country where the word “macho” was born.
My grandmother forbade the boys in the family to even pick up a broom, under threat that their “willies would fall off”. Male toxicity was rampant & women resorted to illogical mood swings & drama to gain attention. Jealousy & possessiveness were considered signs of love, & standing out and being different was considered downright dangerous. Breaking free from all this madness was not easy – my family, teachers, mentors, all of society fought so hard to squash me into the tiny little box I had been assigned. And yet whenever I tried to just make myself small enough to fit in & not cause any trouble, I was miserable & my soul was crushed and my wings broken. I felt caged in a golden cage of “love” that was killing me.
One day I decided to break free. It was hard. I had to push & push, I felt guilty for disappointing my loved ones & I felt ‘imposter syndrome’ for daring to say those rules didn’t apply to me. But I kept going – I couldn’t back down now! And one day… I realised that I was free. I found my tribe & learnt who I was and what I wanted. I got to know myself. My family is still intimidated and a little weary of my decisions to travel alone, to choose to work remotely (“Who even does that? That is not legit, real companies will give you a nice desk, or get a teaching job”. LMAO hello 2020 where they all come to me for advice). But now they know that it’s who I choose to be & that they cannot do anything about it. They eventually accepted it.
All they really ever wanted was to keep me “safe” — in the version of the world that they grew up in, where being different could cost you your life. And you can break free too. Just keep pushing forward – you can do it! Look for soul sisters (and brothers!) that will help you instead of pull you back. Don’t ever dim your light again! The world needs you to shine bright!