I wanted to become the woman of my dreams
Once upon a time there was a princess who was told a fairy tale, but it felt more like a scary movie. Does this sense of uneaseness ring a bell to you?
Back than, my life just felt wrong. I felt wrong. No, I didn’t dream of a charming prince, I didn’t dream of a white dress or of a Barbie dream house. The fairy tale was not doing it for me.
In my mid-twenties a panic attack made me understand something was wrong and urged me to look for therapy. I ended up in the hands of a feminist psychologist who told me the magic words:
“The problems you face are not specific to you, these are the issues an entire generation of women face.”
Her words haunted me throughout one and half years of therapy, while I was delving into my own monsters: the eternal sense of guilt, the lack of self-esteem, the lack of confidence to try things on my own, the need to please and put OTHERS above all, the need to cope with others expectations for me, an emotional dependency on my partners and the need to have someone next to me to tell me “Yes you can do it”.
I didn’t like my life and I wanted to change it. I wanted to become the woman of my dreams, the one who is not waiting in a tower for a prince to rescue her.
In 2016, planets aligned and in less than a month my life turned upside down: I became jobless, homeless and single. I still wonder how in the world it all happened so fast…but it did.
It was a total reset.
Amidst odd feelings of fear and loss, I decided it was time to be on my own and prove myself I could do it…I could do whatever I wanted. And I wanted to travel alone!
On the 7th of February 2016 at 7 am, I landed in Bangkok to start this journey. At first, I wasn’t sure I could do it. It took me three months of preparation…or maybe my whole life. Then I wasn’t sure I could travel for so long, so far away from home and from all that I’m familiar with. I told myself I would return home whenever I felt so. It could be after one day, one week or one month. Actually this journey hasn’t ended…
Being a solo female traveler
While traveling solo, this sense of being a woman, as opposing to be a man, changed just because I was constantly reminded that I was more vulnerable to danger than them. At the same time, I came to realize that all of those basic rights I took for granted in my country, were not even an aspiration for most women in Asia. Something as simple as being treated equally and having the same opportunities to grow as a human being didn’t exist.
And there I was struggling with an existential crisis while around me women struggled to the point of having to become prostitutes to bring food home or forced to get married at the age of 15.
What does it mean to be a woman?
While traveling I understood that for those women I came across, being a woman was certainly a very different experience from mine. Nevertheless, Asia was also showing me that although our backgrounds were different, we still have so much in common – a cultural inheritance that has never been fair to us.
So what started as an individual journey of self-discovery became a quest and a pursuit. I wanted to find myself in the stories of the women I met. I wanted this discovery journey to become collective and make other women part of it. That is why I started sharing our stories. Stories about what we women face in our everyday lives, in the hope that our individual experience could help us to grow together.
So a new chapter of my journey started: I am slowly becoming the woman of my dreams by listening and learning from other women.
What about you? Are you the woman of your dreams?