For years, I let people tell me who I was.
“You’re smart,” teachers told me, even when I was convinced that I was not. I’ll prove them wrong, I told myself. So I studied for my exams, just to show that I couldn’t do it. It turned out that they were right. I just needed to “apply myself”.
Perhaps people know me better than myself, I thought, in my teenage brain. So I let myself be told that girls couldn’t make it as a mechanical engineer. I let myself be told that I was an academic, that of course, I had to have a PhD.
I let myself be told that I was bitter and broken, that I was a little girl lost.
But in uni, I realised that I couldn’t stomach any more years of formal learning. The thought of being in school any longer than the required three, was nauseating. How would I get a PhD, I wondered, especially after I learned what getting a PhD involved.
And then it slowly crossed my mind that perhaps people didn’t know me as well as I thought. Perhaps, I knew myself best.
Perhaps it was time to be whoever I wanted to be.