I made a friend this year. (Gasp). In some ways this person reminds me a bit of myself my first year in this city. Shy, timid, and overly sensitive sometimes. But, to the world around them, they act strong.
When I first saw this person I thought, how interesting. This year a challenge of mine was to learn to approach others. This person was the first I approached. “Can I study with you?” And so, they became someone I hold closely, even if I still can’t understand my feelings of friendships.
I’ve always believed I was a very open minded person. I try not to judge others harshly because I can easily put myself in another persons shoes. This friend however has taught me that just because I can do that, doesn’t mean I always understand.
This friend was born biologically female, but opened up to me a few weeks into our friendship about how they identify as non-binary. This means they don’t feel like a male or female, in simple terms. I’d heard of androgyny before, but never gave thought that a person could feel like neither sex.
They have discussed with me very personal views they have about themselves and I’ve been happy to stand by their side and watch them express their voice to facebook and the people we have grown to surround ourselves with.
Though I can understand this persons wishes, and I can help educate others to the best of my ability, I still struggle. I still cringe when I catch myself saying “she” or “her”. Of course they are never hurt by this. But it made me think of frustrating it must be to hear those things when you don’t feel them. I think, of course some days it’s easy to brush off.
It’s the same in the sense that some days I have no problem admitting I have anxiety. But some days to hear people talk about it, or I feel like shit that it’s something I deal with, it really bugs me. I realise that my friend struggles with this with their identity.
And I wanted to share that. I think slowly, the world is trying to move towards a more accepting place. People are gaining more confidence, especially on the web, to express who they are and what they believe. However… this doesn’t mean we can completely understand.
I think all you can do is accept a person for how they express themselves to you. It’s okay to not agree with someone. It’s okay to say you can’t be friends. But it’s not okay to treat someone like shit because they are different than you are.
Some of us struggle daily trying to figure out who we are. We look in the mirror and we have no idea who or what is looking back at us. We change our hair, our style, the way we talk, the way we act. And often times we always feel like an empty shell.
Being yourself isn’t easy. Because who are you really?
Whatever anyone claims to be, I think if you want that person in your life, you should support them.