A Girl Abroad

There was nothing to fear and everything to fear. There were moments when I thought that I’d lost my mind and other times when I knew that this, this was the sanest I’ve ever been. As I made my way across Southern, Northern, and Eastern Europe, it became apparent to me that freedom is fearlessness, completely aware of the dangers and my vulnerability but powering through that fear until it was the furthest thing from my mind. It’s absolutely liberating. I couldn’t allow myself to be consumed by my (or other’s) uncertainty, the “what ifs”.

It’s 11:00PM here in Budapest and I’m nearing the conclusion of my second visit to Europe. I am content and yet there it is, lurking, haunting me. Anxiety. I single-handedly planned and funded my 3-week exploration and yes there were moments of doubt but never the gut-wrenching tension that I’ve experienced at the thought of having to return to NYC. I do miss my family and friends, but what’s disconcerting is my inevitable return to an America that elected a vile human being as its leader; my obscure career trajectory; and the withering faith in a city that I once admired.

Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.

This isn’t a political rant. It is definitely not an anti-Trump rant, the purpose of this entry is on overcoming fear, on surprising ourselves, diverting from the status quo, and persevering, even while the confines of gendered expectations and racial divides work against you, move onward, dance your heart out to the funky Hungarian rock music serenading you and render the creep leering from across the room nonexistent. Because the reality of being a woman in a man’s world is to power through it. Power through the request to name your vice during the job interview from hell; the groping suffered at the crowded music festival. The reality of being a woman in a man’s world is that the world is a scary place and at an early age we faced that ugly truth; that it wasn’t built in our favor. Our movements were always meant to be subdued, we are always reminded that we should be afraid. And although there is much to fear, there is so much more out there to drive us: there are moments that inspire new outlooks on life and folks who enlighten us on the depth of human kindness. That’s what keeps us going because the world can be your playground. The world doesn’t have to be a scary place.

The reality of being a woman in a man’s world is that the world is a scary place and at an early age we faced that ugly truth; that it wasn’t built in our favor. Our movements were always meant to be subdued, we are always reminded that we should be afraid. And although there is much to fear, there is so much more out there to drive us: there are moments that inspire new outlooks on life and folks who enlighten us on the depth of human kindness. That’s what keeps us going because the world can be your playground. The world doesn’t have to be a scary place.

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