Breaking Stereotypes, Diving in the Happiness!

Seattle and I have been friends ever since we met after my birth. And so has been the wonderful people I have been blessed with while growing up in the city. My parents, my friends, my teachers – everything was so in place, but was it not?

I was lucky enough to be raised in very fortunate circumstances. I can assure you that I had everything for what it takes to be the recipe of a happy childhood. But sometimes, it wasn’t just the privileges I was bestowed upon with, I had to be my own identity, my own aspirations. The very first and prevalent hardship I faced came from pushing myself too hard and not being satisfied with what I was doing. Whether it was grades, my appearance, my skill in dance… Everything! I tended to be always very hard on myself, too demanding of my own self set on unrealistic challenges. Even if it wasn’t a struggle, I made it one for me. I was pushing too hard rather than enjoying the experiences and opportunities that came my way.

I had high expectations from my parents. I had always felt like I was being compared to my three older siblings at times. Of course, these served as great motivators, pushing me to excel in every field I set my foot at – but even if I had an opinion or an idea, I often did not value them enough to share it across the hall. It almost never crossed the line to be heard after I perceived it in my mind. I just had the feeling of ‘not being enough’ deeply engraved in my mind and self-esteem. And I wasn’t this. I was so much more, so much vibrant and I had to have myself carved out of the sham I had restricted myself in.

This is something I have worked hard to get over with over the years. I finally understood that my parents were pushing me because they knew I could do great things, not because they would punish me if I failed and my opinions were important and should be heard. To evolve this thought process, it took me effort, a lot of motivation and of course, I have been extremely lucky and privileged to have a lot of support from the people I loved.

Growing up, my situation with my self esteem also aggravated due to the challenges I faced as a woman pursuing STEM. All through the high school, I took competitive AP classes while also following my passion for dance. I was often made to feel incompetent in the academic classes since I was a dancer and it’s not supposed to be in sync with science and technology. Just because I was a dancer and a woman, people thought I would not excel in the classes I was interested in. I am astounded to know that it happens to so many girls, all over the states and globe. While it pushed me to prove the popular opinion wrong, it inhibits so many from pursuing things they are interested in. Millions of aspirations and dreams, or even identities get dissolved in the staining ink of stigma and we haven’t even started to wash it off. I see it all the time in the college. People won’t want to be my partner or will disagree with my ideas merely because of this stigma our society holds. And I want to see this go away. I want to be able to do something about it, crushing popular opinions which keep women in the shells of different disciplines, irrespective of their wants and choices. I am so much excited to see all of the woman across the borders pushing off this very undermining stigma to go away and am happy to be a part of it in any way possible.

Pursuing STEM, joining the University of Washington and being able to live life per my choices, I am so happy to be living the dream. Yes, there are some shortcomings and I struggle with improving myself on a daily basis – But, hey! Isn’t life about different choices with each day better and best than all lived before?! I’m up for the ride, bring it on life!

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About the Author | Allison Bennett

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