If only I had known this before!

Do you also time and time again encounter something thinking: “I would have loved to know that beforehand?”

You and I, we collect our own experiences and we have lots of insights and learnings. Sometimes I have the feeling to share my learnings with others. Equally, it is important to me to sit together with other girls and learn from them. Do you also feel this way?

I am deeply interested in what kind of things the young women of our intombi community would have loved to know earlier when they were young. I asked our intombi volunteers and friends: “What would you have liked to know earlier?” The answers were very enriching and that is why I want to share them with you.

These are 3 things I would have loved to know earlier

1. You are beautiful the way you are!

Isi: As a child, I always wanted to have my own style – short hair, colorful crazy clothes.And that is also what I did but not everyone liked it. Superficially I did not fit in at all. My friends did not appreciate it and in school, I was often bullied and listened to dumb comments. I would have loved to have people telling me: “You are beautiful the way you are”.

Today, I have people who tell me this and to my past self, I say: Find friends, who are as groovy as you, with whom you feel comfortable and who say “It is cool how you dress and that you do your thing!”

“Oftentimes they told me that I am at fault. You brought that on yourself.”

2. Expectations of others are overrated!

Anna: As a child, I learned of the high expectations for girls and women in a post-Soviet society. Some of them were also passed on to me by my grandma. For example, it was communicated that it is expected of us girls to be at the top of our class, be part of a club, be obedient and help at home. On the one hand, we should be educated and mature- On the other we should not be too conspicuous.

Our strengths and abilities were also underrated all the time. We girls were threatened by comfort – since our initiative, decisiveness and willingness to take risks were not considered particularly or were not wished for. What do I know now? Only I can decide what my life should look like. I am the queen of my life.

“It is expected that we are at the top of our class, part of many clubs, obedient and that we help at housekeeping.

3. Just let me be myself

Michelle: As a child, I always had the feeling that I have to fit in – I have to adapt, so I can belong. Then, I would have simply loved to know that I am good the way I am. Now, at the end of my twenties, I know this. I am allowed to be different from the norm.

I do not have to adapt, belong or be the way others want me to be. Now, I am happy with who I am, and how my body is, and I have a great group of friends. In private and at work, I can live my hobbies, passions and emotions. For me, this means coloring my hair every two weeks and expressing myself through clothes and fashion.

“When I was little, I always had the feeling that I have to fit in – I have to adapt so I can belong.”

What would your younger self have loved to know earlier? What would you like to know from women a little bit older than you? Write to us in the comments or on Insta @intombiforgirls 🙂

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