From a very young age, I have been a very competitive child. I was rough. I climbed a lot of
trees, had my fair share of hospital visits, tried to wrestle my sister — she would have rather played Barbies like a “normal” girl. I played soccer; I did Girls on the Run. I wasn’t afraid to get my jeans dirty. I wasn’t concerned if my jeans had grass stains on them, or if I was sitting with my legs open with a dress on. I didn’t care. I was a kid. I didn’t have any responsibilities, worries, or social restrictions. As I grew older, my parents tried harder and harder to show me the proper way to be a “lady.” I was never a bad kid — I would dress nicely when my mother forced me to, and I knew to sit up straight and to say my “please-and-thank-yous.” I loved to compete because I loved to win. It really became a hobby for me. One time I even told my sister that there were bees behind us to get her to run around the house so I could race her and win. Yes, I did that.
“Tomboy” is a term often used to describe a girl that is athletic, competitive, dirty, and basically behaves similarly to a “boy.” I was often described as a tomboy because I wore yoga pants and sweatshirts rather than skirts and dresses. I never understood why I needed to be categorized. It didn’t make sense to me. Why couldn’t I simply be Camila? Why did I need to be a “tomboy” and why did my sister need to be a “Girly Girl?” Why was I always being put into a category?
From a young age, we are taught to label and compare everything that we see, innocently. Red is red, dinner is dinner, the grass is grass. Tall vs. short, thin vs. thick, brown vs. blonde, and so on. Although, this is necessary for basic human interaction and communication it is becoming toxic to our society.
In The United States’ culture, there are things that are “normally” expected from people. We are born and our parents take care of us until we are 18. Then we are expected to attend a University and get a degree, that may or may not end up being useful. Students go into a crazy amount of debt and maybe decide get married, possibly have children whilst trying to pay off debts, afford a child, and establish a name. As I’m sure most people know, life in this country is extraordinarily stressful. We get up at the break of dawn, go to work or school, stay there until about dinner time, after that it is home to eat dinner, finish a few things up, go to bed, and repeat. We are encouraged to be productive and get things done: “go, go, go”. But why? Why are we always in such a hurry? There is so much in life that we are simply too stressed out to appreciate, and notice. When we finally schedule a week to vacation and notice everything, it is a designated week of our life. Where is the moment of “smelling the roses?” Taking a spontaneous moment to enjoy the world we live in is not easy, but we need to focus our energies into our world.
I am as guilty of taking things for granted as the next person, but realizing this reality is the first step to solving this problem. I firmly believe that we as a society need to stop and appreciate the simpler things in things in life before they disappear. Appreciate the laughter of others, appreciate the thought, love, sadness, summer months with freedom, everything. Learn to appreciate something that happens every day like, having food, having a bed, having a friend, a family, experiencing life with others, it’s crucial to being happy.
As we enjoy some carefree moments this summer, we could find a tree, a gigantic tree. It’s the biggest tree in the world to us at that moment, but when we put it next to a mountain, that tree will be small. Appreciate the moment.
I encourage everyone to rethink their way of living and thinking. Obviously, we are not going to stop calling a car red or hair a specific color. However, it is consequential that we put our life into a larger perspective. Everyone receives one opportunity at life and it is important to understand what truly is determining and what in reality, is not. Life will change, it will get scary, it will be happy, we just need to understand what the goal is and what truly matters. Life is short, love is resplendent, and it will only be as gratifying as we make it.