Gaëlle is 23 years old and is in a research master in gender studies with a sociology specialization. She began on the Internet with a student blog and then created a website and an Instagram account about subjects such as feminism, critical mind, education, self acceptance, and more. When I found out about her on Instagram, I immediately fell in love with her content and asked her to contribute to Women of the World.

I could have started this text telling you about my last relationship, which went terribly wrong. Or as we call it: a toxic relationship. A relationship in which we bounce back slowly, very slowly. However, if, as of today, I have decided to write to you, it is rather to tell you about the progress I made since this relationship ended.

In fact, when this disaster of a relationship occurred, I was 16 years old. I stayed in this relationship until I was 17, and it ate me up inside. It was toxic, tiring and exhausting, but it was still a relationship. It made me feel empty inside. It is simple: after this relationship, I felt empty of everything or of nothing, I am not quite sure to be honest.

When I finally found the strength I needed to put everything at a stop and leave, I felt reborn. There was a feeling of freedom overrunning my body. I do not think I have ever felt something this intense before.

This feeling of revival pushed me to take control of my life again, to assert myself and to go find the answers I needed. That is how I ended up in university in Social Sciences studies. Surely, the name is not appealing to everyone, but it immediately caught my interest. I felt that in this course, I would finally understand what happened to me and this world surrounding me that I used to hate so much. This pitch black, dark world, yet so insightful.

In the end, it is during these three years of studies that my rebirth took place. This escape route to university changed me forever. My life shifted drastically, but it sure-enough was necessary. It was an insightful change that required me to work a lot on myself. In hindsight, I realize that if I had not chosen this path, I would not be the woman I am today. I often ask myself if my 17 years old self is looking up at me with envy. I wonder if she realizes how far she has come from the last 5 years. Does she have a better understanding of what she experienced? Did she finally come to peace with herself?

To tell you the truth, my field of study surely pushed me to question the world around me. However, it is more precisely the questions on gender, feminism as well as equality between men and women that changed me forever. I am aware of how much these topics are repeatedly criticized, perhaps despised, but I also know they helped a lot of people understand a little more about their surroundings and how to fix themselves. During my journey, I met an enormous amount of people who experienced the same thing as me and sometimes even worse. This led to a lot of sharing, chatting and changes. These exchanges taught me more than anything else. Kindness and tolerance also allowed me to connect with people I never thought I would connect with.

Now that my master in gender studies with sociology specialization is coming to an end, I know one thing. I know that I will never close my eyes again on any violence matter, I will never tolerate insults, threats and verbal abuse towards other people only because they are different. I will not condone this world and this society into dividing its inhabitants. In fact, I decided to commit mostly because I cannot back out. I want to commit to my future job and towards my loved ones to make them grow, I want to engage on social media to speak up on numerous social issues. It does not matter what it is. I want to commit to make the world the place I have always wanted to see.

Gaëlle, on September 25th, 2020

Gaëlle is a micro-entrepreneur, and offers personal development trainings ! You can follow her work on her website or on instagram @athenaa_off.

Content translated by Emilie Marcotte.

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