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  • Aaliyah Iona

End of an era

Black History Month is drawing to a close, and I have to say I haven’t been as inspired as I am right now in such a long time. I have attended several exhibitions in honour of BHM, and it’s been a humbling reminder that my experiences are shared, my feelings are valid, and most importantly, it will not define me. Sometimes it can be all too easy to wallow in our frustration with the world and not take the time to celebrate where we are today, and how far we have come. You may even feel like you are the only one feeling a particular way, what I cannot emphasise is, you are not alone. In these spaces, I have seen men and women discuss their personal journeys, and it’s been a testament as to what great things can come when you prevail. The result may not look how you want, it may even take longer than you think, but what is important is you trust the progress.

For the most part, I see myself as a strong woman who refuses to allow external factors beyond her control dictate how she sees herself. Yet this month alone I have never felt so weak, confused and somewhat scared of what the future may hold. Still, I can honestly say I am beyond proud of myself and have enjoyed seeing this short period of turmoil through. It’s been a reminder that I am not superwoman, and I don’t need to be either. As long as I am honest, resilient and willing to learn, I will always be okay. The most interesting part of all this is acknowledging the various ways in which I have abused myself by setting unnecessary constraints on my character like, “it’s weak to cry” so I would avoid crying at all costs or “it’s stupid to just not know”, so I wouldn’t ask for help. I realise now that neither is true. I don’t need to be so demanding on myself because I am young and I am learning. There isn’t a singular person on this earth who has their shit together at all times, doesn’t cry or knows everything. There are a lot of people out here winging it and simply aiming for the best result, so why the hell can’t I?

A very large side note, if you ever want to attend an event alone be it to learn or network, go. Don’t overthink it, just go. There are so many people attend alone, and at our big age, it should be a bigger priority to gain knowledge then worry about the perspective of others. I am saying this as I recently attended an event alone, and I thought to myself, “Rah, it’s really not that deep!”. I have been present in spaces whereby others in the room are not as welcoming as you’d hope, but these people mean nothing. Do not let them impede on your progress. With that, I encourage anyone reading to think less and take more action.

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