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  • Aaliyah Iona

The women and colour within Me

If there is one thing in this lifetime that I cannot thank God enough for, it’s my mom.

I have always felt that from the moment I grew into existence, we have possessed an unwavering bond, that neither distance or time has altered. I won’t pretend I didn’t once highlight my 16th birthday as the day I would move out of my family home, but what I can tell you is, in spite of all my protests as a hormonal and mischievous teenager, I’ve never doubted her love. I find more and more, I’m counting my blessings for her and her guidance as I wholly believe I wouldn’t be the woman I am today without it.

I have always grown up with my mom telling me, “Don’t be like me, be better than me”.  As a child, I didn’t appreciate what she meant, however, more than ever I appreciate that her words couldn’t have come from a purer place. She’s given me the harshest of truths from as early as I can remember about the world, career and relationships, sometimes frightening, but, all with the intention to encourage me to do better.

In my last post, I touched on loving my blackness and womanhood, and I truly have my mom to thank for that. In turn, when I reflect on my grandmothers' and their move to England during the 50s/early 60s I am reminded of their persistence to do and be better too. Irrespective of failed relationships or low income the women in my family have always strived for success, if not for themselves their successors. 

My mom like so many others has always informed me that as a woman of colour you will have to work twice as hard. It’s 2018 and women are still nowhere near as equal to men in pay, so where does that leave me as a Black woman? I'll tell you: I will have to be three times as good as my counterparts and in the face of adversity remain inspired despite obvious prejudices. It’s a sad reality but it’s true. Am I irritated by this truth? 100%, but I fear dwelling on it can only make you resentful. Instead, like so many young women of colour, I aim to break the mould. 

I'm currently 23 years old with no desire to have children in the next 5 years, yet, here I am plotting the seeds I’ll sow for my own children so they too can be “better than me”. It’s a very strange thing to consider what I’ll be like one day as a mother, but I know I’ll be fine as long as I am half the woman my mom is; as for the Rosa Parks, Oprah Winfrey, Tracee Ellis Ross, Michelle Obama and Candice Chenade's of the world, they're a bonus.

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