To Be Black
There is no replica for the struggle of a black person in the UK. Most of us are here as a result of our parents migrating from their respective countries to England for a better future. The things our parents have done for us are things we could have never done for ourselves and for that, we will always be indebted to them in the form of love and gratitude. One of the hardest things about being Black & British is the lack of belonging, one can almost feel like a nomad. When you go back to your country of origin they can think you are either rich enough to scam or so English that you are no longer in touch with your roots. In a way, you are teased for your split upbringing. When you are in this country, you can very much feel like an outsider. Your name is too long, others find it hard to pronounce or you face micro-aggressions in different formats. So yes, in a way, there can be a sense of an identity crisis. The silver lining to this is that we can create our own image of what it means to be black and British in the best way possible. However, there is something we often do that hinders us from being our best selves.
To Be Young
What do all of these people above have in common? They are young, gifted and black. I respect them all for their individual crafts but I think what we do as spectators of others is look at some of these people and measure our success against our age. I often hear “Wow, she’s only 20 something.” Or “Look how young he is!” and while that is brilliant that they’ve achieved so much in their youth, we can quickly start to question what we were doing. I’ll start by answering. I was playing, I was being a child, I was dating, I was making mistakes, I was maturing, I was growing. What we sometimes forget is the importance of normality while we advance into different ages. We can’t simply rank ourselves next to young people and question where we have been going wrong. Your experiences are still valid and necessary to help you get to where you want to be but you can’t be blindsided by the outcome that went into somebody else’s formula. Furthermore, our personal successes will come in it’s own time and when it does, it will feel that much sweeter because you will know that it is truly your deserved time. When we try to rush into what isn’t supposed to be ours yet, we buy things we can’t afford. It may be a designer shoe that goes with nothing else in your wardrobe or it may be a car that you can’t afford to keep up with the payments. So don’t feel panicked by your age and relate it to the level of success that you have measured by another person. Measure your own success, create your own legacy and realise that your story is still worth telling whether you achieved it at 25 or 49.
To Be Gifted
I know that the odds haven’t always been in our favour but I hope you never forget how gifted you truly are. I hope you don’t sell yourself short and think that there is a ceiling to what you can measure up to. I hope you go for the jobs that scare you. I hope you stand up for yourself in situations where you are expected to be quiet and expected to be grateful you’re there. I hope you never stop dreaming. I hope you start executing your dreams. I hope you never let all your talent go to waste.
To be young, gifted and black is where it’s at.
End note: I’m going to be taking a little hiatus from blogging. I’m just trying to work on a few other things and need to focus on those but I will still be on Twitter, Instagram & Snapchat (@Bola_Sol).