For most of my life, I’ve been around people who have been raised to meddle with people’s affairs and stop them from doing what they want. It’s been a long uphill battle to go against this toxic environment, to ultimately break out of my own shell and discover what I’m capable of. And while I’m still learning but looking at the woman I am today, I can’t help but feel proud of myself.
At age 7, I wanted to be an astronaut. “Don’t be silly, girls can’t be astronauts.”
At age 11, I wanted to be a crocodile hunter. “You’re just obsessed with Steve Irwin, you know he’s a guy, he can do that stuff. You can’t.”
At age 13, I wanted to be a scientist. “There’s no future in that field, you’re a girl. Be more realistic.”
At age 15, I wanted to be a writer. “You’re not going to get a job if you become a writer. That’s just a hobby.”
At age 17, I wanted to be an architect. “You’re in K.S.A., an architects mostly deal with men and manual labor workers. You can’t do any of that, you’re a girl.”
So my plans constantly changed, and I wondered what I could actually be.
Having supportive parents is not enough if society yearns to take and take and give nothing back. The more I think about it, the more I’m surprised at how my parents agreed to let me fly to the other part of the globe for an education. I wonder a lot.
[bctt tweet=”Having supportive parents is not enough when society tries to take everything from you. ” username=”wearethetempest”]
It was my own decision then, to fly back closer to home, to GCC. Albeit not to the place I was born and raised in, but a middle ground that was a perfect mix of where I predicted I would bloom.
A brown woman of color in a tech industry, and a niche at that, security. If I had a cent for the number of times people around me have told me I was too ambitious, or too hard-working, or aiming too high, or something around those lines, I wouldn’t need to work for a good few years.
My opinions and mindset have changed considerably over the past few years – I’m still evolving. But now I’m more aware, and more accepting of these changes. I welcome experiences with open arms. It’s what’s changed me. I want to learn, and I’m constantly learning: academically, professionally, personally.
Every year has brought its hurdles, and oh, have I learned. It’s why I can finally own up to everything up till now and consider myself accomplished, to an extent. I used to shy away from the word before.
I don’t anymore.
[bctt tweet=”I used to shy away from the word ‘accomplished.’ ” username=”wearethetempest”]
I have a semester left of college, and I’ve come a long way since freshman year. I was running for the Freshman Representative post. I won, and my Student Government (SG) journey started. SG was a passion for me, and I relished in it. At the end of my sophomore year, I ran for President and I set out for an ambitious plan. Elections are a messy business, everywhere, and being the only female candidate is even worse. But I had an amazing team to accomplish the ambitious goals we’d set for the year. We were always striving for improvement, for creativity, and for setting the highest standard we were capable of, both in terms of performance and results. As my term ended, so did a chapter of my life that will always be dear to my heart.
Summer before senior year, I was scrolling through my Facebook feed, and I came across a few culturally atrocious articles. These were topics considered taboo, at least culturally. No one was allowed to speak up about everything wrong with our culture, or to speak about the reality. Most problems were kept hush-hush.
[bctt tweet=”I found The Tempest on Facebook posting ‘culturally atrocious articles’. ” username=”wearethetempest”]
I started reading these articles, and I went on a binge-reading frenzy. I couldn’t get enough of them. And, that’s when I realized, this was it. A platform for diverse women, where we finally had a voice. This was my kind of place, and I wanted to be a a part of it. Lucky for me, the fall fellowship deadlines had not yet passed. After having the application open on my browser tab for almost a week, I decided to take the leap and apply.
And that’s how I joined the most bad-ass group of boss ladies I’ve worked with, at The Tempest.
With an internship, a part-time job, a full-time fellowship that transitioned into a full-time editorial position, and 19 credits for my Fall semester, I’m not sure what I was thinking. I wanted to do everything, and it became more of a personal challenge. I absolutely had to do this, for me. I’ve been lucky to have had amazingly understanding colleagues and friends. Not every day has been easy: I’ve had the roughest of days, and the most amazing days too. I’ve learnt so much from September to December, that it feels like I’m light-years ahead of the person I was during the summer.
[bctt tweet=”I took the leap and applied for a fellowship.” username=”wearethetempest”]
I got onto the Dean’s list, and I managed to finish full circle. God has been kind to me indeed.
I’ve learned to tackle so much, but if anything, I’ve learned that anything is possible if we set our minds to it. Too many of us settle for mediocrity, when in reality we are capable of so, so much more. We set our own limits, but we can challenge them just as well.
I now also know what truly makes me happy; learning this has been the most accomplishing feat for me, because I know what to focus all my energy on. I quit everything else for this upcoming semester, except the one thing that matters to me the most: this. I am ready to join the storm; this mission I thoroughly believe in, and this movement of empowering women.
[bctt tweet=”Too many of us settle for mediocrity, when in reality we are capable of so much more.” username=”wearethetempest”]
I am the tempest.