In the Somali culture, we carry our forefather’s name like an ID card; you have your name, your father’s name and then your grandfather’s etc etc etc. In my case, ‘Id’/’Ciid’/’Eid’, is my great-grandfather’s name and it’s also the kind of name that hits you with a spotlight when you’re in certain places…this town I’ve moved to is one of those places. Less than 2 hours in the country and at least 3 different people had figured out who my family is, and all I could do was that awkward tight-liped smile with a gentle nod of the head to confirm.
I find it crazy that we all have this innate need to have a home – a place that is ours, where we can strip off the masks that we use to navigate this world and just belong – yet we’re a species that is so consumed with perception, usually someone else’s, and being ‘accepted’, you would think the world would be our home, no? That people would naturally be warm, open and non-judgmental… I wonder, if we treated people the way that we wanted to be treated, would there be this domino-effect of love and goodness because healing stems from the depths of each of our souls, which means we have the tools to create the world we need, right?
There are certain dreams and memories that will forever imprinted in who who we are – for me a defining one has definitely been to go to the country that I’m from. So as I sit here a whole 25 years old about to move to country that I know nothing about besides the nostalgia that has come with being the daughter of immigrants, I would be lying if I said that I wasn’t an emotional wreck the past couple of days. I mean yes listening to Kelly Clarkson’s ‘Breakaway’ is doing absolutely nothing to help balance the tears but I really have never felt anxiety like this.
“I feel old”
“I feel like I should have accomplished so much more”
“I have no idea what I’m doing”
Edward Enninful, the new Editor-in-Chief of British Vogue, has already put his money where his mouth is, with a reformed and more inclusive vision for the future of the UK edition. I mean look at how beautiful this cover is! I am here for this on so many levels and this is an exciting time to be alive – watching change happen right before your eyes is an inspiring feeling and I salute Edward for keeping true to his vision and starting a chapter that will fill so many lives with such positive energy.
I wrote this piece when I was about 16 or 17 for a speech contest at school. Almost 9 years later, my sister has finished school and is on her way to university. It has taken Allah’s grace and mercy, all four of us in our family, sacrifices, compromises and countless dedicated teachers over the years to make this happen. My sister is honestly the most motivated and strong-willed person I have ever met, and my mother is the personification of love, support and patience. This piece will forever and always be one of my favourite things ever.
I would be lying if I said that any of it is easy but I wouldn’t change a damn thing because my sister, and all people with Down’s, can brighten up the world with their unconditional love, their smiles and their hope! She’s taught me more about being, than anything or anyone in this world could and I thank Allah swt everyday for blessing our lives with Habon!
Taking taking of yourself, using your energy on things that matter to you and spending resources on yourself can sometimes feel incredibly selfish and in recent years self-love has become the buzzword that we can’t escape. If it isn’t slogans on t-shirts, it’s face masks and candles on Instagram, and honestly I can’t shake the feeling that it sometimes feels incredibly ingenious. Maybe that’s because the western ideals and values that hold the pillars to everyday life aren’t really ones that I deeply resonate with (or because it is always protrayed as editorial when it’s a valley girl and ‘too extra when it’s a woman of colour). Read More
The Uber driver looked at me confused when I entered the backseat of his car. Puzzled he looked at me through the rearview after we exchanged hellos and he asks “So what is your name again?”
I’m 25 today.
Happy New Year!