2015 just flew by, at least, for me, anyway and thank goodness, it’s finally behind me now! It was a year filled more losses than triumphs and more angst than joy. But I’ve always prided myself on being a bit of realist so I’m taking those negative outcomes as necessary life lessons to get me to where I need to be in the future. Sweet twenty-16 has arrived and I am excited about the countless possibilities for greatness and opportunities for growth that this New Year signifies.
I’m not one to make New Year’s resolutions per se but I do like to set new goals for myself each year and I always make a conscious decision to learn from the mistakes I made during the previous year. Christmas and New Year can be a depressing time of year because you’re kind of forced to reflect upon everything that happened (or didn’t happen) during the year as a new one begins. However, this isn’t always necessarily a bad thing. I feel, it’s the ideal time to decide exactly what you’d like to do differently and take stock of all your non-material wealth. Granted, you can decide to better yourself at any time during the year but the beauty about starting a new year is that, you can start anew and with the wisdom one gains from hindsight, you can go into it with a completely new strategy.
I mentioned that 2015 wasn’t the best year for me but really, the last three years in general haven’t been the easiest in terms of my personal life and career. But I had to go through some of these hardships in order for me to get to a better place. In the final year of my LLB studies, I suddenly found myself feeling lost and confused. All the things I thought I believed and understood no longer made much sense. I had gone from being somewhat self-assured and driven to anxious, demotivated and constantly worrying about my future. Even on my graduation day, which should have been one of the happiest days of my life, I felt no sense of accomplishment. I’d worked so hard for seemingly, nothing really. Considering the fact law was something I had always wanted to do and enjoyed immensely, how could I suddenly be having doubts?
Following my graduation, I wanted to take a little time off to unwind and explore my other interests beyond law while I made plans to pursue postgraduate studies in the subject. At that time, certain events had transpired which caused past traumas and painful childhood memories to resurface so I was desperate for a fresh start. Unfortunately, the plans I made fell apart and everything I did to get my life back on track yielded only negative results despite how much time and energy I’d put into it. It seemed as if I just wasn’t good enough. I didn’t cope with it too well either and I’m no longer ashamed to admit, that my emotional and physical well-being were suffering too. Anyone who suffers from anxiety issues would understand just how debilitating it can be.
I’d never been so directionless in my entire life but, eventually, I reached a point where I’d had enough. I decided to confront my emotional issues head-on. Even though it’s been very tough, I think the worst is over. The great thing about hitting rock bottom is that the only way is up. Instead of fixating on how much of a mess I thought my life was, I started focusing my energy on the projects I had abandoned as trivial or out of my reach because I felt I wasn’t talented enough to pursue them. This blog is one of those projects.
It felt incredible to start The Diaspora Baby in July last year. Not only have I rekindled my passion for research and writing, but I have learnt a great deal in the short space of time that I’ve been blogging. By undertaking the blogging enterprise, I’ve read many compelling stories and inspirational blog posts, discovered some interesting concepts and most importantly, I’ve accomplished one of my main goals for starting this blog – learning more about who I am. I’m looking forward to improving my blog this year by further exploring the notion of being a third culture kid, featuring some guest bloggers, including more personal anecdotes and analysing more literature on the subject of identity.
In addition to The Diaspora Baby, I started a second blog on Instagram entitled: Urban Afro Gypsy. Unable to come up with a way to consolidate my vast array of interests into a single blog that made sense, I decided to create two, centring on two very specific interests of mine. Urban Afro Gypsy can be labelled a fashion blog, plain and simple, but (and this may sound unoriginal) it is a lot more than that. It encompasses many different aspects of the subject matter and is a platform for me to share not only the outfits I throw together or which celebrity’s closet I’d love to raid but also allows me to explore my deep interest in men’s fashion, African fashion, accessories, great memories associated with beautiful clothing and history, among other things.
Although my two blogs have different subject matters and purposes, they converge in one respect. I believe that fashion is a strong visual expression of one’s identity. The name of the fashion blog describes not only how I describe my sense of style, but reflects my hybrid cultural identity – my African roots, blended with modern urban fashion and the gypsy-esque lifestyle I have grown accustomed to over the years. I also often look to gypsy culture for clothing inspiration. I’ve already made a number of changes to Urban Afro Gypsy and have exciting plans to make it grow and build a brand from it. But I don’t want to get ahead of myself, every day is new learning experience which is the whole point of the exercise – to learn, grow and flex my creative muscles.
I’ll be 24 this year and although I’m not exactly where I’d envisioned I’d be a few years ago, I’ve still got my whole life ahead of me and knowing that I’m not the only 20-something struggling through it is a comforting thought lol. Overall, it hasn’t all been bad. I’ve met some phenomenal people, made a few friends, picked up a few new hobbies, matured as a person and improved some of my skills. I’m very grateful to my amazing friends and family who have supported and encouraged me even when I felt like a complete failure. I’m also very proud of myself for staying the course in spite of how many times I came really close to giving up.
To quote Kevin Nealon in one of my favourite movies, Happy Gilmore, moving forward, “you gotta harness the good energy and block out the bad.” Here’s to being anxiety-free and totally awesome! To anyone who’s reading this, if 2015 was a tough year for you, I’m in your corner and wish you a kick-ass 2016 and beyond!