Growing up in a westernised society and away from the homelands, I was blessed with freedom and opportunities to succeed in life. But with that, I knew I would have to work twice as hard to prove myself and to others that it can be done because being a black, muslim, female is a rare breed that not many people will take a chance on. This meant I needed to create my own opportunities in order to survive in this place.
From a young age, I knew I had a special talent of being creative and I would find different methods of expressing myself, through the way i dressed, the books I would read and the art I would create. But yet, I was still torn between being myself and trying to fit in with society and do things just to be accepted and to be treated like every other young female that I was surrounded by. Although this mentality was difficult to deal with it, it took time for me to ignore it and be myself and if people don’t like it, thats their issue. Not mine. This self driven person inside of me allowed me to have a dream and do whatever it takes to turn it into reality. If I didn’t have the support of my family, friends and other creative minds, I would not be where I am today.
I am also blessed to have been introduced to my roots of being from Sudan from an early age thanks to my parents, who still have family living there, as well as across the globe. This gives me the chance to travel more, create long lasting memories with them and be grateful that I have a family, who are so well connected with each other. We are all siblings and will do anything for one another, through the good times and the bad.
Although our native lands is going through a rough time, I am proud of the culture that comes along with it. We give so much love to people, help each other and are proud of where we come from and we show that compassion is celebratory events such as; weddings, funerals, baby shower, religious events..etc
But the tough part of all of this is having to wear a mask and know when to wear it. For example issues such the way I style my hair and the way I dress and act can be avoided by creating a different side of me, which I share with some people and I begin to question myself as to why am I doing this?
Why do I have to act a certain way to fit in?
Why can’t I be myself?
Why do I need to wear a mask around some people? With all of these deep thoughts and questions, it becomes overwhelming. But the self driven girl, I once was comes out and shows the world who I really am.
By Azza Gasim