as a teenager is always a precarious time. Navigating your way through parental and societal expectations. Not to mention that of your friends.
Primary school was a tricky time.
Secondary school was slightly more forgiving. Maybe I had developed enough sassiness to ward off any potential haters.
They existed. They said hurtful things and treated me badly at times. But this is not a pity party nor the space for this.
What is interesting for me is how I utilised those feelings and reflect on them now.
The most prominent feelings were of wanting to be ‘different’, not in terms of my ethnic identity - how I defined myself. But more of how I fitted in with the ‘misfits’. Power in numbers. The grunge kids of the day. It was fun to belong and I was accepted without question.
My identity became about self expression in terms of how I dressed, dyed my hair, conformed to a prescribed look. And ignored any feelings to do with my heritage.
It was simpler.
It was fun to bleach my hair a honey blond colour. I liked the admiration I got for it. My Nan, I remember was absolutely distraught at how I “had ruined my beautiful black hair”. It is only hair I thought, it will grow back.
Later on it became pillar box red.
Always the rebel. My mum had taught me to be independent and do what I felt passionate about. Do it with conviction.
I must remember that on this journey, this business, this platform I wanted to create. To do it with core values and concepts at the core.
As the next chapter approached I started to question my identity more and embrace it. More on that next week.