by Celia Afande
It took me a while to come up with an idea of what to write for my first piece for Redefining Our Womanhood. Even as I write this now, I’m plagued with self-doubt and insecurities. No one cares about what I have to say. My voice doesn’t matter. I have nothing valuable to say, or they hired the wrong person. These are thoughts that seem to permanently live in my mind.
As a 24-year-old woman, the struggle to believe in myself and my abilities is real. Doubt rushes through me like that shiver you get when you first step into cold ocean water. You know it’s coming, but it still takes you by surprise.
As womxn, we are often our own worst critics. We have a tendency to not only underestimate our performances, but also our abilities. Even those that have become second nature to us, or those we have been praised for. Writing is a huge part of who I am. I have been writing for as long as I can remember. It has helped me make sense of my identity as a mixed-race Black woman; as well as deal with my experiences and emotions. Yet, I question my ability to write a coherent sentence, my ability to tell a story and connect with readers.
After publishing ‘Failing in my Blackness’, on for Redefining Our Womanhood, I fear that anything now will be a disappointment. That nothing I write will ever be as raw, as real, or as relatable. This tendency to set extremely high standards for myself – that anything less than perfect is not enough – is something I am working on. It is something that as womxn, no matter our backgrounds or stories, need to release. If this year has given us anything, it is the knowledge that we need to be kinder to ourselves. That we need to give ourselves a break.
They say that we should speak to ourselves the way we do to our friends. I have heard the way I support and cheer for my friends. I give them my ‘straight-up-no-lies’ kind of advice. So, I try to remember all the times that I started something new, moved to another country or met a new person. I think of the fear, doubt and insecurities I wrestled with at that time, and recognize that I am on the other side.
I made it.
You can explore follow Celia's work at @confessionsofamixedkid