It wasn’t until my third week that I started getting into a steady routine, learning my way around Johannesburg and feeling like this is my home and I’m not just here on a vacation.
I arrived to Thailand with my heart in my throat, and naive optimism. It had taken me a while to convince my family this was the right move, and ultimately I decided to do what I felt was best for my well-being. I took a leap of faith with my first solo trip abroad and the experience enriched my life in more ways than I could’ve ever predicted.
While you can’t change the lack of representation of Black people or avoid unwarranted fetish/sexualizing comments from ill-mannered men, you can still travel with ease without inflicting your well-being. After all, awareness of self surpasses well beyond mainstream positive affirmations; it’s begins with both self-protection and celebration.
We live in this really dark universe where hate is becoming more normalized and more ingrained into our country’s politics, so when I think of just myself going through that I feel very weak, but when I think of my whole community succeeding and persevering, it fills me with a lot of strength and pride by knowing that I can accomplish anything. I know as a united front we can accomplish anything, you know what I’m saying?
Every woman on the BGIO team pours herself fully into her role, and also juggles many other beautiful creative projects, many of which also center black women and other people who occupy identities that are too often marginalized. It's crucial for us to pour back into ourselves to continue to move forward in doing this work with integrity, vigor, and enthusiasm.