20 Mar How do you want to spend your life?
This afternoon, while watching Hillary Clinton’s Masterclass, I had to literally pause to write this post because I felt empowered by her words and was inspired to share her thoughts. In her lesson, she speaks about understanding your core values and making that your focus in life. She explains that if you follow your values, you will feel more fulfilled and make a difference in your own way to the world. She warns about not focusing on what your parents want for you or what society wants you to do. This struck a chord with me. As a 35-year old woman who does not want to have children, I often feel the societal pressures to have kids and honestly think about how I don’t want that path for myself almost every day. I love children, don’t get me wrong, but I don’t want to be a mother. All the ladies my age in my family are having children or already had them and I can’t help but to feel guilty that I am not following “society’s path”. I am happy for them all because I can see how much joy it brings them, but I often find myself feeling like I don’t fit in during family gatherings because many of the conversations are inevitably child-focused. I realized today that I am wasting my energy focusing on these feelings, instead of focusing on what is important to me.
What I do care deeply about is womens’ rights and empowerment. I also care deeply about diversity and am strongly against racism in any form. These issues are often reflected in my work, from body-positive shoots where I celebrate every body as being valid and worthy of love and respect, to making a real effort to having diverse representation in my portfolio because there is no one type of beauty.
February was a tough month for Canadians, especially for those living in Ottawa with the Truck Convoy. Things got out of hand and it was a wake up call to show that there is still prevalent racism in Canada. In the middle of the protests, my best friend, a Haitian model, and I had planned to do a fashion shoot. However, she had to make a stop downtown to pick up a few things before coming to my place. She told me how, as a black woman, she didn’t feel safe in her own neighbourhood with the protests nearby, and this broke my heart. This should not be happening in today’s age! I do understand that as a white woman living in Canada I don’t experience racism like so many other people do, and I feel horrible about the disrespect shown to them.
I took a Lyft yesterday after leaving a baby shower and had a meaningful conversation with my driver, a young Syrian man. I tend to speak my mind, so we got chatting about what’s going on in the world and he told me about the horrible experiences he and his family have endured at the hands of war. He told me that racism is everywhere in the world and every race has people that are racist. That opened my eyes even wider. I was happy to hear his story and I thought about it all yesterday. This young man had experienced so much loss and devastation already, and yet somehow still has a positive outlook and thinks that life is beautiful. I want to be more like my Lyft driver.
Five minutes of watching Hillary’s Masterclass gave me more direction that anything I have ever watched. She inspires me to focus on the positive, stand up for my beliefs, and stop worrying about the other routes of life I could have taken. To make a difference with my photography, using my website as my podium, and be more active in Ottawa to spread my message.
I feel if everybody took a more active role in promoting their core values the world would be a better place. I hope this blog posts reaches many people who may have been stuck in a rut like me, and moves them to follow their passions. Life is too short to focus on what you don’t want. Focus instead on what you do. That’s what matters.