i’ve decided to mentally promote one of my followers on tiktok from the category of Mutual all the way up to Friend; it’s hard being this gracious 😌
his name is R and he lives in kansas and i’m getting more and more drawn to living somewhere rural based on his videos but that’s a post for later
he changed his profile picture to this CUTE avi that i assumed was hand drawn by him so ofc as a ✨ patron of the arts ✨ i asked if he was taking commissions– all to find out there’s legit just a website that you build your avi yourself !!
anyway i made mine and i love them. look how cute they are!!! they make me want to get bangs and repierce my ear . . . stay tuned tbh
i put them in a fit that is most aligned with my most gender affirming aesthetic (peep the florals, the single dangly queer earring, and the BUTTON okay like we’re doing it ALL)
the background is a failed sunset photo i was trying to take among the brutalist architecture of my beloved alma mater but my slippery fingers said, “not today tha’am”. i never got around to deleting the pic though and i ended up making it the cover image for the first original tracks i’ve ever released, so now this haze of color and darkness has a bit more meaning to me
anyway i’m boutta do that thing where i change every single profile picture to this and use it for the next 11 years xoxo
I can’t remember a specific moment or time or event or occasion where I became a feminist. I don’t recall a singular point where it all suddenly clicked and I decided where I stood in terms of women’s rights and equality. It was just one of those things that happened ever so slowly over an extremely long period of time. Or maybe it was a standard period of time. Maybe it wasn’t as long as I remember. Or maybe there aren’t clear boundaries to the time it takes to grow into someone different.
My family and I were walking out of church one day and a parishioner approached us. I’m not going to point out the fact that he was both white and male because that’s the default and you’ve already assumed that. Somehow, he and my mother got to the topic of education and he turns to my sister and I and says, “You have two strikes against you: you’re female and you’re Black; So you’re going to have to work that much harder.” I remember walking home ruminating on that sentence. In all honesty, it made me sad to think about. I don’t want to have to work harder. I always forget about this encounter until I have to reach back and think about my interaction with not only feminism but also myself. It’s just one of those things that sticks out in my memory.
In high school I travelled a lot. I always found myself either in the Middle East or with a group of Middle Eastern students. In the airports, the group of us would always run into difficulties getting through the lines. One of us was always being held up for questioning—primarily the ones of us of Arab descent. Even years later, when I travel alone, my passport filled with “concerning” visas would grant me the occasional detainment. I thought with these experiences, I could relate to my friends. I thought I finally understood what their lives were like. Like: Hey, let’s all discuss this microaggression that we all share. But I quickly learned that this small annoyance was nothing like their lives. I listened to my friends lament the struggles of being Arab in a post 9/11 America, and it made me so angry. I heard them rattle off a series of horrible names they were constantly being called. I watched them cry when they retold harrowing stories about getting harassed for wearing hijaab. I wanted to do something to combat these images. I just had to learn more about the region so I could remind the naysayers that people are just people with actual feelings. People don’t want negative stereotypes projected on to them. People would prefer not to have a tiny group of individuals be the representative for every single human with a similar complexion. In all honesty, immersing myself in the difficulties of another marginalized identity, gave me the freedom to ignore my own.
I went to high school with a girl named Nora. I later learned that her name was Nora and not “The Girl With Two Moms” as everyone called her. She cut her hair and became president of the Gay Straight Alliance and suddenly everyone started calling her names that were less matter-of-fact. In all honesty, I aspired to be as strong as she was but didn’t understand why she needed to be strong. I never felt revolutionary in standing up for her even though it unfortunately was.
Kath Weston mentions in an article entitled “Theory Theory Who’s Got The Theory” that we theorize all the time whether we think about it or not. I realized that I believe in equality far before feminism was something I understood. However, I theorized something along the lines of “people shouldn’t be so mean” and “even though we are all the same, I don’t think we’re all treated as such.” And in doing some street theorizing, I was able to navigate my way into more socially conscious circles, whether I truly grasped what that meant or not.
As with anyone, any aspect of my identity works together with all the aspects of my identity and shape what I know and believe and theorize. I appreciate that my identity as a feminist is not something that I can find a clear beginning for. Much like being a woman or a African or Hard of Hearing or the countless other attributes of myself, it was something that was always there but never had a name for. It was something that was so intrinsically part of me that finding the term “feminism” felt like finally picking out and trying on the right sized shoes.
I’m a 21 year old who is presently in Jordan and simultaneously all over the place.
I’ve been in Jordan for two months as of tomorrow and it dawned on me that once I get home, my real life starts. I’m going to be an actual human person who’s going to have to start thinking about how to pay off student loans and how not to cry in public (so often).
In conversation I constantly get asked what I’m studying, immediately followed by a question about my post-undergraduate plans. It’s a conversation I’ve been hearing for years but I’m genuinely stumped every single time. I don’t know what I want to do for a career, there are just so many options and will end up defining a great deal of my life. How could I decide?
I’ve see a quotation floating around the internet that says, “don’t ask people what they want to do, ask them what problems they want to solve” which I think is a really good question to turn inwardly as well.
I know that some problems I want to solve include:
– the patriarchy/hypermasculinity
– hunger & water crises
– ostracization of people with disabilities
– the poverty disparity
– bigotry, racism, islamophobia
– among others!
If I could have it my way I would just try and singlehandedly do everything and solve every single problem everywhere but I’m a tiny little human the fact that I have to choose just a few, for logistical/sanity reasons, breaks my heart. This has led me to the realisation that education is the track for me. I would love to teach the importance of service learning and civic engagement and give students to tools and resources to “fix the world” in whatever way they know how.
The world is my oyster which is comforting and terrifying in the best of ways. The next few years are going to be filled with a LOT of uncertainty but I think I’m finally prepared to handle it.
As anyone reading this may already know, my name is Kenechukwu. It’s an Igbo name from Nigeria which means “Thanks be to God” as a shortening of the phrase “ekene dili Chukwu.” But even with this truly amazing meaning, I’ve never really liked my name. It was always so difficult for people to pronounce so I have always chosen to simplify.
In order to avoid using Kenechukwu, I hoarded a collection of nicknames. A few gems include: KC, Kaz, Kennie/Keni, Kiwi, Kasia, Chuks. I’ll spare you the more cringe-worthy ones.
In December, I was in the process of getting ready to travel to Jordan. I was making my blog, I was sending my resume out, and I was applying for my University of Jordan student ID. The one question on all of these, naturally, was “What is your name?”
I had to sit on that question for a while.
I’ve never felt that what people referred to me as defined my identity or who I was, because I knew that at the end of the day I was always Kenechukwu. But I did have that nagging feeling that I should be Kenechukwu. It just felt more real.
I figured that I was coming to a country where I knew no one and no one knew me: it the perfect chance to reinvent myself and decide what I wanted to be called. So instead of digging into my arsenal of cute/terrible nicknames for myself, I “settled” on Kenechukwu.
I started to realise how cool my name was when I thought about how unique it is in the States. It hit me even more as I began to hear it on people’s tongues for the first time. People were very casually calling me Kenechukwu with no mispronunciations or hesitations or stutters. We were all getting used to it.
This is just one tiny step towards me becoming the Kenechukwu my mother named me to be.