Last October, I started a new a job teaching English on a small island in the Mediterranean. I know. Don't hate me 'cause you ain't me.
Anyway, desperate to demonstrate what an amazing capable employee I was planning to be, I sprang into action like overzealous puppy. I tried my best to insert myself into my new work environment. To my disappointment, I was told that basically, there wasn't much for me to do. In fact, some people didn't quite feel as though my position was necessary.
Did I take this apathy as a sign that I should just kick back and enjoy island life? Of course not.
Instead, I began to meditate over the social conditions presented to the children on the island. While, they aren't necessarily poor, per se, there obvious wealth disparity between the copious number of for sale signs in town and the huge yachts in the harbor.
So, I kept digging. Anxious to solve social conditions that are much larger than me. But here's the thing. Nobody asked for my help. And I am not in a position to enact major change in these children's lives. I am not a law maker. I am not the principal. I am not even the head teacher. I'm just a girl from Jersey who has been presented with an awesome opportunity. I am not in GreenPeace or the Peace Corps. I am here to present my native language and culture. That's all.
But for some reason, I felt that it was my duty to be a superhero. To put on my cape and magically make all the perceived ills go away. Blame this on being black or female, or both, simultaneously, as I am. But I've always felt the need to do something. To be of service--to everyone but myself.
I believe in activism. That is one of the main reasons why I started this blog. But I'm learning that in order to fight, you have to use the tools that you have available. And I also need to keep in mind is that activism comes in different forms. What I have with my students is the ability to teach. What I have here is a small space, a corner, on the internet to show some pictures and maybe inspire you to think about fashion/personal style differently.
Point blank, I don't need to fix everything. Especially, stuff that is not broken. I also think that I've failed to consider that culturally things here are different. Honestly, that should be no surprise. But I think that I have failed to consider that culture not only affects the things we eat, and the way we speak, it also affects how we see life.
People here don't necessarily have the same ideals about "success" and "achievement"as they do in America. Here family and community are given priority over material wealth. And there is nothing wrong with that. The fact is, as long as people here are happy, there really isn't fight against or change. And most importantly, it isn't really my duty to spearhead the cause. I just need to stay in my lane.
Keep that in mind the next time you are tempted to spring into action. Be clear on whether or not it is even necessary to take those steps!
Wearing: Thrifted jacket, jeans, sunglasses and boots.
Photo Credit: Steven Trotman