It’s New Year’s Eve. 2019. I’m 3000 feet in the air in between London and Rome. Between time zones. Between years and decades. It’s got me thinking. Time. Passing. What do we really feel about it? I turn the page of the free aeroplane magazine decorated with a beautiful, young, woman who looks almost aroused by her age-reversing 2% retinol cream. Judging by the multi-billion-dollar anti-aging market, we are not so keen.
My mother always said not to get caught up in any trouble, as being black, I would be the one people would blame. Of course, I didn’t believe her. I always knew this was a way to put fear into me which, like many a traditional West African parent (ironically), she could. Many of my friends could swear, shout and berate their parents and be met with nonchalance, calm or a mix of carefully chosen parenting styles. I’d be met with drama. And possibly a slap.
I used to say I was born in Croydon which was actually a lie. I was born in a hospital in Kent, to a blonde-haired-blue-eyed-forty-something-year-old woman and an African American father. Fast forward a few years and my African American father had moved back to South London with a blonde-haired-blue-eyed-twenty-something-year-old woman and my mother and I remained. In the village. Alone.
I never went to India to find myself. This felt like a distinctly white, distinctly privileged and distinctly middle-class thing to do. It wasn’t an option. Or, more accurately, it didn’t appear like an option.
Like many I have always been sceptical of the prophets. No, not just the religious kinds but the ones that go by Psychic Sally, Tarot Tina or Mystic Meg. In my opinion, they were either scheming, deluded con artists praying on people’s weakness and desperation with the human condition - or (and perhaps more unsettlingly) they were gifted with the un-Godly ability to see through to your soul, predict a future full of potential woes and ultimately influence your own intuition and life decisions. Neither sounded great. So, I was surprised when I found myself sitting in front of one in a basement in Covent Garden.
In 2016 my single mother friend and I decided to take our five year olds away to Barcelona for a short break. In the midst of a failing relationship, this felt like a small revolution. Fast forward five years and we have just go back from Copenhagen. In this blog, I unpack how travelling as a single parent is not only possible but (sometimes) even quite fun.
It’s the age old question – can we as women have it all? And if so how do we keep it all without losing our sh*t? To me this has always felt like a conundrum for the white and the privileged. But today is a new day and we black women are smashing ceilings everywhere – especially in the creative sectors – so is it as easy as it looks?