What is your story of strength?
What my first memory of strength came from was growing up in a small suburban town in Sweden of only 25,000 residents. My dad was the very first black person in that town, and being one of the very first immigrant families was though, this during a time when the internet was still a hype. The concept of being different is something everyone can relate too. However, this is not something you recognize until the world gives one this perspective.
As a kid I thought I was just like everyone else there – I did not understand the concept of being different to people in my community. This was manifested in me when I realized that other kids did not want to play with me, because of something their parents said. It was hard. Makes one point many fingers at oneself, trying to figure out why. I spent a lot of the childhood feeling alone, having siblings helps a lot, but the rejection from society was an internal feeling.
Moving to Oslo, Norway in a slightly more diverse society, still gave the feeling of outsiderness. It takes time to recognize the lessons one gets facing the world. The question is always “Where do we go from there?” It is all about the choices we make. Making a choice to be secure in who I am, having confidence is not an easy thing – but if the option is not going to give the results, there is no choice. A choice like this takes much effort. However, it is a challenge and effort that makes me feel strong.
Reflecting sometimes makes you feel fearless, so I feel fearless in some parts of life.
What’s a gender norm or expectation that you wish didn’t exist?
All gender norms. Usually, women talk about the stereotypes imposed on them by men, but I think it’s equally important to look at is how hard men are on themselves, this concerning the masculine stereotype. I wonder if that could change many things. I do not think men and women are the same; we are different and unique in our differences. We fill each other up so correctly. We both have different roles to play. I wish I lived in a society where we can coexist in peace. I wish men can be men and that they can be beautiful as they are, so that we, women, can be free of the expectations of what a man is. I think that if they find peace, then we will find peace as well.
Other than being a woman, what are the most meaningful aspects of your identity and why?
Being so strong-minded. I genuinely believe that there’s nothing I cannot do, it sometimes takes some time, and hard work to get there, but impossible is not the word. My mother was always challenging me by asking “What about this is it that you cannot do?” and if I could not explain “why” then it was not impossible, this is something that has allowed me to allow myself to step into things even if it feels uncomfortable. I want to change the world, and I am not afraid to say it or wish this, so making conscious and meaningful choices, I decided that I want to be a part of Techfugees makes that more possible.
Daring to say “Yes,” to things that seem to be scary gives me a rush. One of those “yes-moments” was building and being the CEO of Untold Insights (former UT:). That yes was a significant transformation for me.
During my time in Untold Insight, I got to witness the incredible force of energy, and see how creative you can be without restrictions or fear of creativity. Untold Insights connects students with real clients and offers an unpolished approach to insight, community management, and concept development. Students got employed on paid projects to work with big corporations that were brave enough to take on the challenge. Because how does one communicate or help a target audience if you do not ask them, and try to understand what they are thinking, or what their needs are?” The students delivered millennial perspectives, insight with mentorship from Senior people from the industry while getting paid to do it as their job. Observing, learning and getting mentoring from the people like Anniken Fjelberg and Joacim Levin, while building a platform that gave others the possibilities, was a defining moment in who I am today.
What advice would your adult self-give your younger self?
Don’t be so hard on yourself! Something we all hear, to be honest, it is something I still hear. “Feel your emotions: it is okay to be afraid, fear is not a reason to not do something. Even the concept of “regret” reincarnates into something beautiful most times. It takes time, but today I can always look back at choices or situations; the loneliness, moves, quitting jobs, changing friend groups even breakups with boyfriends – drawing some of those lines and looking back at “the big regrets,” I think most people will end up with a smile or laughter. Summing this all up: Be open to the universe and to whatever the world brings you. It would not be for you if it did not come your way. We are supposed to grow and develop, and it is not always easy.
There are no regrets – it is about the LESSONS (cliché, but a very true cliché).
What’s something you’re working on, or trying to improve in your own life?
Staying in the moment, I’m always drifting into the future. Don’t know if it is because of curiosity or the wish to be born in a future decade, but my head is always drifting away. I am incredibly eager and driven, but with the lack of focus, its hard achieve the vision or seeing what life brings. Taking time off for meditation has been vital; it is something I’m working hard on making time to do. There is a big difference in me after meditating for a while; it makes me feel more aware of my emotions. Emotions can vary, something most women can relate too. For women it is vital to be aware of our cycles, we will notice that we may be emotional before or during our periods. I think our cycles makes us so strong and powerful, but using tools like meditation can amplify this. The realization of this is essential. We are so lucky to experience this.