I have had a brilliant weekend that I want to share with you all. On Saturday I attended a day of talks and workshops aimed at South Asian bloggers in London by Migreat. Before the event, I was also asked to give a talk about my experience as an influential blogger and give advice to the audience.
I remember feeling daunted and thought: “Me? Seriously? I’m too young; I don’t think I can do this.”
For many, especially women, it has become almost “natural” for us to doubt our abilities and skills. We have grown accustomed to being quiet and not drawing attention to ourselves, our intellect and our ambitions. It’s no wonder that we grow up to become women who are reluctant to openly discuss our talents. Yes we may be intelligent, have the qualifications and expertise required in our fields of work, but it is our lack of confidence and self belief that continually holds us back.
And it was this thinking that fuelled my initial feelings of self doubt. In fact, for many years it has been this type of thinking which has held me back from achieving my true potential and ambition. I’m sure it has been the case for many other women as well.
When I arrived at the event, I was delighted to see a room full of South Asian women. Although the event had stated any blogger was welcome, it was quite a sight to see so many vivacious, intelligent and ambitious women of all ages and backgrounds. In all honesty, it warmed my heart because it’s not something that I get to experience every day.
“A word after a word after a word is power.” ~ Margaret Atwood
At the very heart of blogging lie two things. Firstly, the ability to write well. Secondly, the ability to connect with people via emotions. When combined, these two components create an authentic voice. This is something more powerful than any of us actually realise. If you can manage to achieve and maintain a balance between these two things, you’re onto a winner.
Writing and to be able to write well is a skill and an act of defiance. In the morning, a panellist (who is a man) remarked: “There are so many women here. I’m not sure why” – this annoyed me because it felt like he said it with a hint of negativity. I knew exactly why there were so many women bloggers in that room; blogging gives people – whom we wouldn’t normally hear from – a voice and outlet for expression. It also is a safer space where one can air their views and, in time, garner influence. In the real world, this hasn’t fully materialised for women yet, but in the blogosphere it certainly has.
Writing has been and always will be a source of power, regardless of whether or not a piece of work gets published. It is the sense of relief one feels after writing down their feelings or true opinions into a blog that gives us power. In our hands, our words have the power to lift others or destroy them.
I felt immensely proud and privileged to be in a room full of South Asian women with personalities that the world doesn’t associate with us. Intelligent, ambitious, feisty, lively and fierce. It gave me so much hope because this is what South Asian women are really like; we have hopes, dreams and ambitions just like any other woman. It feels stupid for me to outline this, but given the way that South Asian women are represented in today’s world, I feel it necessary to do so.
For many years, I’ve come across women (of all backgrounds and ethnic groups) who drag each other down. It was empowering to be surrounded by women who genuinely wanted each other to do well. We all have a responsibility to promote this way of thinking for many other young girls and women.