13. An Ordinary No with Bim Adewunmi
I had like maybe forty thousand buses syndrome. One time in my twenties and then I burned it to the ground because I was looking around and I was like come and great people equally grit. We're all great. Ask for it uh for it and get it written down but ask the thing thing if you want it Oskar again because the worst thing they'll say is ordinary and then if it's a yes you get to do the thing you want so I was very confident I did think that my quote unquote natural intellect would save me and it's like no. It won't something I think about but now all the time is I look at every opportunity on. Earth is fifty fifty regardless of the probability and my fifty-fifty breaks down to either. It will work or wounds. It's in your or an interest. I think yourself as much as you can. Hello I'm SHARLA and I'm Laurin and and this is the secret lives of black women. It's the first episode of season to Ya. My God so good to be back in the studio in this space ace it feels it feels. It feels good to be alive. It feels good to be back. It feels so good to see your face Shiloh. Cue Thank you and I anti Korean routine. I mean skin chefs kissed to your skin. It's so gorgeous chefs get. How have you missed this? I've missed it so much. Of course. Yes yes this is my favorite thing that I do. I've missed it so much. I feel like I've grown so much. I've missed the open and honesty of the space in these conversations that give me so much life you give me life you give me life. I guys we're just. I wish that you could see my heart rate. Aiding how excited I am to be back an an HAL throwed. Im to introduce our first theme for season two today talking confidence and you know what this is a subject subject that I feel like you and I talk about a lot personally but also not really deep down confidence I mean. I don't know I feel like I actually don't think hourly present as a confident person so that was a lie. Yeah the totally sure because I talk about it all the time. It was like totally delighted myself and be like present. Ain't a person that's really confident capable in control and I was like no I tell and also I don't talk about it for sure 'cause we talk about it nonstop and I'm the the exact opposite. I've present apparently people have told me as a very confident person and I'm just like for for Real Kaz I don't feel it inside. This is the struggle I think. Perfect family have had like a good deal Success in it may seem like I have it together but it just truly at Gel and even hosting this podcast member. Someone sent me a message on the Graham. Are they like commoner on one of my photos news just like it's so great listening. You guys have it all together and I literally read this while I was wrapped in a blanket in my closet crying. Why are you in your closet? Because I didn't want to be around the sun I see I had to ask. I needed content. I was like I just wanted to be like in a dark room and like Jake Depression APP because I was just feeling you know just a complete lack of confidence in like myself and you know my accomplishments like sometimes when I am really hard on myself and and when I get get in that state it's just like I accomplish nothing I have like who. Who am I in the world? Why lies anyone my friend and it just it really inhibits me so it's something that I'm actively working to? You're feel secure in like you know myself and everything about me. I do wonder if confidence is possible. Sometimes for us without out an intense amount of work you know like really working at it. It's and I'm also an immigrant and I feel like coming from Haiti and coming from a poor our country and having this learned helplessness and self hatred. When you come here to America also makes it really hard it inhibits the confidence you know so I do wonder how much of it can we help you know? Sometimes I wonder so. I've been doing like a lot of work. You're just about like healing. My inner child and just figuring out who I was before people told mean who I was a little you know and being comfortable and that person 'cause I think when we're like a kid you are like oh I'm like wild and free free or unlike bookish anyway you feel at least I remember feeling secure and who I was until I didn't even the things like you said even even the things that I'm good at I doubt like am I and I tell you constantly I told you constantly that you're good at a particular thing and you will bring it up a new as if I've never said that you are great at that thing because you never internalize it because I don't believe it so yeah and this is something that I am. I'm actively working on. Is that you know when people give me. And maybe it's because I saw films like never been kissed a lot where it's always like the Bayton switch of someone being really nice and then they like you know poor pigs but on your the dance that's Carey that's not never been kissed spoiler. Alert guys I think so. I always operate within that level of expectation. Because I don't see it about myself and when people are like you're really good at this ask you know of course special. I'm like how are you trying to trick me. Not only do we both not see it because we both operate the same way. But we both don't respond to literal validation out in the world. You know like this friend who I spent the one of the girls I spent the weekend with. WHO said I'm good at everything I do? She was like second in India like as far as test scores for some architecture tests S.. She took like before she went to biomedical engineering. And she's like yeah. I'm good. I was second across all of India. But if I have you no literal things out in the world like being nominated for an award or you know getting a beating out a bunch of people to get a job or like like any kind of validation out in the world I question it I don't I don't look at it and be like yeah. That means I'm good. Got That thing I look at it and I have all kinds of imposter syndrome. We both do. We both question these outward validations of our work and it doesn't give us confidence. We don't believe it. You know you don't bananas. We don't believe it and where it's something but I will say that we are actively working to overcome for combat and I am really excited about today's gas. Been Outta me. An she is a Nigerian born writer and journalists you know her as one of the host of first aid kit. She's also producer for this American life. She's a playwright. Her Bio is amazing. Because is it says funny but can't stress this enough also extremely hot Which says a lot about her level of confidence? I wished that I had even the confidence to put that in my bio. I feel like when I listened to her podcast or read her twitter or see her interviews. There's just such such a sense of shirty about like who she is that I want to learn more about her but also I want to learn how to get. How did she get there So I'm really excited to talk to them today. How about you Charlotte? Yeah yeah so it's going to be our first black British guest. Yes which I think is important. I think it's important to hear from other her EXP- black experiences me too and I also think you know I grew up with such a deep deep love for like British comedy and British movies so I always thought that British predation especially British black people were just inherently cool light to be a British blacks. Like what do you mean that you've ever you know. Struggle struggled with a lack of confidence. You're just born cool. Look at that accent. Anything you say. British sarcasm is the funniest. It's the funniest thing in the world. I'm just like I don't know if anything and be funnier than like British person being sarcastic nope math. I don't I think well I can't wait to talk to her. I feel like I'm just like a little nervous. You're so beautiful. The the the Nigerian in me except that obviously but every other part of us like let's no it's a face but thank. You should not be nervous at all. It's all of a sudden all of the Nigerian. You that makes you so confident. Yes yes shadow over that was more specifically specifically. It's my mother. I yeah that's just even when I'm not feeling confident I am confident. Because she's in me all the time so my my urge to shrink is overpowered by the urge to kind of standard and superheroes. So it's fine. Wow what's what's your mother like. She is an incredibly intelligent. And perhaps the funniest person I know she is. She's a fantastic mimic because of the reason reason why she's so good at mimicry. Is that she. She puts in a little bit of cruelty. which makes it fantastic? I think she kind of she's zeroes in on the thing that makes a person a person cussin' and then she pirates shove and it's fantastic so she's the first funny person I knew and she still is one of the funniest people I know. She is hilarious and awesome. She's yeah she's funny she's great she's Incredibly bold she does things and Explains later if that's the thing that is required but she's not necessarily looking to explain a lot of the time she's incredible. She's very warm. She's very kind Until you until you cross her children and then she'll run needs to the ends of the earth she's she's she's wonderful. I love her. Should you think Because one of the things that we want to talk to you about is we felt that you. Are you exude such confidence in the world. So it's you know it's a really interesting thing when we think of our perceptions of other people because you just shake your head now on Lake I listen to your pockets and I've sceneries with you and I'm just like how can I get to that level of just like trusting myself and you said it's the Nigerian and you that can accept it. Can you like AAC elaborate on that show before I do that though. I think it's important also knew I don't know how old people think I am but I'm very close is two forty so a good amount of this. Thank you for saying that a good amount of this is just plain old time. The longer you live live in your body on this earth I think the more you get to a place of just like I guess this is it so make amends. Delake fix it like you know. I think that's a big part of. It is really just a case of like. Oh I've been doing this for so long. So sometimes people say oh. You're so confident and I think think of the back of my mind I'm like do you think I'm twenty three and therefore it's all because I'm not and that's no shade at all to twenty three year olds. There are many confident twenty three year olds and God bless them but I wasn't always someone who kind of stood onto feats like firmly planted. I was sometimes shaky recall many years ago crying in a toilet work because because I was terrified that I was going to be exposed for something that was the first and anytime I've ever had imposter syndrome because thereafter you realize that the bulk of people are idiots. And so it's like it's fine so that's another huge thing but the most important thing I do think and I always want to reiterate this is that I am. I am thirty seven years old this year and and so a lot of the stuff that used to kind of linger. It's gone I who has the time like there are so many of the things I wanNA do. WHO has the time? Time to be fretting. Like I'm so much more aware of death like Jesse real as real like this his flesh like. It's it's it's degrading with every minute. I'm here so it's like fix up. I haven't got time. Unbe what is everyone they ask your. I'm like away. I'm in almost the exact same space. I'm getting to the point where I literally don't have time for my lack of confidence consonance anymore. It's not serving me anymore and I'm also very aware of the fact that I'm I have a finite amount of time here and is this how I I wanna spend it reading over whether or not I'm good enough at something inconsequential by the way. Like something in a few months probably won't even matter that much anymore not title and I do think I think one of the things I all my life. I've been a Quite keen diary keeper so I had very extensive. Diaries is that sometimes. I wrote in Code. When I was a teenager I was terrified? Someone's going to discover my deep dossier. I mean honestly. I had no secrets I was in. When you're a teenager? You really think that that everything is the most important thing you've ever done ever thought never felt something I decided to do. A few years ago was to write down not even every day but you know every few weeks just kind of like rake over the events of the previous weeks right write that down and then come back to it and one of the things I have that I still do is go back to their diary diary and find appoints maybe a year in the past and I read the stuff I'd written and it's always a catalog of worries or concerns uh-huh or triumphs or sadnesses and a year later. I think to myself I remember about nine point seven percents of anything. I'm reading which at the time felt strong enough that I had to write it down. If fell burning enough. It felt like a big enough issue that I was like right this shit down. It's going to matter and then a year later you like it. It's not a matter I do not remember any of the particulars. This was a nothing. Oh my God and you don't even remember how it felt on the time. The feeling Ling was overwhelming. There is and then you go back and you think ok on the one hand. This is just a function of memory. And you know whatever on the other though do it kind of places your experiences in a much bigger canvas and then you think. Oh I see generally speaking I'm nothing like in the grand scheme of absolutely do yourself down oversee your something you someone great but ultimately we are missed and I think that's an important thing in a sense of proportion and I think that's it basically it's one thing after the other and it's like everything leads to the next thing to the next thing to the next thing until you know they put you in the ground and so you really have to kind of figure out where you're going to expend so much of your energy a- and then pull back from the places where you realize. The return here is small as to be s to be. Yeah nothing so yet eh. Choose wisely but that only comes. I do think with a good amount of time. And you know some navel-gazing introspection where you think I need to sort this. How will you know if I don't it might happen to me? So it's in your own interest. I think to yourself out as much as you can. Yeah Oh that was like A. I just took notes. I'm not and just had to step back I'm like Oh yeah. That was a word because I'm in the point of like I'm thirty three so I'm in the like I've got sort myself out. This shit cannot persist like you said we're just you know each each moment that we breathe. We're dying we're going to die. Yeah so yeah. It's just really. It's good to hear that introspection. I am also like an avid journal. Or but I find sometimes I go back back to my journals like whenever I started new journal. I read the first page of the last one that I finished new an like. Damn why am I still dealing with the same shit. I've gotTA GOTTA figure out a way out of this But I see I I do think that sometimes you're not looking necessarily to to fix so if you're dealing with something that you were dealing with a year ago that's still okay. I I do think that especially in terms of diary keeping. I am not doing it to fix wchs myself. I'm doing it really kind of look at myself. There are some things that I think. We're going to just end up having to live with so it's fine to still be going through something incredibly incredibly similar this time last year. Five years the key is I think really learning kind of make room for that thing and kind of below. Well maybe I'll never quite shake this off and that's okay okay. It can live with me if it's not actively harming me if I'm not if I'm seeking to change it and it's not changing and I'm doing all that I can you know. Then maybe it's fine. Oh at least maybe it's livable. Maybe find is an overstatement. Maybe maybe I can coexist with this thing. Maybe it's a part of me that I can just roll is at the very least he's it's you can learn from it right. I'm so sometimes you don't learn and I think that's also a k. You have to give yourself the room to kind of like I. Guess I'm you you know just not getting this but I'm getting all these other things I think that's the important thing. I'm trying to find a place of balance where I am not needlessly beating myself up and I am mostly cloudy myself on the back of doing the most basic stuff. It's kind of like wow. That was amazing. The way you chew that food that's not like but it sounds like what you're doing is just being present and in the moment trying to be and I think that's a difficult thing because the nature of life as we live it is to be thinking talking about the next thing on the next thing and whether that's like in the grand scheme of your career or just a relationship or your life or whatever your relationship with your mom how you think about your father and you know all these other things you all condition all of us are conditioned to think about Oba. What next which I think is a good thing because you know the human states I think to be striving for some ineffable something which is whatever survival Brian Right exactly? You've got to look out for yourself on the people around you. You and your tribe I get that but I also think that you know in the meantime stuff is happening in the now and it's fine. It's good it's great to look back and kind of be like wow. I really learned something. But in the meantime you're in it now you're you're you're doing. You're dancing all the steps so to try and figure out a way where possible so kind of at least if not enjoy. Don't actively hate the steps. Ben This all sounds super profound and like it's something you've come to after a long Reflection was there a point in your life where everything was very opposite of this viewpoint that you have right now that you were You're making more of moments comments than just accepting them and just being present for them like. was there really bad. Time that like forced you to kind of get to this place of quiet and observation survey Shen and acceptance. I know what the narrative requires. The answer is no I- incredibly incredibly incredibly fortunate. My parents superb people. I have a really wonderful relationship with both of them most of the time because you know you have to leave room for the other bits but I think something that was kind of hammered into me in a way that was also very casual and I don't think my parents were where they were doing it but I think that I have always kind of thought of myself as you know good. I'm fine. I'm crates even like without being too. You know to Nigerian. But I'm yeah I think I I grew up with a very constant sense sense of self i. I was aware that I was you know that I had value And in a kind of like Pollyanna kind of like. I'm amazing amazing. I thought I was just like another human being that had as much right to do be anything as every other human being. That's it with the full knowledge that the world is not fair with wooded that look like from your parents because you talk about them so much instilling this view. They they let us be. I was a very Over there was a period of my life where I was an overly sensitive child. Everything irritated me and I was my dad's in a very classic Nigerian away rather than an kind of let me be would would give me a terrible nickname. He called me the egg and he'd be like don't touch the egg she might very now. I look back and I'm like well terrible terrible father but you know he was right I was I went to this really prickly. Nothing was correct. Nothing was ever done right. If someone looks at me the wrong way at you know flash and just kind of like almost hit them like I was is very weird thing so I think about that period period a very specific point of my parents kind of going. Well that's just him and I think that's fundamental to how they kind of let us be. Let us just be. I think I was Fellow precocious child. I was good at school was But my being good at school was an accident. I wasn't a very good student. I think every every report card was like bins very intelligent. The one I remember a lot was intelligent. But she's very overconfidence And that's a problem because she thinks she knows everything but she doesn't and that was very true I was I thought he devices. A big enough word and said it within the authority which by the way. That's a trick for life you can just use but I would kind of just like say stuff and I'd say it would like real kind of and that's that and everyone was like notes. No when I was like isn't it and then you can see the Dow is it no. I'm just like this stupidly confident child. It's not real. It's not correct so I was very overconfident. I did think that my quote unquote you know natural. Intellects would save me and it's like no it won't like you have to apply yourself so so. That was the point of that but like in general I guess I was talking about. This is my sister actually recently. We were saying how we will always very aware that our parents loved us Because they did love us and it was very clear in their actions and their words But then the thing that we said was like well l'amour important thing I think was that our parents liked us and that feels very difference to like this all ankle passing. You know you came from me you on. Oh my child I love you you know. We had long conversations. We spent time together. We'd go on drives we you know. They want to know what we were thinking. They care about our opinions. I mean apply our opinions but they can. They wanted to hear what we saw. And I think that was just like it's really wonderful grounding thing of just like understanding everything I was saying wasn't even if not everything. A lot of what I was saying was being heard we. We mattered to my parents of course but also so to the outside world if if they think we have something in us then maybe the world will think tha- I look back and I think Oh. Yeah that must have something to do with it. You know. We're zero born with the thing that makes us. It's fine half of each of our parents but we are also one hundred percent ourselves so perhaps I was born with like a you know this really unshakeable unshakeable sense of solving which case thank God but also I do think there's a big part of that is just kind of like no. I think I had a very fundamental unarticulated understanding. Even as a child that that I that I mattered in some way but not not more expensive anyone else. That was what my understanding was modelled on because my parents told us uh and showed us that and so I just I just fell into it. Do you see a lack of that in America because this is something that I think about Observe and talk about all the time with my non-american friends just seeing their level of confidence and sense of self and sense of self love and I think Not What every non American culture a lot of non American cultures for example. My husband is Indian and him and his friends seem to have a self love. That was instilled in them by their parents. Like you said liking them spending time with them acknowledging them you know making them feel like their thoughts in were important important. You know like these little actions every day to make you feel accepted and loved and I've and I think the comparison when I look at my myself and my American friends and those of us who were brought up here. We don't seem to all have it. We don't seem to all have that shared experience. Our experiences experiences seemed to be a little bit We tend to have a little bit more trauma a little bit more disconnection from our parents a feeling that we weren't particularly like or at at least that's what I tend to feel sometime. I think it's a problem. All around the other thing I wanted to point out is that of course when I speak about a lot of what I'm thinking about is when we were living in Nigeria Julia so we were born in the UK moved to Nigeria for a few years while more than a decade. But I moved into a middle class comfortable experience in Nigeria. Uh where my parents had office jobs and they had good hours and so they could spend time with less than they could encourage us in our endeavours at center. So what what I'm talking about here is a good amount of privilege alongside the love that parents feel for their children. But like it's easier to show love with money. Let's be very clear so I think what I'm speaking about here is very much me. I know lots of people who grew up similar to me between the UK and Nigeria but like in terms of trauma that exists everywhere. Like when we lived in Nigeria we arrived in Nigeria under the you know the head of state when we moved to Nigeria was Ibrahim Babangida Benja. He was a military military man. who was you know bad for Nigeria? And then after him there was like you know our attempt to democracy in the June twelve elections and then that went to port and then we had a military dictate so we had Sanni Abacha General Sanni Abacha heated and die until maybe the year the year before I moved back to London so again like trauma was every way we we did not have direct kind of hand of white supremacy pressing down on us in our everyday not all the time I mean it was there because Nigeria ex-colony obviously of Great Britain. So there is. There is trauma in the every day. But my WanNa WanNa hear more about your time between the UK and Nigeria but also your transition to America but we're GONNA take a quick break and we'll come right back. Just make good holiday give. What super comfortable Bomba socks? You know what I'm GonNa have to say I agree with you. I have on box right now. And they are warm and comfy and they look good because I got the ones that the Prince Bumba. The socks are soft like made with the softest cotton in the world soft. Who now I feel like I need to get them you do? They're built with extra cushioning or whether they are walking the dog chilling at home or saving the world. You'll be comfortable. I`Ma socks provides support and places. You didn't even know you needed it. Like your arches. Each each sock is built with a special arch support system. That feels like a nice hug for your foot. Is that what it feels like. Lauren it does an you know I hate the seam at the end of the sock doc. It is just a personal annoyance. And guess what they're smooth across the top they don't have a Siem Baba's makes all types of socks dress socks for work performance sacks for working out out limited edition holiday socks. Got The sesame street joins their fly. 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So I'm definitely going to check this out and lucky for me and listeners of the show dipsy is offering a thirty day free trial when you go to dipsy stories dot com slash secret lives. That's a thirty day free trial when you go to Dipsy D. P. S. E. A. STORIES DOT com slash. Secret is and we're we're back. I'm just like I just want to listen because I'm always when I meet people who had good childhood. I always so curious. It's amazing movie and be like wow. That was that lake lags that I just don't even want to be. What was that experience? Like to grow up in feel loved and light and how that carries U And just even your your recognition of like you know. My family family had good jobs and not be stressed about. Money is like a freedom to be able to like eggs more interactive kids in a different way. So whenever I don't know I'm always always in awe and a little bit not jealous the wrong verb word wondering what if what would I be like this exact act. Same Way fantasizing. Yeah it was fantasizing about what that would look like a and trying to do what you talked about earlier which is not holding onto that. I mean Right and I do think I've kind of painted this picture of my parents like these. You know fucking amazing. And they are but you know the human beings and they are I say as Florida's any of their children and I do have certain resentments like my life in my life that I had in the UK for example like life was Oughta we were working class in Niger in the UK. Middle Class in Nigeria but immigration changes your status every time when we when I came back to London we we will not middle class. We do not have to cause did not have the made You know and also he didn't have the support of the whole family system my mother my father siblings and our extended family. They're Nigeria and yeah we were not rich opposite of rich. We were very we actually. Yeah we won't walking Clawson Pool in London and that was an adjustment in itself off. It means that right now. I am an inadvertent Holder of money. A don't like spending money. I'm incredibly cheap. Everything is kind of like. Could I walk because I go get a taxi and I'm like no it's okay. The exercises get like you know like the constant fear. The first time I went on holiday and paid for by myself I was excuse my language. I was shitting bricks because I was like how am I gonNA replace. Oh my God what are you doing. And so yeah how we how we came up definitely affects how we kind of face the world day in day out so yeah it means that I might my urge. Every time I get any bit of money as well pull the in. Put that in a tax free savings account. I've taken a of everything. The government has offered me in my growing where they kind of go. Put this as as you should. But also it's coming from a place of slapped with allergy legit where I'm just GonNa like never going to be poor again doing that again and I because we were poor growing up. Are you know this is this is this is the truth and so I just want to say that when I mean you I love that you've made such a point of you know saying that your parents aren't perfect but also saying that they are great people in that you. I love them but I point out parents not to blame them. For whatever the result of our confidence our lives are but because because for me knowing and understanding that a lot of my current worldview and behavior and lack or lack of stuff like self love and confidence finance was things that were learned from childhood. But it's not to blame them. It's the point out that they're not set in stone is just like the knowing and understanding that there's an their origins to things means that I can undo some of the things and it makes me feel like I'm in a place of more power which feels better right right like not. We're not born. Yeah you know feeling away you know you do this on our podcast Thursday and we talk about the a very basic very different things but kind of similar what we talk about this idea of who we fancy is not some divine law. A lot of that is influenced by any number of variable starting with popular culture. I think about the people that I thought to myself. Oh I thought I fancy them. He's just tall. Oh and I do think about that when when we talk about how we how we came up because again it's not a place of blame. It is what it is life is. Life is life like we're here. That's fine but I do think. Think in terms of like my approach to things my mother like I said she's the boldest person I knew my mom goes in chest. I like she is. I was getting like superheroes stunts she goes in. And then you pull her aside and you know what you're doing she was like no but no one does come on. I was like why are you so confident. I thought you knew everything kind of person who we're just going to say so so kind of see what the other person has like. She's very much. Let me poke this bear. And I'm like let's leave the bear. She yeah sometimes I see myself of being you know relatively timid next to her and I think Oh and then when I whenever I do in fact do a very bold thing I think all. That's mum and it's not just mom. It's it's her mother. My Grandmother Who I knew briefly before she passed away when I was a kid and she was also been pressured like this tiny woman like a bird like she was very is very small. Risk was so delicate. One of the strongest grip. Jesus she was like this incredible businesswoman. She was she. That's the other thing as well. She was wealthy like she did she. She was. She was a businesswoman. She traded with the grains people up in the north of Nigeria. And she would go on like month long long trips. You know all the way to the northeast kind of security of her business and in a way my mother and her siblings was sort of semi raised by their grandmother. My Great Grandmother Mother who I never knew and she was a woman as well but I do think about how my mom for. Example is such a presence for a lot of the time such a present mother and I think Oh you're responding to the fact that your mom wasn't there all the time and so again just to point out what you said. There are patterns that emerged from how we were parented and you. Don't you see he them years later and he's like oh mom. Is this way because you know. Oh Okay I get it and I think that's like an important thing to remember. That appearance are also working on the various pressures. That are being exerted. Sit on them from their own histories. were all going through generational legacies and it's just like having the ability to uncover of like. Oh this happened to my childhood because this happened just like just even that sense of awareness but when you talk about your mom in her superhero stands. uh-huh how have you carried that with you Throughout you know your own life and your career career I think one of the things that I really admire about you as you've touched on so many things like your playwright and you're a writer and a producer and do you think part of your ability to sort of be fearless and doing all of these various different things. Things comes from like your mom's presence of like I can do anything I mean. Good amount of that does well. But then I also think I have quite wide wide interests and I always have done in a way it. One of our I take on a new creative endeavor. It feels like it sort of belongs to me because why wouldn't it but I was interested in everything and I think my parents were like. Yeah why no but even then and this is very important even then there was still an an outside pressure on me that when my parents were like what do you want to do. I was like I was thinking something in pharmacology and they were like Oh okay and then my second year of the UK recall a-levels levels I decided that way hang on. I had a conversation with my sister. Who is my best friend? And maybe the best person I know and she was just kind of like. Do you want to be a pharmacologist. You're like I don't I really do. Not What we farm cultures. What the Hell am I doing? Like if the D. and chemistry hadn't hadn't already told me my sister's going to like what the Hell I was like. Wow that's thanks for being there to just kind of slap me upside the head. I don't want to do this so yeah the next year. Ah At six four my basically when I took on media studies and I took on General Studies and whatever just in an attempt to move away slightly from that then I took a year off like You know I knew my results were going to be terrible because I was doing the wrong subjects. Who Me I came to America? I have this wonderful long summer and then I went to university and university see. I studied journalism. I didn't get a job straight away. I did get. I got a short term engagement at the BBC in my second year at Uni and I assumed very foolishly naively but that's how jobs are going to come to me that someone would present me Jill. I'm okay thanks. BBC The BBC. That's a huge job. In England. It was a huge let me. It was a huge huge Jenny. And I was just kind of like this on the one on. That's my view. Pretty good then sign kind of always going to be this easy. I'm going to find them like that. And then and I let university into a recession and then we got out and there was that Oh print is literally dying grace superb. What now we know we did? Some Brentwood radio did TV. So at least I you know. My degree was in multimedia journalism anyway. All this to say finally I applied to do a masters because I thought well one way or another. I'M GONNA get a job in journalism so I'll go do journalism masters and I went and I go in and at the end of you. The person was kind of like. Why are you doing this? It was like the only way to get a job and she was like you show man. I noticed there was an application for a positive action scheme which is sort of a diversity scheme at the The Guardian did God newspaper in the UK. So I applied and I wasn't very sorry I found out about it two days before it closed. I kind of submitted his super ladies I got the interview I went in. I got the internship. And eventually they commissioned with a couple of short pieces. I'm so excited. My sister running into Safeway to buy a copy of the Guardian with her best friend. Lila and bring it home. It was gonNA like. She's in God. We had the whole thing and all of that just kind of like. That's what we did. We just got like all day. It was great but yeah basically I just kind of the from their job on the Guardian as kind of like a freelancer and then eventually I became an editor the I was just. Yeah anyone who was commissioned in May anyone who would pay me I'd be like yeah I'll do that and I just did it and you know those. Those are the years where I had no brakes and I was just constantly on the edge of kind of like will I make rents. Let's find out next week dragons. Jose like I didn't know anything you know like I was working all the hours than the money wasn't great but it was also kind of like this. Oh yeah this is definitely what I wanted to. I WanNa be a right writes. I want to keep doing this and what I am trying to pay it forward as best I can. I'm also just again super aware that the world I came up in is very different. What younger is is facing now so results and I get an mm-hmm Oklahoma kinda going? Hey how do you do and I'm like don't do like I did one of the things that I think you're really touching on which is conversation that Charlotte. I personally have a lot in terms of building saying you know I feel like. There's two confidence buckets that I deal with. Just like my personal confidence and professional confidence and it's like professionally. I can be like I did this. This is is great one of the things that you hit on is just like how much hard work plays into professional confidence. And it's just like through all that you're fucking working high like taking king every job and being like I'm not GonNa like say no to. This is hard work and it's really inspiring to hear like you know how when you're young. You're like Oh yes of course is great opportunities handed to me. This is what is going to be like and then you're like no. It's actually a lot of. I need to apply myself of constantly. And what made you decide to make the shift from working at the Guardian to sort sort of coming to coming to the states May And now really forging your own path and doing your own thing thing like I feel like a lot of your projects right now over your of your creation of your mind you So how did you sort of bridge that gap from going to but early crossing the pond and like right So I know the Guardian for a few years but in the middle of that I got an email from somebody media buzzfeed and speaking about fair and confidence. This was a very good example of that because I was comfortable at the Guardian I really understood fundamentally advised status. 'cause the the end result seemed known to me in some capacity. A you know a good vision of what the the future held I could. I could hold it in my hand. Something I think about now. All the time is I look at every opportunity on earth is fifty fifty regardless of the probability and my fifty fifty fifty breaks down to either it will work or won't and that's my mom's thing I remember that very specific I remember being scared in fact I I remember being scared to apply for the positive action scheme thing in the in the two days before the deadline and I said some you know but what if I do it and Blah Blah Blah. I may say no my mom very wonderfully and I'm GonNa do Nigerian accent Here Komo news accent. Anyway and she was I saw him. I said Yeah. She said so if if if they don't if they don't accept you like yeah and she goes is just no I said yeah she was going to come and beat you and I said no like an early as no. No one's going to beat me mom as as low as just no no big thing I said No. She was ordinary no analysis. I guess and that was a very important thing. My mom just looking looking at me looking like fake confused. Okay just explain it to me like I'm six them. When you say is just is no mama shows okay? Ordinary we know too is just like she just batted away like it was like a musket ordinary. No no she kept saying no and as I get ed thanks. She's very heavy handed with her lessons. I was like all right. Thanks got it chairs but but I do think that's an important thing to remember. So yeah so I was thinking to myself okay. Okay it'll be okay and I kept reassuring myself over and it'll be fine and then the thing that happened a buzzy to schools. I knew that they had their international outfit. And so I immediately really all my life. I've I've been kind of fascinated with America so it was written into my contract that I would spend a year as culture both of UK Working on our a section then was called the idea sections. We had a lot of essay writing there and it was risen in Charlotte to my sister. Who insisted I put it into the contract? And I'm very glad she did. She's very small. My sister and year later I moved to New York and taken care of again to come here for a year. I was GONNA come in the election year. I was going to cover the election and then when I was going to return home I was GonNa kind of act. Sorta a translator as it were of American Election Culture for the UK audience back home and then written tune into that but without being written was the idea that Oh of course hillary will win and then the wall to keep on spinning and then she didn't win and I remember saying to my editorial so I'm not coming home like I have to see at least the first term because it might be two terms so I stayed. I stayed and will nothing's happened. You know the presidency has been smooth sailing. Nothing bad or nothing to report on there. It's been the most boring couple years of my life but Yes so so. That's how I got to America on this but but I think the fundamental thing here again is even the the action of writing into the contract. Hey I want to come to America. That was something something that my sister kind of a sister Aka my mother's daughter of just kind of like ask for ask for it and get it written down but OSC for the thing if you WanNa Senate ask for again because the worst thing they'll say is ordinary new and then if it's a yes you get to do the thing you want. What do you think that your path looks looks? Like now I think the forefront is still that question of was the worst thing that could happen you know is someone going to be you or is is just gonNa be a no. There is an element in my whole. My whole career has been an element of just like try. And that's from the mini. I spotted the the positive of action scheme staying at the Guardian. Just kind of seeing that opportunity two days before it closed and then getting it. I think that also kind of gave me like this extra Philip and my step where I was like. Wait wait sometimes. Things work out and I do think that's like the greatest thing that my parents did for us was that they they help us get a little bit further than they did. So I mean I feel like this is this just conversation is coming from me at like a perfect time in my life. And I'm just absorbing all the energy that You shared and given today. And we always in this podcast by asking our guest. What's your secret? Wow what's my secret. I think his okay his a very basic thing. You got to walk in like you own everything and that's not an arrogance and it's not being unpleasant it's just a fundamental understanding understanding the inasmuch as your qualifications and your experience allows you have every right to be in most of the rooms that you were called in to. That's just the simple fact of life like a sunny sky is blue. I I have the right to be here. And that feels like it's not necessarily even a radical act. I didn't think it is but like like I had like maybe forty thousand imposter syndrome. One time in my twenties and then I burned it to the ground because I was looking around and I was like come on. I'm great always people equally grit. We're all greats like I understand getting jitters and being like slightly worried about you know I don't WanNa underperformance Cetera but generally speaking. I don't have imposter syndrome something. No I deserve to be a did. The work I have the qualifications is much my rights as it is anybody else's and then I move forward and sometimes I fall on my face but most of the time I ended up gliding by because yeah. I'm not in the room by accident. I didn't I didn't get there by accident. And that's like the thing that carries go through is like once I feel comfortable in my ability and in my own kind of skill sets. I don't I I can't contemplate anyone making me feel like I don't belong there. I'm just like no this is my birthright screw. You I live here. Yeah you know like it feels very yeah. That's like a fun once. I have my foot in the door. I don't tip too. I just kind of think all right well implant yourself you live here now. You're a tree. You're an oak. It's yours and that helps me and sometimes it's a Li- like get her. When I'm a roof I was getting my my teeth but other times? It's kind of like. Oh yes you are right yes I you were lying but then it became the truth. That's great that's really good. Hold onto that. So that's what I do it. Just get get a toehold in then I plant myself belongs to me. That's amazing. Well thank you. Thank you for coming and talking to us. We kinda sat at the foot of a wiser more contrary to my head. It's not good for me but thank you for saying that I just I honestly think it really is a simple case of just like you know. I am old like a really anything. That's it like my mom euro saying and it's essentially the translates into English as What an elder CONC- sitting sitting down a child could not see even if they crane the neck and these usually the way my mom says it's a shut down any kind of argument? Where Am I? Don't think I should let him what a child is current guy. That's an but I do think it's a useful It's a useful thing to think about of a page of notes and I went to the back of my page quotes that you said that have been really inspiring to me at this time reflective side. Don't think that it's just I think yes. You can say your age but I think that's just as credit to the wisdom innate wisdom that you have this looking at. It's going I and she doesn't have any with you. Do you do when I wanNA thank you for sharing it with US listeners. And I just am you know definitely GonNa leave with all of these notes and just like sit and think about the things. Are you crying Oren. No I like sounded like I was crying when I was like what. You're Su You did you did. Yeah well I mean I just feel like I'm getting Really emotional tell me about it. I don't know just because it's like I feel like I'm really moved by everything that she said. And it's stuff that I really need to hear right now this moment moment in my life like you know how sometimes things happen and you're just like wow. This is like called to happen right now because until like a lot and it's just you know competence and like recognizing my place is something bad is hard for me and I'm Mike finally finely coming. I'm sorry I'm going to cry like I'm like finally coming to terms to like just deal with Lake. You know things like recognize like good things in my life hyphen. Just even be able to be like Oh step in a room and just have that lake. Since of shirty of Lake I belong here is just like you know I feel like some even step in here and I'm like Oh my good- Am I good enough. Am I like supposed to be here. I am yeah now I feel silly because I'm totally. You're take me cry crying but I just an her voices voices so soothing it so soothing The felt like she was reading us a bedtime story the entire time. Yeah just so relaxing. Hits like one of my favorite things about bums podcast Which is notice me? Changing the subject The first aid kit is back but they do fan fiction wars into each episode and I just love to listen to her read her stories at the end so I think I'm going to process everything she said here and then I'm just going to go. Listen listen to that and change gears in my head. I feel like I'm going to bring it back because I'm not done with this sense of belonging long game that she kinda pointed to because I am. It's just making me. I'm in the same place in my life. I feel like as you you and I feel like I'm coming at it from a different point of view of coming up at it with more rage because I'm just like who took that sense of belonging away from me you know like like where did it happen in my life that I got to a point where I could walk into a room and feel like I didn't belong that I didn't deserve it that I wasn't good enough to be there and it's the feeling that has not served me. It has not made me better. It's not made me happier. It's not like you can't put your hand out and ask for validation and wait for people to tell you that you belong. It's very much something that you have to give to yourself off and I just feel like I'm just in a place of my life where I'm like owning it. I'm just like I'm not waiting for anybody to tell me. Yeah I belong. It's it it really does feel like confidence is a sense of belonging it's a sense of belonging but it's also a sense of for me. It's like I've had this really a big realization and shifted my head about how I value myself or don't right so it's just like I feel like it's been really rage ful and heartbreaking to be like. Wow I've operated all of these years with such like with a lack lack of value and how the lack of self lack of fat and it's just like I feel like I've I've grown into like loving myself more. You're but just recognizing when you don't value yourself the things that Joel except and lag ways in which you will you will walk in space and not feel comfortable because it's like you're not even valuing like all that you have to give your input and I feel like that has been a big wakeup call for me every day. It's like I'm doing a meditation about how to get over like self animosity and just thinking being logically like how to value myself and but putting onus on that it's like making me shift a lot of things in my life eighth that are like hard because when you operated a certain way for so long it's like that's what you know that's what you're comfortable with. Yeah it's just what I'm going through and interest. It's just really all of this is coming at. You're totally right when you said the heartbreak that you feel when you first realise how little you love yourself because you know you wouldn't treat another person that way. Most likely and it is heartbreaking to be so unconscious of this daily daily self harm and when you're finally aware of you do feel like who like wolf you know like I remember the first time I realized this is how much I you know. Frankly hated myself and I couldn't believe it. I couldn't believe it but I feel like although that moment comment was heartbreaking. It was the beginning of a really long Journey to put in work. Yeah I know and you see how much work it takes. What do you think the word of the week is right before you asked me that? I was thinking about what she was to. You know what she was saying about parents because that's been a hard thing for me to reconcile a little bit like not fully blaming but then not completely -pletely taking away my own agency you know because I don't think blame is a good way to go because everyone goes through their own things and you don't know what people are going through But I do think that a sense of self confidence it comes from support I think I. I think being supported other people acknowledging your existence and acknowledging your innate humanity is very supportive it makes you it builds you into a person who has a right to be in a place you know and I think that's important so I think the word of the week is support and I'm just making that up I go. I'm going to agree with you. But also she also said something sort of like step into this unknown inbounder if like what it means to. I'm sorry I cannot stop crying to what it means to value myself am she. She was when she was talking about her her mom and how she was going to go on a new path and her mom was like no one will beat you. It's just what's the worse that can happen in ordinary. No no and like not being afraid of that as you as you step into into yourself. It's like you will get nose and people won't like accept that and I think sometimes I have a fear of like if if I changed the way that I've been to put onus on myself like who and what will I lose so for me. I'm going to go with ordinary. No I know it's not don't work and it's a phrase but it really It really stuck with me. I love it. What a great guess? What a great guest? I thank you guys. So much for listening Hand truly just feel like I was just in a therapy session We will see you next week. See next week by a we're your hosts Charlotte Larsen and Lauren Domino. The secret of black woman is a production of stitcher our producer Stephan Kariuki our editor. John Palmer special. Thanks to our chief content officer Chris Bain sound designer. Brendon Burns and recording. Engineers Jared O'CONNELL Jordan Duffy and Andy Kristen's make sure to follow us on instagram and twitter Abbott S._O._B.. W see you later.