I was supposed to write a blog post last Friday. I had the day off and the whole weekend a head, so a nice long three day weekend, but I just could not write anything on Friday.
I woke up feeling terrible. Drank my coffee and watched some TV-series about deadly traumas (Critical) and then I reached for my phone to check on Instagram and my phone told me the news of the terrorist attack in Christchurch. The day just went into total stop. I could not just continue with the day that I had planned and I could not get out of bed for the rest of the day. I was totally knocked down by how the world is just so fucked up (plus an additional PsA and first day of my period pain).
So how do you deal with this kind of feelings? When you feel like giving up on the world but also feeling guilty and like you are not doing enough. I do think we all have responsibility for the stories that are told around us and how the world looks, hence the feeling of responsibility. I feel that we all can all do something about racism, privileges and the terrorism it leads to, and I need to feel it, otherwise I would give up.
For example, the view of Africa in Sweden sucks. A lot of Swedes still think that people in Africa (yes, all over) only lives in huts (a previous boss told me exactly this just before we moved to Lusaka in 2015). Also they believe that it is dangerous to go all over the continent. They forget, or more likely, they have never ever even thought about the fact that Africa is HUGE (just look at the maps down), and has more than 50 different countries, that are as different as the European countries.
One of the reasons for me to be frequent on Instagram and blogging when we lived in Lusaka was to give a bigger picture, to expose at least my friends and my readers to a small glimpse of life in Lusaka and Zambia. At least, since I am me, most of the people following me had not been in Zambia and seen that part of the world through the lence of someone living and working there. Not the tourist or the influencer-going-to-save-the-world-by-building -a-well-kind of eyes. So I thought at least let me do this.
But the fact is that, it was and is not, necessary for me to do that, there is plenty of people in Lusaka, Nairobi, Johannesburg, Lagos etc on Instagram telling the story of their lifes on the continent. Us that lives here in the cold Scandinavia have no reason at all to live in ignorance about how people in other parts of the world live. It is right there in our phones. It is just to decide to open up your eyes and your feed to something different than the regular blonde influencer that posts about the outfit of the day or what skin care cream to use for winter.
I follow people that live all over the world to be a better human being, a better mum, a better wife and friend. To better understand other people and their stories helps at work too (dah, nursing is all of understanding other people). Even if I cant change the world on my own, I can as a parent bring up my kids to have a diverse view of the world, not only by actually living on two different continents during their child hood but also to talk about how the world looks and the challenges they will have in the world that I never had. I want them to grow up to be proud and strong black women and if I can help to give them that by educating myself through reading and interacting, I am prepared to do the work. And maybe it is simplifying to just say I follow people around the world, I follow people here at home too (Sweden) that has a different story from mine and that I can see as role models for my daughters.
We are all responsible for our children, not only your own, all of them. The society we are leaving to them and how this one is treating them. So are you prepared to do the work? Change your Instagram-feed to be more diverse? Mix up all those interior decorating influencers that are dominating your fed? Communicate with people that are not living like you, that have experiences completely different from yours? Start changing the narrative by changing your own way of viewing the world? Learn from what they are telling you?
Lets get down to it! Here is a list of amazing people on IG that you should start following right now. They are activists, fashionistas, travellers etc (in no particular order) and they are all bringing the best to my IG feed and making the sun shine more in my life than the Swedish winter (not a very hard task though).
So lets get started:
Lovette Jallow at Action for Humanity (activist, entrepeneur, Stockholm, all of you should start here)
Raserietpodden with Amie och Fanna (activists, Stockholm, in Swedish guys)
Samba Yonga at KuAtenga Media (media, Lusaka)
Lulu Hangala Wood (media, Lusaka)
Jessica Nabongo of The Catch me if you can (travelling the world)
No white saviours (activists, Uganda)
Layla F. Saad (educator, activist, Qatar)
Rachel Elizabeth Cargle (educator, writer, USA)
LaTonya Yvette (Lifestyle blogger, influencer, USA)
Dee or The Zed Travel Foodie (Lusaka)
Joanna Lemnelius at Mixed Grill Banjul (cloths and life, Gambia)
Chilufya Mwelwa (media, presenter, activist, Lusaka)
Svart Historia (important history lessons, Sweden and in Swedish)
Marian on Quirky Indeed (fashionista, thrift finder and seller, Lusaka)
Travel Girl Boss (traveller, fashionista, South Africa)
Paola Mathé at Fanmjdamn (fashionista, head wrapper, entrepreneur, USA)
Debbie Chu (fashion designer, Lusaka)
Mitchelle Adagala (fitness, Kenya)
Mona Haydar (musician, Morocco)
Who would not want this feed:
From the top: Rachel Cargle, Amie and Fanna of Raserietpodden, Layla F. Saad, Lovette Jallow, Chilufya Mwelwa and Samba Yonga, Lulu Hangala Wood, Jessica Nabongo, No White Saviours, LaTonya Yvette, The Zed Travel Foodie, Joanna Lemnelius at Mixed Grill, Svart Historia, Quitky Indeed, Travel girl boss, Paola Mathé, Debbie Chu, Mitchelle Adagala and Mona Haydar. All photos screenshoted form thier own recent open Instagram accounts.
So, there you have a starting point and when I am at it; to also try to change things it is important to think about where we put our money. Because as sad as it is, money still controls most of the world. So, when you find theese amazing people and take part of their great content, and learning from it, consider giving them your money! That coffee you would buy at that mainstream coffee shop, skip it and send it to support the work they are doing to trying to change the narrative. They take the time that you don´t have to try to change the world a bit, and you have the money to support it. There is different ways to do it, for example Patreon where you can subscribe to their content and the money is deducted once per month. Just like your Spotify account.
Off course, this is not the only thing you can do to change the story, there is plenty more. But to be able to take a discussion with your kids parent, the neighbor or colleague and feel like you came out of it making your point, you need to have the right information in your spine and mind. So start with this.
And please comment when you have read, so I know you are on board!