Woke up today feeling rather exhausted. It’s been a month since I started my new job. Reality has since set in and I have found myself busier than anticipated. That certainly has had a knock on effect on my mental and emotional health. The English weather and the commute has not helped. The train commute isn’t bad, it’s the driving through packed, smokey and hot London tarmac roads that does my head in. For sanity’s sake I will not mention the parking.
The weather tops it all for me. The need to be comfortable and practical is a must. However, the English weather remains unpredictable. You never know when it is going to rain or whether the sunny spell will last the 12hours whilst you are at work. It is hard. One has to think about what to wear and how that can adapt to the weather too. It’s a problem I had anticipated hence I chose a uniform. If you have read my previous blog on the day before the new job, I bought some lovely, comfortable navy blue slacks to wear with plain white t shirts and pumps. Well, today I decided otherwise as it was going to be warm. Besides, my daughter had decided to wear my t-shirts at home 🤣.
Feeling rather unmotivated and wanting to get into the office early for a busy day ahead, I just grabbed the clean and cotton dress that I could find. It’s the African ankara dress mama got tailor made for me. It fits well and that’s all I needed so I could catch the earlier train. Thankfully, I made it after sprinting a good 5mins! The joys of commuting, I keep telling myself, you are getting fit girl!🏃🏽♀️🏃🏽♀️
Anyway, I walk into work and I get lots of compliments on this particular dress. I get lots of nods and smiles from ‘sisters’ with a look of approval. It dawns on me that the dress is making a statement that I had not perceived before. When I walked into the office, colleagues exclaimed how they like my dress. I chuckle to myself and just smile. Comments are made with the British niceness and political correctness that I have become familiar with but still unsettling.
The dress is addressing my identity and all that I represent. Someone remarked that the dress has made them feel homesick, as I reminded them of where they come from. Amazing how a piece of clothing can conjure so many emotions at all levels. Then there is the senior colleagues I met in the corridors with the look of ‘wow’. That’s me there affirmed! The beauty of working with a very diverse community is that you find your sisterhood. These are the women who identify with you and what you are all about. These are women who have walked your journey or are on the same path with you. Your stories, struggles and strength are entwined and become the given. Your journey is easily understood without having to explain yourself.
Today I didn’t wake up, wanting to draw attention to myself, I didn’t feel that way at all. However, I’m glad that the day turned out the way it did. For the rest of the day, I had a spring in my step and a conviction in my heart that I will get there. There, for me, is a place of effectiveness and relevance.
The dress reminded me that it’s not so bad after all. I am African. I am a strong African woman. The dress allowed me to have small talk with a few more people than before. This dress addresses the woman in me, a woman on a Journey.