By Ella Achola and Yossie Paul
This month’s issue is RENEWAL. Our editors Ella Achola and Yossie Paul reflect on what RENEWAL means to them and the submissions we received this month.
Ella Achola, Editor
Just about a year ago I was becoming increasingly weary of relying on diaspora feminisms that I did not feel spoke my story. I had begun my feminist journey reading the truths of Angela Davis and bell hooks, Assata Shakur and Audre Lorde, but quickly realised that their stories were not always mine. I therefore sought to find a feminism that applied to me, even if that meant carving out new spaces in which different women could each tell their unique stories, which is exactly what the Ain’t I A Woman Collective has done for me. It has given me an opportunity to renew and invigorate the feminist journey I am on and it has allowed me to connect with other women for a bigger cause that we all hope will bring lasting change.
With that journey comes many hurdles that require the courage to admit mistakes and start over with a renewed sense of purpose that reflects the very passion that drove its beginnings. This is reflected in some of the submissions we received this month as they tell stories of lacking focus that required a new sense of direction in order to come out renewed and ready to brave life. They tell stories of bravery to admit mistakes and start over as well as courage to make decisions that forever change your life.
Here is to renewal, so that we may never fear to start over.
Yossie Paul, Assistant Editor
My childhood experiences continue to shape my life and writing. Its lessons, on the occasion that I recall them, make me reconsider my actions and the path that I am carving for myself.
A few weeks ago, I took a day trip to Syon House and spent some time in a pool. It was a somewhat staggering experience, as I had forgotten what it felt like to be immersed in water. It had been a while, seven years or so.
In the pool, I had to ease my body into floating, as it does in water. My companion turned away to complete a lap and I went underwater. Bad move. I thought I was going to die, but I managed to come up for air. What was that, I thought. I then moved to the edge of the pool and stood there, reflecting. That was when I decided that I would like to take up swimming again.
A number of things crossed my mind in the time I thought I had breathed my last, yet what remained was a feeling of regret: why did I stop swimming? Upon reflection, I realised that what I had failed to do was remain true to one of the most important lessons I learned as a child: to sharpen the saw, the 7th habit from the book 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teenagers.
Sharpening the saw is a metaphor for continuous improvement, which is what I think about when I hear “renewal.” It is at the core of everything I do, as a scholar and writer—ultimately, as a human being. Now that I have recalled it, it is something I hope to take seriously going forward.
For AIAWC, as we make the first step toward restructuring the organisation through starting themed issues, it is our pleasure to share with our readers, the work of various women who have written uniquely and movingly about renewal in relation to their lives.
Enjoy the posts, and be sure to share your own experiences or thoughts in the comments.