BEING DIFFERENT: Being Biracial – Maya

Featured, Lifestyle, Mental Health, relationships, Uncategorized

Tell me a bit about yourself:

I’m Maya, I am 21 years old and I have just finished my undergrad in Psychology! As for my next steps I think I am en route into a career in teaching and later educational psychology!

I have a blog which I post on whenever I’m inspired by the world and people around me mayacuthbert.wordpress.com and I am on Instagram @mayacuthbert 🙂

What makes you different?

I am biracial, my mum is white, and my dad is black. Growing up, I felt different to a lot of the people around me, because aside from my brothers and my other biracial friends, there weren’t many biracial role models for me to look up to. I was brought up around my mum’s side of the family, and unfortunately didn’t see much of my dad’s side. My mum raised me to understand that I was going to be treated differently and I’ll always value her for being open and honest about race in the world, and as my friend Bev said, ‘she’s very woke’. She would always try and teach me about my Jamaican heritage as much as she could, be that through cooking traditional dishes, or taking me there- I could never, and will never, fault her for that, and I am so grateful to have had the upbringing I did.

Unfortunately, feeling different lies in the weird discourses there are surrounding being mixed race that you hear coming from other people who are not biracial. It is those discourses that highlight how you can feel different and almost othered by a lot of the people around you, without them even realising that it can impact you.

What is bad about why you are different?

Race was not something that played on my mind a lot whilst growing up. Having grown up in London, and being surrounded by a huge range of cultures, races and ethnicities, it just felt second nature, to have a friendship group where none of us looked the same and where everyone was accepted regardless of the colour of their skin.

I think coming to university has really opened my eyes to the fact that not everywhere is going to be like my school environments, where race is more acknowledged and spoken of. While university is multicultural, there are noticeable groups, in contrast to my school, these groups tend to be race based. My dissertation research confirmed to me that people will typically create friendships with people who share meaningful similarities, and an important similarity is race. I think it is awesome that this happens, because this can really help strengthen things such as racial identity, provide support and mutual understanding, but as a biracial person it can feel hard to fit in.

I’m glad to say that I have found my niche, my friendship group now reminds me of my groups at school, which is great, but initially it was tough. I understand that race is a sensitive subject, so I do hope I don’t cause any controversy, I am just talking about the things I have been through relating to mine- and I hold nothing against anyone.

I think in this day and age, people are really good at applying stereotypes to different races. This is something I have had to face, and it is so apparent to me. To others I have two ‘sides’ (my white ‘side’ and my black ‘side’) people seem to comment on what are actually just aspects of my personality, turn them into racial stereotypes and use them as points of criticism, where I am not allowed to be both black and white, I am always reduced to being either black or white by others. A couple of examples being that on multiple occasions I have been told that I am ‘too white’ because of how I speak, even a past partner had told me that I was too white – something he even considered trying to change within me, or breaking up with me over…I also remember once being told, when I was angry, that that was my ‘black side coming out’.

These comments, and knowing this is how people think about you, can be so damaging to your self-esteem, especially when these comments are from the two groups that make up my heritage (white and black groups), it really muddled up my feelings, and made me feel as though I was not going to fit in anywhere at university because nobody would accept me! It was even more frustrating, because in my mind, I am not either/or, I am a mixture of both and if I were to identify as one ‘side’ or the other I would be dismissing one whole part of me, and that doesn’t feel right.  Those racially stereotyped criticisms really hurt me- because I was being criticised for being who I am. After hearing these things about yourself, you almost start to question who you are… and I’m sure it might sound slightly trivial to some, but I do struggle with those thoughts of like ‘Who am I?’  ‘Where do I sit?’ but most importantly, why do we live in such a modern-day society where people, REGARDLESS of their race, are still implicitly judged based on how they look?

It makes you feel so frustrated because we are supposed to live in a progressive society, but those implicit stereotypes people hold about other races, really highlight how, yes, we may have come so far, but we have clearly not come not far enough.

What is good about why you are different?

I have learnt a lot about identity, race, and society, simply because of the colour of my skin, and my existence being due to the mixture of two cultures. I think this has really helped and will continue to help me manoeuvre through life and make the right decisions about how I go about things such as teaching my own children about who they are.

I love that I have not only one, but two cultures that I get to embrace and learn about, and that I have two places I can call home. I like this idea of duality, where I am more than one thing, and although it can be confusing to manage at times, it is awesome! I am not just black, I am not just white, I am both- ergo, I am mixed, and I love it that way.

I love that, although I occasionally do have those ‘who am I?’ moments, that I can now recognise who I am, what I am here for, and why I should be and love myself, with none of this having anything to do with placing myself within one of societies concrete sorting boxes.

I don’t have to force myself to fit in with any group, I will always find other people with mindsets like mine. I must say I love that about my friendship group, we are a huge mix of races, and yet, we have such open, honest, respectful conversations about race, even when we disagree we don’t argue… we listen, we pull apart our own and each other’s ideas and thoughts and we learn from each other! I wish everyone was like that, because if people could put their differences aside and objectively talk about the issues surrounding race that everyone faces today with such understanding, I’d like to hope that the world could be slightly different.

What is one thing you want someone to take away from this article most?

I saw a quote in a journal article when I was carrying out my dissertation research and it read ‘biracial individuals are both black and white, in a world that only sees black or white’. Obviously, it is important to remember, that there are other mixes that make up a biracial individual, but this quote resonated so well with me. I would love if society could have more open and honest conversations about the reality of race in the society we live in, and that instead of trying to organise everybody into a radicalised box, that we could see each person as their own individual identity, with their own experiences of race and their own ideas and views.

A Note From Clo

Thank you so much to the lovely Maya for this insightful post! As she mentioned at the start she does have her own blog which I highly recommend you checking out! She has been writing some amazing pieces during this lockdown, so it will be a great use of any spare time you have!

The Being Different series will continue again next Thursday at 9pm. As always if you would like to get involved please contact me on instagram at Queen.clo or via the contact me form on here!

As always, stay safe and stay kind!!

All the love,

Queen Clo xx

Dating at 20 SUCKS!

dating, Lifestyle, relationships, tinder

While I am only 3 months into my 20s, I already hate dating. When I was younger I had this plan in my head that I would be married by 25, and have kids by 30. Now I reckon I will be lucky to be married by 30 and have kids by 35. It seems that a) I am incredibly awful at dating and b) no boys want to date.

This is usually how dating goes, I fall for a boy and he doesn’t like me. When I was younger this snippet of Mean Girls used to make me laugh, now its far to real to laugh…

So here is my LONG list of reasons as to why dating at 20 is rubbish

1. Online dating is the worst. I have never hated anything more with a passion. Tinder is the worst place and while Bumble seems to have better looking boys I don’t think it is much better. One of my biggest worries is that if I talk to a guy online I am going to end up on MTV show catfish. I give up with online dating, if I am going to meet someone I am going to have to try the old fashioned way of meeting them in person… however hard that may be.

 

2. When you are single you are permanently mocked for having standards ‘too high’. I am incredibly picky in what I want in a guy, but that is purely because I am sick of disappointment. I could get with any guy and date them just for the sake of it, but if I don’t fancy them or see a future with them, then I am wasting both of our times. I would much rather keep my standards high and find the right person for me. If keeping my standards high means it takes years to find the perfect match, so be it.

3. Following on from the last point. Every guy I talk to seems to be so immature. It takes a lot of effort to wade through the idiots that are not right for you, and at 20 it seems that everyone is an idiot.

4. Boys are the worst at texting back…. Or they are the worst at texting back because they don’t actually have any interest in you… I think this era is hard to date in because unlike in the past we spend so much time trying to decode boys attention from how they are online with us, if they like our social media, if they text us or how fast they respond to a text. While I think if you are not getting many responses from a guy after a while then that is a sign that they aren’t interested in you. They could also just be busy… It is hard to distinguish but if you are regularly getting ignored it is probably time to put your efforts into someone new who will give you the same amount of effort back. You deserve someone who wants to talk to you and after all it doesn’t take long to respond to a text….

5. Nice boys are scary. Some nice boys are genuinely lovely, others use their nice boy pretences to get away with murder. Sometimes it sucks to date them, because when they do wrong to you all your friends stick up for him as ‘he seems so nice’. You and everyone else make excuses for he because he is NICE. Although he may have been nice originally, it doesn’t mean he’s always nice, so fyi if he is no longer nice bin him off. If you aren’t giving him a chance because he’s nice, maybe do?

6.It feels the only other place than online dating to meet boys is in clubs or pubs, and they are not good places to get to know boys. In clubs people usually have one goal and it is not to end the night married. Clubs are loud and are incredibly difficult to talk to someone in. Leading to people just looking for people with nice faces to hook up with. Clubs make me anxious because sometimes it feels like the whole club is full of boys judging how you look.

7. It gets to the point where instead of actually trying to find people to date, you just pretend to date them in your head. I have my whole life planned out with some boys, if only they knew it…

8. When you start talking to someone new and they ghost you off, you feel awful. I am an optimist, and sometimes it is the worst quality I have. I always hope and pray that the boy is different and he will like me for me. Only to be crushed back to reality and fill myself with sadness by picking faults in myself.You wonder what’s wrong with you and why they won’t want you. Was I too much? Did I want too much? I know in my heart that for the right person I will never be too if but right now all this rejection is hard.

9. It seems the whole world revolves around hook ups. I have never had a hook up and the social pressure to have one is quite intense. It feels like just because I haven’t had one there is something wrong with me. It sometimes leads to people trying to force you to get with any random-er that gives you attention, however I would rather not.

10. While my friends get into relationships and some start talking to new boys it leads to jealousy. Some of my cousins have started to get married and every wedding I go to I feel more alone. Above is probably me after watching a romantic chick flick.

11. The whole world seems to only want people with pretty faces and not with pretty hearts. So, after a lot of rejections you start to convince yourself that you are ugly and no one will ever want you. Online dating only looks at your face. In clubs boys only look at your face. It feels like there is no chance in the 21st century to date someone because of who they are and not what they look like.

12. Each heartbreak feels worse than the last one. You promised yourself you wouldn’t get into the same situation again, you wouldn’t fall again. You’d think by 20 you’d have learnt but you haven’t. It’s hard to keep putting yourself out that and face the same rejection. Some days your heart hurts and you think you’ll never find the one.

13. Fairly tales have taught us for years that Prince Charming will come and sweep us off our feet. When you reach your 20s, you start to release this probably won’t happen. To be honest, while I do want my Prince Charming I don’t want him to come and save me, because frankly I do not need saving. However it would be nice to have someone fight battles with you instead of alone.

14. In this day and age people can find your whole life on social media, which is scary as hell. So now even your online life is a chance for someone to want you, which is so scary. My friend Megan and I watched You on Netflix and it really was quite terrifying to see how easy it is for someone to stalk you online. It really does prove that you don’t know how trustworthy people are and that just because they seem decent, they may not really be who they seem to be…. (if you haven’t watched ‘You’ yet defo recommend, we binge watched in a day)

15. Some days it feels like all the good guys are taken (already!!!!!!) and all that is left are the ones that want to sleep around. Which is fine, if all you want to do is sleep around, but absolutely horrid if you want to be in a relationship. It is the worst thing ever when you start talking to a guy and think wow he’s great. Only to find out moments late that he’s great because he’s taken.

16. At the end of the day, true friendship will beat any rubbish dates, and so while I hold out for the ‘one’, I will continue to know my friends have my back.

17. I think the biggest lie I have ever been told is that you will meet the love of your life at uni, the boys I have met at university so far, are not boys who want to settle down. It’s gotten to the point where my friend Meg has now put a ban on me talking to Uni boys, cause even if she has a uni boyf the other uni boys are no good apparently (she’s not been wrong yet).

18. Boys suck.

 

19. At the end of the day, if I don’t find a man in the next 10 years…

20. I don’t have time for boys who don’t want me or for wondering if boys want me. I only have time to live my 20s to the fullest and have as much fun as possible. And anyway, your 30s are apparently the new 20s, I’ll try dating again then…

If you have read this and thought wow she’s the one for me (how could you not), I am taking dating applications over on my Instagram xoxox. (I joke but then I’m low key being serious….)

All the love,

Queen Clo xxx

Ps. NEVER LOWER YOUR EXPECTATIONS, YOU DESERVE ONLY THE BEST xxx