Gabar’s Year in Review: 5​ Things I Learned in 2018

Hi everyone! Since my last post about martyrdom, I’ve decided to write about the rest of the life lessons I’ve learned in 2018.  I’m so excited to continue documenting my experiences as I navigate womanhood because our stories matter and need to be shared. We are not alone in this journey!

5. Negotiating Your Salary is Imperative

I had no idea how to negotiate my salary prior to this year. In college, I interned at a women’s economic justice organization where I learned about the wage gap. Black women earn 63 cents to every white man’s dollar. I’ve realized that women are not socialized to demand their worth. As the eldest immigrant daughter, I believed I shouldn’t demand my worth in personal, professional or intimate spheres. I should just be grateful to be there. Learning to negotiate my salary is a form of self-preservation. I am committed to demanding my worth in all areas of my life.

4. Work/life balance doesn’t exist in the U.S

I wish someone would’ve told me there is no such thing as work/life balance in capitalism. We live in a paycheck-to-paycheck economy. Routine occurrences like illness or car repairs quickly turn into emergencies. I didn’t imagine myself working weekdays, weekends and holidays to survive. Navigating the high cost of living, student loans, and the gender/racial wage gap feels like walking a tightrope. 70% of Americans earn less than 50K a year. It’s common for people to have multiple jobs and delay milestones because of insurmountable debt and poverty wages.

3. Dating as a radical Black feminist is underwhelming

Since I’ve emerged into my womanhood as a radical Black feminist, I’ve realized how normalized it is for people to devalue us. I’m paid less for the same work, receive subpar medical care and expected to internalize anti-Blackness and misogyny. This also occurs in intimate relationships. Most relationships I see Black women in are purely exploitative. I’ve witnessed a plethora of men living off of women with no remorse. I’ve accepted that the patriarchal nature of relationships between men and women glorifies exploitation, sacrifice, and abuse. To be a Black woman who refuses to accept the scraps people throw at you is a form of resistance.

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Black women are everything

2. Everything I want out of my life is within reach

2018 taught me that everything I want out of my life is within reach. Being able to envision the life of my own choosing is liberating. I believe that a life of independence, autonomy, and freedom is accessible to me. When I launched GabarIskuFilan six months ago, I never envisioned coining the term eldest immigrant daughter guilt or receiving praise from women worldwide who resonated with my lived experiences. I didn’t know how big this void was until I realized there was an overwhelming demand to read content about these experiences in particular. And I plan to deliver. I’ve been vying for the opportunity to write myself into existence for 14 years!

1. 2019 Will be My Year of Yes!

One of my life goals is to say yes to everything for an entire year. I want my life to embody fierce confidence. I’ve said yes to bungee jumping, paragliding, ziplining, and climbing the largest rock ever. I’ve said yes to eating suspicious food, invitations from locals, and reconnecting with the African diaspora. In 2019, I will happily take more risks. I’ve always believed in rejecting fear because fear is a form of social control to ensure women remain in bondage. We’re socialized to be afraid to travel solo, speak our minds and be our unapologetic selves because we’ll be outcasted. But I actually enjoy existing in the margins. And I will continue defying the limitations that are imposed upon me simply for existing as a Black Muslim woman. TO FREEEDOM!!!!

One thought on “Gabar’s Year in Review: 5​ Things I Learned in 2018

  1. Rama

    I absolutely agree with you! You’ve hit all four points right on the head. I’m a creative 26 year old woman and I’m working two jobs to make ends meet while at the same time trying to establish myself as a writer. And struggling with lack of freedom and criticism in my own Somali community makes things especially hard. Despite all that, I know that I have the strength to overcome it. People say that women are weak and need to be taken care of but that’s far from the truth. We juggle all sorts of problems while still maintaining sanity.

    Liked by 1 person

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