Arts, music, theatre, adventure… London has it all! The first time I remember the bright lights drawing me in was at a young age as I attended an exciting event at the Albert Hall. "This is where I'm going to live when I'm all grown up", I thought. I will live in the city of big red buses, giant clocks with names and all sorts of people everywhere.
The people, that's what drew me in the most. The chance as an artist to see thousands of people bringing their works to the bright lights of London West End. Such culture to explore and be a part of something so much grander than ourselves.
Never in my wildest fantasies did I imagine once I arrived, there would be such darkness. It's incredible that throgh the eyes of a child, everyone is equal and everyone belongs. In the life of an adult, it's difficult to avoid the sexism, racism and all other kinds of -isms that exist in the world. But the way to remove that, is through us.
This week for International Women's day, I have seen many articles about famous women, past and present. I see mentions of Women's marches and feminist rallies, inspiring quotes from people long gone.
"We cannot all succeed if half of us are held back" - Malala Yousafzai
However, the one thing that comes to my mind when I think of 8th March, is the women in my life. My family and friends who I see fighting for diversity and equality every day just by being themselves. The woman on the street who stands up to the wolf whistle, the girl in the bar who respects herself, the colleague at work who stands up in a room of men and is their equal. The women who came before me, who paved the way and gave me all the wonderful things that I have as a young woman living in London today.
Helping us along our path are thousands of men who listen, who agree and who speak with us. It's disappointing to see a fellow woman stand against us. It's disheartening to see a man say we women are "weaker, smaller and less intelligent" but I say if people are beginning to feel defensive, then perhaps the ripple is becoming more of a wave. We cling to the past and the ways we know when we feel threatened and maybe this is a sign that we are being heard.
I like to believe that I now live in the city that I imagined all those years ago but I know I need to speak up to allow that city to be the same for others around me. We all deserve to look at the world through the eyes of a child. Perhaps we can get there one day if we continue to celebrate our similarities rather than focus on our differences.
Happy International Women's Day 2017!!