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‘I belong here too… right?’ –  Saabirin’s Irrational Thoughts

Saabirin is a second year Politics student

something as simple as what societies at university to join had proven harder than I’d ever thought for me. what did I truly identify with? what did I deem the most like me? the phenomenon of intersectionality in real time created a battle in my own mind. it’s like I’m fighting different sections of my brain, one screaming religion!!! the other yelling race!! a metaphysical rope tugging me in two different directions playing tug of war when I never volunteered to play to begin with. and the social playground that is university had made me question, can they coexist peacefully within myself anymore?

studying politics at a prestigious university like kings is immediately a hub of conflict and discourse and yet, I found myself drowning in the conflict of my own identity before even crossing the next bridge. the mere thought of contributing to seminars rang anxiety through my body. and for a long time, I passed off this feeling as entirely irrational and a quote on quote me problem. and as term time went on the irrational thoughts continued to creep up on me, ‘do I belong here’ ‘am I good enough’ but the most prominent one of them all staring blankly back at me when I saw myself in the mirror was ‘will my identity speak for me before I can.’ one thing I knew for certain was these thoughts and feelings never came from a place of shame or embarrassment for who I thought I was, it was much more complex and confusing than that. borderline consuming.

vocalising these feelings almost felt like a chore; I didn’t want sympathy from others as a socially acceptable response, so what did I want? i wanted to accept that these feelings mattered.

in ‘The Social Construction of Black Feminist Thought’ by Patricia Hill Collins, her explanation of the Eurocentric masculinist knowledge-validation process put things into perspective. Collins had stated ‘white male controls the knowledge validation process, both political criteria can work to suppress Black Feminist Thought’ and I truly resonated with this. this was a microcosm of what happened to black women in academic spaces that are white dominated. a microcosm of what was happening to me in university. i can recognise that it is on a very small scale in seminars, but it was an explanation that made me feel like my feelings mattered! there being a predetermined notion in my peers’ heads that I have a certain opinion or thought that they immediately opposed wasn’t an irrational thought at all.

as an attempt to rehash all of these feelings and thoughts, I’ve made a constant effort to redefine the angry black girl label into something more empowering, more inspiring, but in my efforts I found that this was only a temporary solution to a permanent problem? and the next question now was, what’s the permanent solution to all of this? or is that another irrational thought…