Between two rivers

 This really feels awkward! I haven’t blogged in awhile. I spent the last three months postponing to speak my heart out. I always wait until the stress of having something done is real in order to actually get it done. It’s an habit I have owned that I should replace with another habit .

By the way, I didn’t use the word ‘procrastination’ purposely. I made a resolution that in 2017, I was going to be positive. I thought I was positive until I met someone who really is positive and inspired me to start seeing things differently.

Anais Nin once said ‘ We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.’ She was so right. Our perception depends on who we are. And who we are is a mix of seasons, situations, moments, memories, experiences , choices ,…The question should not be how we see things but who are we? or who do we think we are?

Well, I am not blogging about identity. I am actually telling you that I didn’t give up on blogging. I still have stories to tell you. I still have experiences to share with you about my entrepreneurial journey, but mostly I am going to take you back with me to my last days of 2016

It was in August when I decided to go spend the holidays with my family. I talked with my team ( by the way, I work with eight amazing young women ). We decided to do a show , not for us, but for refugees in Mahama Camp. We were excited to be producing our first collection of Made in Burundi. That’s actually the whole goal of AC besides working with different wholesalers. We plan to take the fashion industry in Burundi on another level.

In December, Monique and I flew to Kigali where we put one of the best shows yet according to us. Even though we showed our line to only a few people, the love and support we felt was real. And I won’t forget my mom’s proud face when she saw our wedding collection! But mostly I can’t thank Janet Andoh and her husband for travelling with me just for the show. They showed me what love really is.

I also got to spend time with family. As always, I felt like a stranger. I rarely caught their jokes or understood their sarcasm. On the other hand, I was too much for them. I was reacting too much, complaining too much…

I then realized somehow that they are not my home , because I have found another home. What is home? I found out home has nothing to do with a location. I have become my own home. Did I change? Maybe I did or I didn’t but I did grow. I became wild and free. Where parents could have been setting up the rules, I stood alone, making my own rules. I become less dependent on others and filled the emptiness of the family I grew up seeing with a self- love , self-appreciation and self-dependency. I began to rely on myself more than family , and so it was hard to rely on them again when I was back with them , even harder to wait for their approval to do something. It became a burden to have to tell my mother that I was going out with my friends. I saw that I had managed to make home out of my loneliness. I saw that after long stressful days here in Portland, I didn’t call my mom anymore. I went into my little apartment, removed my makeup and my bra so the titties could breathe , and then put my favorite TV show, to laugh until I feel asleep . I had become my own home where I am my own mother, father, sister, and brother , all at once and I love it .

The trip also made me realize that I did well in creating Abigaelle Closet. It is more than eight young women making a living out of fashion. It is our way of showing to the world that girls can do a lot together. We are promoting girls who build something without envy and jealousy .

I spent my last days in Kigali meeting people. I enjoyed every discussion I had but one changed my life. It happened when I met Maggy Barankitse . We were excited to see each other after. I remember she said ‘ ni wewe ukora ibikora inka ga mwana ? ‘ which meant a lot coming from her. She shared with me young women’s conditions in Rwanda. We cried while going over some uncomfortable situations , until a voice rose from my soul screaming so clearly: ‘ You shall be your sister’s keeper ‘

Today we have girls growing up in a very scary world. We have girls thinking marriage is their only way out from poverty, so they get married to whoever shows up first. We have girls who are being raped and abused emotionally by their boyfriends and they feel it’s okay. In fact, they think it’s all love. We have girls who don’t go to school so they can easily sell their bodies.

I left Kigali with a rebel’s soul. I am going to fight for my sisters. The fight isn’t going to be easy. I will have to stand against the very same women I want to advocate for , to let them know they are better , they deserve better and shouldn’t believe the opposite of what they know about themselves.

Well, this article was about wishing an amazing year to all of you , my readers. I hope 2017 will be everything you want it to be and it can be even more if you work hard enough to make it happen.

 

Stay Awesome,

 

Judicaelle

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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