touching upon diversity
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I’ve been taking advantage of my time being jet lagged. Waking up incredibly early before the streets are full of people and the children’s laughter fill the air as they walk to school. I sit in bed, instead of migrating to my desk, and peruse the parts of the internet that I’ve missed since being away to India. One thing that I came across was Kristabel’s video on racial diversity in fashion blogging and luckily for me her creative energy has kept her awake at random times of the night including that morning I watched the video and read through some of the comments.
I’ve spoken to Kristabel a bit about my frustrations about the blogosphere and how everyone can fit themselves in a niche and that niche was a very typical, broad “niche”. For myself, however, I’ve found it a bit difficult to fit in and continue to find this issue in blogging and the greater society too. As you know, I’ve refrained from sharing too much about my culture because I’m trying to find more relatable content to share with all of you. The more I open up about my culture, I believe that only focuses on a certain number of people and in turn will exclude more readers.
As my blog matured, I’ve come to know that bloggers with a small number of followers tend to have a stronger community than others. So I stuck with that and didn’t budge too much to get that fame and prestige most bloggers seek. I’m proud of the community I’ve created around c&é and even prouder of the friends I’ve made. And in critical times, my blog has even saved me (read: made friends through it when I first moved to London). With that said, blogging still hasn’t felt as inclusive as I would have liked since I started just a little over 5 years ago.
I grew up…
I’ve always been incredibly different from every setting I’ve been. From going to private school growing up in a completely American society to undergraduate and graduate school set in conservative towns. Being Indian was very different, so I assimilated to my surroundings and suppressed my true identity. Contrastingly, I assimilated so much so that my Americanized Western identity even scared off most of the Indian community. So I sit here at a crossroad, not completely fitting in anywhere… almost.
At home, I grew up with a family that predominately spoke in Gujarati and thus I learnt to read, write and speak it too (better than most Indian children you will ever meet). I grew up participating in cultural activities like training in Indian classical dance, Bharatha Natyam for 8 years. I grew up eating proper Indian meals at home with my hands. I grew up regularly visiting India. But kept all this behind closed doors so I could feel like I’m part of a greater community, feel a sense of belonging.
And since starting the blog, I’ve felt that I needed to keep those doors closed. It wasn’t until when I moved to London, adapted and made friends of all sorts of backgrounds did I realize the opportunity my background provided me. Meeting bloggers like Kristabel, Sade and Shini demonstrated the importance of showcasing who you are-does that make sense? Provided I was born and brought up in the Western world, one can still instill elements of their past and background into work today. It’s how one creates a niche, a uniqueness, not shared with anyone.
I’m going to conclude on that note as I can go on for day and days about this topic and take a pledge that I hope to routinely share this side of my world with you…