Act Your Story
The story you tell might not be the one you live. The words you speak might be a cover for your true emotions underneath. For humanity, act your story.
‘If your circumstances depress you, they can progress you’ — Jamala Osman
‘Forgive yourself and self-love’ — Shocka Kenneth
‘Never give up on your dreams’ — Hussain Manawer
Some people can’t articulate their story.
They believe they can’t, when they can.
So here’s a new approach, how about acting your story?
Play your role.
Make it unique.
Let’s rewind, I have a tale to tell.
I grew up with Pakistani heritage covered with a British badge.
Emphasis on the British.
I grew up assimilating rather than enriching myself with my culture.
I grew up with a mindset that culture would come to me, not me to culture.
I’m disconnected from my culture.
Fast forward to a Instagram Live with Hussain Manawer.
I had already bought tickets to his headline show at Scala.
I spoke to him about this disconnection.
People talk about being left out of a society.
I somewhat feel like I’m left out of a culture.
A cultural identity and belonging.
I float between British and Asian, I can’t bare them both but I have to for society.
Morally, I’m neither.
Officially, I’m both.
Hussain recognised this.
But that was the end of that.
A part of my life I don’t talk about much.
I don’t think about it.
I don’t see it as an identity point.
So many associate so strongly, I don’t associate at all.
I don’t see black, white, brown as a difference.
I look deeper.
I care about deeper.
29th November 2018
Hussain Manawer, sold out headline show at Scala, Kings Cross.
Eight-hundred people in attendance.
Supported by Shocka and Jamala Osman.
Special guests Mayor of Sheffield Majid, Harris J, Sonna Rele and Naughty Boy.
A night of tears, appreciation, wonder and self-righteousness.
I went because I support Hussain’s work.
I think he is someone of tremendous drive, innovation and he is culturally-significant.
He knows himself.
He loves his work.
He knows where he came from.
He knows his past.
He recognises his bright future.
His supporting acts were the same.
They shared a commonality.
Everyone suffered adversity.
Now, this is where it gets interesting.
My disconnection from culture doesn’t mean I have suffered more or less.
But the storytelling always sounds more inspiring when the person has suffered.
Jamala lost her Mum at a young age and was forced out of home by her Dad.
She was the youngest ever bank manager at Barclays when she was 21, now 25.
Shocka has seen the inside of a mental hospital, multiple times.
He broke down, recovered and repeated the processes.
He is a living and breathing version of perserverance.
Hussain lost his Mum last year.
He suffers from depression.
But he’s successfully starting a conversation on breaking taboo in culture of mental health.
The Asian taboo.
Mental health doesn’t clock the radars of most Asian parents.
That’s the stereotype.
And to some degree it’s a reality.
That’s where I’m thankful I’m not part of the culture as much.
My parents liberal and understanding of changing times.
All these stories that they tell have extreme adversity.
My life hasn’t had that.
So is my story less worthy than their’s to tell?
My story can’t inspire like theirs.
I suffer from small issues.
The pessimist would make you turn these inspirational stories of hardship into a self-deprecating method.
Here’s the thing.
They tell their unique stories.
Laying the path for people similar to them to act their stories.
Because until this point they haven’t been able to do so.
They couldn’t speak up, but they can now live openly.
This goes for mental health, LGBQT+ and everything that has some difference to the ‘norm’.
So my story doesn’t include any hardships that affected me massively.
But I’m explaining the story of a boy disconnected from culture.
Displaying the boy who hasn’t been able to be part of something.
My movement is my wave.
No-one has told my story yet, maybe it’ll allow people similar to me to act their story.
Not everyone can tell their story.
But everyone can act it.
These were the teachings I learned over three hours standing in Kings Cross.
I started off wondering if my story was worthless.
Their stories touched me.
But made me wonder if my story was strong enough.
I listened further.
I really listened.
Understanding word by word that it’s not about them, it’s about me.
They have this confidence that they know their work is powerful.
I don’t have that.
I just write.
And that’s enough.
A thought-provoking evening.
A reminder that not everyone can tell their story.
But they can do something than be the same as everyone else.
Act your story