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To the Optimists who dare

My optimism has always been a badge of honour, I wear it everywhere I go and I share it with everyone I cross paths with. This in itself has gifted me with hope and volume up my self-presentations and interactions with the citizens of the world regardless.

I have often asked myself the existing question, what is the root of this quality I possess and how do I translate it into my daily life and journey. If any, my upbringing has not been the most suitable for the person I am today. Having moved from the Gambia where the pieces of my childhood lay fragmented and closeted, to the Netherlands where I am met with very many a cultural and geographical differences, I had to trust in my intuitive and artistic curiosity to propel through this change, to dare to ask, adapt and become part of the society I’ve thrived to be in since the nature of humans are to be wired for connectedness, and I fuel my vigour with this saying “We are all in the gutters but some of us are looking at the stars” by Oscar Wilde.

Through my optimistic approach to life, I have allowed myself to find my tribesmen who value and produce meaningful art and relations based on ethics, principality, and nurturing of the world we live in, this to me is the declaration of love to our world. And, since I am queer, I have to face myself first in enquiring if the world is as progressive as it claimed to be before showing it all my facets and identities. This isn’t a comfortable transitioning, I root from a place where a man must not show any form of femininity and weakness, every sign that projects this must be suppressed. This is an exhausting feeling, as I am very much in tune with my femininity and expressive mannerisms. But this has always been my narrative, life throws chaos my way and within it, I see various possibilities it could birth

And over a while now, I have built up the openness to resist the part to embracing the new change I have been gifted with, and it surprises me to know that I still ferry the pieces of my past self that still eye into my present, thus making me reserve and limited in my way of being sometimes. This in itself is a feeling not to be fought, time will quiet all these voices I know, I just have to live on life and change through the seasons.

Finding myself in the Netherlands where I applied for my residential permit and had to wait for a year to have it, I felt perhaps hopeless and couldn’t fully trust my surrounding, I will give everyone and everything a part of me but not fully as I fear that if I am too much attached, it will hurt if I am denied the permission to live here. On July 14th, 2021, I received my residential permit and there it is, my optimism has been reinstated. The hope I’ve always carried within me became the light of my journey, this time I give myself fully to everything in line with my dreams and pursued it with limitless energy, and the more I show up as my authentic self, the better the opportunities I meet my way.

Having a stroll one summer afternoon in the busy streets of Amsterdam, I passed by the Bilderdijkstraat where this bold label stands New Optimist, I felt this was me, I felt this represented me, it spoke to me in more ways than transcend a sustainable fashion brand, the name “New Optimist’’ gave me hope, it speaks in my tongue and manifestation, quickly I walked in and met Xander one of the founders of the brand, he introduced me to the thoughtful initiative behind the brand and the very many socially driven motivations behind it. After a good interaction with him, I scouted a T-shirt and a tote bag with the brand’s label on it, and immediately after I have paid for the merchandise, I asked Xander if I can work here. It took me a while of passing by the store and having meaningful interactions after I received an invite to intern for the brand and after 2 months, I could become the store manager, how wonderful could this get. Look at me now, I am too optimistic that even my job title fits.