This week, I got to talk to Hannah Siddiqui, for the 8th episode of Waves Podcast ! For once I wasn’t late, I actually was ready very early, and everything went AWESOME. Let me tell you a story…
The Incredible True Story of TheRoadToHannah
At only 20 years old, Hannah seems unstoppable. She’s a sociology student in Berkeley, California, but also an influencer, a photographer, a writer, a speaker, she has her own website where she uploads the stuff she creates, she has brand deals, she also works on an app called Bumble… The point is: She does a LOT of stuff and now officially holds the record of most active Waves Podcast guest! The Kylian Mbappé of creativity, if you will – that one’s for the football fans out there ;).
Cause yes, she’s just as young and impressive as him. I know age shouldn’t matter because everybody lives and evolves at his own pace, but I can’t help admiring her, and how all this comes out naturally. Obviously I had to ask her how she does it! First, she does what she wants: when she feels like writing, she writes, when she feels like going out to take pictures… She does it. And as a guy who’s only started doing this recently, with this podcast, and some videos too… I can tell it really helps expressing yourself. It’s like letting everything flow naturally, instead of always trying to block some things and let others out. Kinda weird analogy I know but also very accurate. The second thing Hannah told me, is that even though it’s easy to be impressed by how many stuff she works on, she also has moments when she feels down.
Be Vulnerable As Hell
That’s connected to this sentence I found on her website: “be vulnerable as hell”. That’s how she chose to describe the goal of her writing and the whole concept of TheRoadToHannah, her personal brand. She wants it to be as real as possible, and so, never pretend to be stronger than she is. Just vulnerably honest.
She told me that the reason she wants to do this is that most people on the Internet these days, just show off their perfect lives and act happy all the time, but that’s not real. That’s not her, that’s not me, that’s not you. By doing this, she wants to tell her audience to accept and embrace their vulnerability, and understand that no one is happy 100% of the day, we all feel down sometimes… Including this 20 yo creative girl that’s already successful and inspires more people than she suspects.
Personally, I try to do the same since my conversation with Nabeelah a few weeks ago. I always post inspiring quotes on Instagram and I now pay attention not to put pressure on the audience. The aim is to make you feel better and not force you to do something I think might help you, simply because we are all different, and there is no general solution to find happiness. I’m also thinking about trying some new “depressed” insta stories, where I would share some unfiltered everyday thoughts, even when they’re sad… But I’m not sure how exactly to do that yet. I have to figure this out.
Let’s tell Our Stories, Let’s Learn and Grow Together
Once people will feel “allowed” to share their more “depressing” and sad days on social media, the platform will become a safe place to share our stories, Hannah explained. When this is the case, we will all be able to talk freely, to tell our stories and use our voices the way we want. This should eradicate most of the negativity that permeates the Internet these days. Once shared, these stories, these personal experiences, all this knowledge will be available for anyone to see and learn, and share theirs in turn… Making it possible for everyone to grow as human beings.
This is what the Internet was meant to be: A free source of knowledge. Unfortunately, the “free” part seems out of reach in many cases, but social media are different. They are free – and forever, as Facebook proudly says – so we are actually able to make them a more positive and safe place for everyone. If everybody was like Hannah, and if negative judgement became irrelevant – because everybody would be sharing their “weakness” – then Instagram would instantly turn into a Disney type of world. Right now, it’s more of a Hollywood action movie, and we aren’t all Vin Diesels. We can’t deal with that. So for our interest, we should stop seeing sadness or weakness as bad, stop judging, stop spreading negativity in the hope we will receive less and less of it in return. I should be able to say, as a straight male, that I love romantic comedies without fearing others’ judgements. Well I do say it… But that’s cause I’m used to it. Others might not, so please, be positive, accept the negative aspects of life.
Gender, Sexuality and Tolerance
I have to talk about gender, sexuality and tolerance too, because Hannah taught me a lot on this topic. See, as a straight white male, there are many issues I have no idea about. Not because I want to ignore them, but simply because it’s easy to forget others’ problems when you’re so privileged. For this reason, as I mentioned a few times before on the podcast, I’m really trying to learn about things I don’t know, about others’ issues. I try to understand how racism affects others – I mean I’m not stupid, I know racism is bad, I just don’t know to what extent because I haven’t experienced it – and any other type of discrimination.
I grew up with black and brown people, so I sort of happen to know more about race. But I didn’t know anybody that’s not heterosexual until 5 months ago.
I think it is important for everyone to acknowledge our ignorance in order to learn more and become tolerant, which is why I asked Hannah how she learnt about this topic. First: she studies it at uni, that helps. But she also told me that the best way to learn about it was to simply contact people who experience discrimination, asking them “hey, I would like to learn more about the way you feel in order to help me be more tolerant. In the worst case, they’ll say “nahh I’m busy”… In the best case, you’ll learn a heck of a lot very easily. So thanks, Hannah.
NOVEMBER 6TH is TOMORROW !
Final words on a very important topic. Well, two, but one is only important to me.
Tomorrow is my BIRTHDAY – party cone hats on these motherf – AND the midterm elections in the United States – a very serious and worrying topic. Me and Hannah talked about our political ideas and ideals, which are similar, luckily… The podcast might have ended very abruptly otherwise.
But what WE think does not matter. YOUR voice must be heard, and the way you do this is by VOTING. You simply need to find out where you’re supposed to vote, go there, ask them how it works, they’ll tell you. If you aren’t registered, or have any question about this, simply go to Vote.org. Registration takes less than 2 minutes, apparently.
The reason we want you to vote is that letting others decide for you is never the best option. Whether you like the current president or not, you do not want to sit this one out and regret it later. We will not give you any order or advice on who you should vote for – although we did say who we prefer but, you can disagree, it’s fine – we want you to PICK ONE. Obviously the perfect candidate does not exist, and you won’t agree with everything they say. What you need to do is take a moment and find out what resonates more within you. You don’t want a candidate that’s not ready for office, because the consequences could be bad. You do not want someone that might harm you, the people you love… Or anybody else.
Do not let the bipartisan system fool you, candidates can dress red or blue and still be f*ck*ng d*cks. You need to vote for a good person not just a good candidate who tells anybody what they want to hear. You need to find an inspiring human being who is ready to represent you, and to protect you.
So for my birthday, all I ask for is for you to vote.
In the meantime, if you want to listen to Hannah and all my other guests talk about some very inspirational and motivational topics, please have a listen on iTunes, Spotify, iHeartRadio and all the other podcast platforms.