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Illustration by Livi Wilson


I am unlearning my mother’s beliefs

I am unlearning what valuing myself—my own skin—means

I am unlearning the notion that others’ success equals less on my plate,
that I should compete with my sister for my father’s attention,
that “enough” is having better grades than my schoolmates.

I am unlearning what defines my worth
I am unlearning my beliefs about the financial world
because every penny I make can be a vessel to carry forward social change
and make a significant difference in this time and age

I am unlearning the lie that other women are my enemies, and that their successes devalue my future achievements

I am unlearning what being this person, this woman I am today means
I am unlearning the habit of asking permission for my existence and apologising for honest mistakes

I am unlearning what it takes to get rid of shame
I am unlearning definitions of my sexuality, my pleasure and this physical body of a goddess I was given.

I am unlearning the perception of every inch of this skin,
every persistent thick black hair, every mole and freckle from my left shoulder to my right ankle, and different-sized nipples.

I am reclaiming my own needs
it feels like falling in love

with a person I’ve always wanted to meet.

Sara Kärpänen, 2019

Illustration by Livi Wilson

Livi Wilson is an illustrator based in Bristol. Her illustrations reflect a simple and clean style and are often inspired by her interests, which include travel, literature, food and well-being.

See more of her work on her website

TopSoil: gardening as radical queer resistance Stammering in the intersections Beyond the pole: cultivating community and destigmatising sex work What is Abolition? What is Settler Colonialism? The Revolution is in 808 What is Green Colonialism? The Black women in my life who bring me joy Exploring mixed musical heritage in collective healing and solidarity What occupying a University building taught me about life