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Life Series

Priviledges & Prejudices – An Open Letter

Dear sir

I wanted to thank you for making the time to meet up with me last week to discuss actuaries in commercial roles. I’ve been off work the last two days moving house, and have been able to consider all that you’ve shared with me.

I particularly appreciated your honesty and candidness. While I definitely took a lot away from our meeting, one thing that stayed with me the most was around active planning and having a clear target/role in mind. I gathered from our meeting that you are aware, possibly from my boss, of the full extent of my ambitions – that is to one day be CEO of a financial institution.

You mentioned how certain key roles that were crucial in enabling you to build a track record happened by chance. In contrast my approach would appear a little more deliberate, considered and targeted. What I struggled to articulate in our meeting, is why that is the case. To plough myself out of poverty, I’ve had to be specific in my targets. Growing up in a country that is only 23 years old to the majority of its citizens, I’ve had to know exactly what was required of me to achieve even moderate success.

To get ahead as a woman of colour no one is likely to come around ready to just give me a chance at something, I will have to forcefully grab any minute opportunity that comes by. This is the fundamental difference between you as a white male, and the privileges that that affords you, and myself as a black woman, and the prejudices that dictate my life.

On qualifying as an actuary


It’s been over a year and three months, and a year and two months since the disastrous attempt at getting over you that involved the comfort of another’s arms. I look at pictures of you – the ones I haven’t gathered the courage to delete, and the ones that your friends post of you on Facebook. I notice how your hairline is receding, and try to take some comfort in that; try to learn to be mean.
It’s not that I loved you, no. It’s that I took a chance on you, and I was wrong. Of course I am being ridiculous in mourning you for so long – we never could have worked out after all. But there is a pain that won’t go away despite the passing of time, and I can barely name it, define it, in order to heal from it. So I keep on having to redo saying goodbye.
So goodbye then.


This is how you say goodbye: You stay on the phone with a German lady with an accent so deep you can barely make out what she is saying; all this while the GPS screams at you to turn left – which I never do. I get lost horribly and decide to give up on the sky bar work event. So I drive to the beach, park my car there and take a nap.
I make some carrot juice when I get home and pour myself a glass of wine on top of that. I watch Miss Porter and gather the strength to delete your number; his too.
This monkey is a clown; I feel like being a clown for now.

Goodbye then, my darling


It’s raining cats and dogs tonight; so loud I am struggling to fall asleep.

Two glasses of red wine and my favourite movie later and I’ve got Joni Mitchell playing on repeat. I miss you, I realise yet again. I promised myself that I would be gentler on myself, more loving and accepting of my humanity and vulnerability; that I would be kinder to myself and allow my definition of compassion to include me. So I’m letting myself miss you; for as long as my heart needs to.

And I’m being honest by telling you, even when I don’t need to, because my sensibility needs it; this is life for me, this is living. Someday I’ll wake up and not need this, and that will be great. But for now here we are.

Have a fantastic weekend my darling…