AWiB’s Mirror: My Journey Beneath the Surface

“I always made sure I was invisible. But I didn’t know that by “protecting myself from the world” I was harming myself more than anyone ever could.”

Four years ago, I penned those words in AWiB’s December 2019 Pinnacle titled AWiB Internship Program. Reflecting on that period, I remember the mindset I hid, descending deeper into a self-destructive cycle of self-loathing and self-sabotage. During my two-year tenure at AWiB, I acquired a wealth of knowledge that remained dormant in my mind, largely untapped and unutilized. Leaving AWiB in January 2021, I ventured into the professional world, achieving visible accomplishments. However, I was wrestling with immeasurable struggles beneath the surface, many of which I kept hidden from others. The Kerry of that time was on a journey rooted in depression and a persistent sense of hopelessness. What ultimately pulled me from that abyss were friends who stood by me when I had given up on myself, and invaluable insights gleaned from AWiB—be it from mentors, colleagues, fellow members, or the various sessions I had participated in.

Reflecting on my initial entry into AWiB in 2018, it’s awe-inspiring to see the transformation. The mirror that AWiB held up reflected not only my vulnerabilities but also the resilience I didn’t know I possessed. It involved years of grappling with internal and external conflicts, often questioning the purpose, to arrive at the point I stand today. I’ve come to understand that the struggles weren’t in vain; instead, they were the chisel carving out the stronger, smarter, and more confident version of myself.

The remarkable women whom I encountered, generously offering their time to guide and mentor me, were an invaluable resource I couldn’t have found elsewhere. AWiB is a place of genuine support, connection, and all-round sisterhood. What a privilege to have been guided by and worked with such women at a young age. Nahu, Sewit, Yodit, Samri, Fei, and Nebat, I am eternally grateful. AWiB is my second home. A place I can breathe freely, something that can be very difficult for me at times. AWiB forced me to confront discomfort, refusing to let me escape or hide until I reached a point where I could embrace and smile back at the incredible person reflected in the mirror.

I recognize that growth is a continuous and gradual process and so my journey to self-discovery is ongoing. While I haven’t conquered all of my most difficult challenges, the assurance that I can overcome them with time is a powerful realization.

As I sit in my office and look at my colleagues, I feel a twinge of sadness. I’ll miss this place, the familiar faces, the camaraderie, the authenticity. Life’s journey is unpredictable. From starting on one path to winding up on another, every unexpected twist has been a lesson, a source of strength. The disappointment in 2021 transformed into a deep sense of pride. I’ve worked intensely on myself, achieving goals and more. I’ve been part of different teams, excelled in writing, contributed to successful projects, and worked on tasks I never could have imagined myself doing. I take pride in my accomplishments, knowing I can handle anything now. Recalling Nahu’s words, “If you’re going to play it safe, you’re not going anywhere,” I embark on a new path without a map—how thrilling.

To Nahu and Sewit, my guides through highs and lows. My heartfelt gratitude knows no bounds. Thank you for taking me under your wings and pushing me past my limits.

To my AWiB tribe, I will always be one call away…

Love,

Kerry Irwin Edmond

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