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The Power of Unremarkable

I don’t think there is anything very amazing about me. I’ve done nothing but write and act - in small ways and small places - about matters I think are important. And when I get the chance, I speak - extensively, passionately - about the issues I care most deeply about. That’s all. Otherwise, most days, I think I’m pretty unremarkable.

But I believe I used to be worse. I used to be passively unremarkable. I used to be pitifully passively unremarkable, and for too long, I was ignorant of the fact that that was what I was, or that there was anything wrong with it.

Information does a funny thing to you: It opens your mind to new horizons. Knowledge really is power, because the more you learn about the many atrocities befalling the people and world around you, the less time you find to be offended by the silly little misfortunes that have found their way to your door.

I was born in a small, rural town in Jamaica. At the time, we were the poorest parish in the island (we have moved one place up to second poorest, *whoop-di-doo*). I grew up having barely to just enough. For a long time, I felt like I was in the unfortunate minority in my country: among the ranks of the disempowered youth, the underrepresented women, a daughter of the impoverished, rural, farming town completely devoid of technological advancement ... I felt like I lived in darkness.

Since then, and especially after going through university, I’ve learnt that there are greater evils in the world than anything I have ever experienced or can even begin to imagine. There are women and girls being sold as chattels in a heartless trade that has been perpetuated for too long; there are people who have never heard of a computer, and to whom electricity is not even so much as an abstract concept … While I was sitting down bemoaning the darkness I thought I lived in, there were people on this planet who had nothing to eat, no place to live, no hope for their collective futures.

It’s a timeless truth: The world does not, has not, and will never revolve around me. For every hardship I face, there are millions more who constantly face worse, and who somehow find the courage to be remarkably strong in the midst of that turbulence. There are people who literally walk in hellish darkness everyday. And here's the sting: even in my unremarkableness, I could help! I can help!

Hence my participation in so many courses and movements. Hence my insatiable thirst for knowledge. Hence my decision to feminist, blog, volunteer with different organisations, participate in youth forums on and offline … hence the desire to be a journalist, advocate, activist, and to at least become actively unremarkable.

I will not curse the darkness ... I will light a candle. Whenever, wherever, however I can ...


Potter's picture

You are SO remarkable!

You are SO remarkable (and far too modest). I loved your article. And I owe you an apology. Some time ago you invited me to your World Pulse community and I realized after reading your writing that I never responded to you. Please excuse me. You are a bright, bright light. (And I've often wondered how to spell *whoop-di-doo*.)

ruthibelle's picture

Many returns

Thank you for adding me to your community.

I've read your profile, and I think you are quite remarkable yourself!! I think it's so amazing that you've worked in Africa - a continent I dream of one day visiting. Thanks for the kind compliments. I appreciate them.

PS Give your Madame Banana a big hug from me :)


Potter's picture


Madam Banana thanks you sweetly.

Monica Clarke's picture

Your candle shines bright

Hi sweetie, your article gave me big smiles, like 'I used to be pitifully passively unremarkable'. Your writing is something else, fresh and bright, like your cancle. I bet your activism is going to blow ideas around the world - yours and other people's.

Lots of loving from Monica in France

Monica Clarke, Writer & Storyteller, bringing human rights alive.
I wish you 'Nangamso', that is: May you continue to do the good work which you do so well.
(A blessing from my ancestors, the Khoikhoi, the first people of South Africa).

ruthibelle's picture

Right back at you.

Monica, I read your comment and your journal entry, and I can hear your voice. It's beautiful.

"I bet your activism is going to blow ideas around the world - yours and other people's" -- I hope so. Mine and yours :)


Nusrat Ara's picture

You have found the way. I

You have found the way.

I loved " And here's the sting: even in my unremarkableness, I could help! I can help! "

And of course the ending "I will not curse the darkness ... I will light a candle. Whenever, wherever, however I can ... "

You are on the right path and its time you help others tread the same.

Keep writing and sharing.



ruthibelle's picture

Building Awareness

Thanks for the response, Nusrat. One of the main aims of my writing is to try to build awareness of global development issues so that others can be inspired to act in positive ways.

PS You're a journalist. That's really kool! I love writing, too.


Gertrude Bvindi's picture

Lighters Up

I ma amazed at how you take the words right from my heart. I have always felt this way, but have neevr been able to write as this. Thanks and yes lets light candles and help others in darkness.

Gertrude Bvindi

ruthibelle's picture

Absolutely yes!

Absolutely yes!! Thanks for stopping by :)


Gertrude Bvindi's picture

You are welcome.

You are welcome.

Gertrude Bvindi

Gertrude Bvindi's picture

Lighters Up

I ma amazed at how you take the words right from my heart. I have always felt this way, but have neevr been able to write as this. Thanks and yes lets light candles and help others in darkness.

Gertrude Bvindi

redsbird's picture

Everyone is remarkable

Everyone is remaikable,including you.What you write is amazing for me, by the way ,what is whoop-di-doo*).? Sorry English is my second language, I can not understand.

ruthibelle's picture

RE: what's whoop-di-doo

'Whoop-di-doo' (in my essay) was meant to show sarcasm. Normally, when a person uses that term, it would mean that something good has happened and the speaker is happy about it. In the essay, I said that my parish is now the second-poorest in my country. I used 'whoop-di-doo' to show that even though I was glad for the fact that we were no longer the poorest parish, being just one place away from the poorest was still not good enough.

I hope I explained clearly.

And thanks for commenting.


annemari's picture

This resonates strongly with

This resonates strongly with me. I am someone who thinks I can never do enough to make the even the smallest mark in this wide world. Fortunately, I've found a way to help that is me. Let's keep learning and let's keep making a difference in the ways we know best!

Great to meet you :)

ruthibelle's picture

I Know Right ...

Thanks for commenting, Anne. Isn't it just awesome how going from a place of passivity to activity can radically change your life ... and others'? May we never forget the feeling, or lose the passion!!


Maggs's picture

This little light

I too have episodes of self doubt, complacency and even being cynical. Let that light shine


ruthibelle's picture

Thanks Maggs

And be sure to let your light shine too!! The more lights we have shining, the brighter the world will be :)


skildevfoundation's picture

Count your blessings

My dear sister, sometimes it is unimaginable to know what goes on around planet, yet others survived worst situations. Therefore we should count our blessings and I see the marvels God has done in our lives. It is a brilliant pieces of work well articulated. keep the light shining

Mrs May Okonkwor (Teach a Woman How to Fish)
Skill Development Foundation For Women and Youths (SKILDEV)

ruthibelle's picture


Thank you for stopping by, and yes, I do thank God for the blessing of life ... every single day!


Cali gal Michelle's picture

a boring? life

I, too, struggle with feeling like my story is nothing compared to other's around the world. It is difficult to ask for help, describe my current health situation (which is not good), etc when, after reading about female mutilation for example, seems so insignificant.

But, we are not insignificant. We must REJECT any thoughts of comparing sufferings and hardships. Let us together reach out however we are able, knowing that we ARE the change!



Let us Hope together-
aka: Cali gal


meg.peterson's picture

Great story!

Eloquently told story of who you are and how you have arrived at this point. You are a beautiful writer and seem to have a contagious spirit. I can see you succeeding and flourishing in your writing pursuits. Follow your vision!

JudyR's picture

Ditto Megan's remarks....

I love your writing style - and, combined with your passion - you wil be able to influence many others.

I've "compared myself" all my years - and it's a useless practice. Be who you are, where you are - now! You can always find someone worse off than you or better than you.........SO WHAT??

You have much to contribute to the world - we all have gifts - share yours

Judy R
Portland, OR

jap21's picture

Hi Ruthibelle

I will stick to your last sentence: I will not curse the darkness ... I will light a candle. Whenever, wherever, however I can ...

What a beautiful sentence! It shows your heart, your roots, your soul!

I want you to live your life from that sentence on. Don´t you ever repeat the other words in your article, please. You are hurting that beautiful soul that you truly are.

From now on, always begin with "I am remarkable", nothing less. Because just by being born, you are a winner. You were the only ovum to develop into a beautiful woman, out of a million!

Your article is touching an well written. But from now on you have to write in positive, not in negative.

Promise you will call yourself remarkable from now on sweetheart! Not because I tell you, but because it is utterly important that chrysalis of butterfly that you are now, extends its beautiful wings to show us the path, thoroughly, completely, wholeheartedly.

Hugs beautiful!


Jacqueline Patiño FundActiva
Tarija - Bolivia
South America

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