We all know the importance of rest and caring for ourselves. Marie-Anne Leuty (she/her) writes about how spending time with family led to finding a new voice, nerding out and claiming back autonomy.

Building this platform has been a lifelong dream that I only dared imagine could become reality.

In 2018, I worked full-time in tech while The Quick + The Brave and other side projects fulfilled my creative side. Not knowing exactly how long it would take, or even if anyone else would connect with what we wanted to do, Obi and I dug deep and kept working on our dream a little bit every day. 

Collaborating with local creatives along the way, things started to take shape. The journey taught us important lessons that would set the tone for how we wanted to grow personally, creatively and professionally.

A little daily grace

When the time came to work on TQTB full time in 2020, there was a definite learning curve. Setting up new systems from scratch applied as much to how we lived as how we worked. After a string of burnouts, I was taking my self-care journey much more seriously.

The opportunity to start off fresh and prioritise self-care as a daily practice was too important to miss out on. 

I finally started to understand what going inward meant. Working on my wellness a little each day gave me room to grow in new ways that showed up in other parts of my life. It clicked that by committing to taking care of myself, I could show up more fully for myself and others.

Rest – just beautiful 

Having said that, things got really real. 

Work to develop the platform and The Study Group Foundation had been in overdrive since September. We went from renovation mode to concept development mode working on back-to-back funding applications and pitches until December. 

Although self-care practices helped us day-to-day, the need to recharge was overwhelming. At the end of 2021 we went away to spend much-needed time with family. My last visit was in 2018 so this period of rest, reflection and soul food was very welcome.

Finding how to use your voice

Growing up far from my mum’s side means that every visit is a chance to dig into family and local histories. Chapter after chapter of my cousin’s book about Réunion Island vividly came to life through new and familiar stories and anecdotes.

With each visit, I gain a deeper understanding about myself culturally. For first and second generation migrants, our identities are shaped by the blending of the cultures we’re from and born into. We lack representation in most of the spaces we navigate – add in the geographical distance and it’s not surprising that it can be a struggle to connect with or learn about our communities. 

It was challenging to understand my identity growing up as a mixed race kid. Mum’s stories about her childhood always transported me and made me proud of my créole roots. Learning more about my culture and heritage from a distance and as an adult is bittersweet but I’m far more excited and grateful. This renewed sense of grounding reinforces the voice I’ve always wanted to share but needed the time to form. 

Now, I can’t wait to get to share it with you through TQTB.

“Welcome to my TedTalk (bookmarks).”

Time away was also time to nerd up. One of the many TedTalks bookmarked was Dan Pink’s ‘The puzzle of motivation’. 

The Pink Theory suggests that joining a cause bigger than yourself drives the deepest motivation. Studies show that basic financial rewards for work that involves more than the most basic of cognitive challenges simply don’t work. In fact, sometimes these rewards can have a negative impact on motivation.

Having recently left the golden handcuffs of full-time employment, my ears pricked up.

Pink defines three intrinsic keys of motivation: autonomy (the right or condition of self-government), mastery (comprehensive knowledge or skill in a craft or activity) and purpose (the reason for which something is done). 

The holiday came at a time when we were working to set up our plans for 2022 and it dawned on us that – to grow personally and professionally – we had to claim back our autonomy as BIPOC makers. Our purpose as a platform and foundation became clearer to us by the day.

Consider the cup filled

Going independent and setting up TQTB and The Study Group Foundation started as a way to find healthier, more sustainable ways of living and working. 

As a BIPOC-founded, majority womxn team, we’ve faced many challenges to get to this point but I’m happy to say that in the process we’ve built strong partnerships with collaborators who see and understand our journey. 

These partnerships honour our commitment to ourselves and the community to claim back creative autonomy, dig deeper into our craft and live in our purpose. I’m excited to get to share news about one of these collaborations with you this week.

Until then, I wish you and your loved ones a happy International Women’s Day. 

We’ve come a long way, baby. 

Let’s keep going.

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Follow Marie-Anne: @marieanneleuty