Break the Rules Like ... Aisha Adkins
Not all Wonder Women wear capes, and not all Unladylike role models need to sit in the C-suite to spark change. We want to introduce y'all to rad women and nonbinary folks we admire. They'll offer up pointers on how we all can #breaktheruleslike they do and help them make the world a better place. If you have a role model to shout out, send hot tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.
1. Introduce yourself: Who are you, where are you from and what do you do?
Aisha Adkins! Atlanta-based storyteller, grad student and founder of Our Turn 2 Care, a platform connecting marginalized millennial caregivers to information, resources and each other.
2. When did you first realize this was the right path for you?
I knew I wanted to help people when I was 5, I became a storyteller at 9, and I've been a super nerd (read: lifelong learner) my entire life. My worlds finally collided in 2016, when I attended BlogHer and listened to a diverse group of awesome women talking about content creation and caregiving. My mind was blown, and Our Turn 2 Care was born.
3. What’s unladylike about you and what you do?
I am committed to fighting for the underdogs, the underrepresented among us. Sometimes that requires me to be less than polite and to drop unfiltered truth. I am kind and very diplomatic, but I am dedicated, honest, and fiercely protective of the rights of every single person to live a good, decent quality of life.
4. Which of your heroes or role models would you immortalize in bronze?
Oh my. What a delightfully creepy thought. If I found a decent bronzesmith, I'd have to probably put Melissa Harris-Perry in it. Witnessing her journalistic integrity and commitment to family has truly inspired my own academic and professional career.
5. What was your feminist aha moment?
In 2016, I was splashing around a pool at a friend's condo. One of the other pool party guests shared her opinion about being picked up and carried around, explaining that there is a time and place for that sort of thing. I responded, "Sure, it's fine with consent." She stopped swishing through the chlorinated water, peered at me over her tortoiseshell designer shades, and asked, "Liberal feminist?" I'd never been asked to identify this way before. I thought about it for a nanosecond and responded, "Yes ...?" I later chatted with another friend about the term. We both agreed that while we fully support equality for women across the board, the term "feminist" has become a very loaded word, and it can be difficult for many women — especially women of color — to fully identify as feminists, even if we subscribe to the ideals.
6. What’s the best advice you’ve received? The worst?
The best advice I've received: Know enough to be able to hold a conversation about virtually anything for at least two minutes. The worst advice I've received (while living in Barbados): Try this Bajan pepper sauce — it's not that spicy. (I could not taste for 48-hours.)
7. What’s bringing you joy right now — or at least keeping you sane?
My young adult caregiver groups are ev.ry.thing rn! The connections I've made to my fellow caregivers is special because we are able to relate to the unique struggles of being millennial caregivers. We are able to commiserate over the trauma of caring for terminally ill loved ones, but we can also laugh about the disaster that is dating under those same circumstances. These groups offer safe spaces to be vulnerable without judgment, and I think that is the very definition of joy: To be loved an accepted for who you are in good and bad times alike.
8. Aside from keys/wallet/phone, what do you never leave home without?
Lotion. I absolutely abhor the feeling of dry hands, especially after washing them in a public restroom. The very thought makes me shudder.
9. How can unladies help you and/or your mission?
We've got some fundraising campaigns coming up, so please follow us on social media and share with your friends — every donation helps! Also, we are always looking for volunteer graphic designers, developers, grant writers. If you are an expert and want to lend your knowledge, time or skills to Our Turn 2 Care, slide into our inbox.
More from Our Turn 2 Care
More about caregivers in the U.S.
Unladylike episode: How to Nanny Up
The Female Face of Family Caregiving (National Partnership for Women & Families, 2018)
Gender Differences in Caregiving Among Family — Caregivers of People with Mental Illnesses (World Journal of Psychiatry, 2016)
When Kids Are the Caregivers (U.S.News & World Report, 2015)
Cultural Diversity and Caregiving (American Psychological Association)