My name is Sevim Yildiz and my story is somewhat different – I grew up believing that this difference was a disadvantage. Originally born in the United Kingdom, I travelled back and forth from Turkey, where I spent my younger years in a village before moving into a storey of flats on a street called Portakal Çiçegi Bulvari (Orange Blossom Boulevard), sounds magical, right? Growing up, I was incredibly intrigued by the world around me and I wanted to know more, which drove me to explore it further.
Throughout my childhood – especially during school and college – I was bullied for being different and, as you can imagine, racism came into the mix. Hurtful comments were said, while my truth was dismissed and discriminated against. During this time, I was diagnosed with Vitiligo (loss of skin pigmentation) and excessive hair growth – as a woman, this affected me in many ways and soon after I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety.
The beauty of this time came when I realised that being immersed in the natural world allowed me to be my true self, there was no judgement or expectations, just generosity and peace. In this place of pure acceptance, my love for wildlife and conservation grew and it was almost like nature and I were connected for the first time. I felt I was in the presence of a friend. Whenever I had feelings of not belonging, the beauties and curiosities of the natural world enriched my mind and allowed me to remain humble, grounded and blessed.
Further acceptance came when I studied and graduated as a scientist in Wildlife Conservation and Zoo Biology. I have had many opportunities to travel and these experiences have given me a better understanding of the natural world and the chance to witness real events that continuously threaten our planet. I have always loved watching Wildlife Documentaries that illustrate the hidden gems of our world, informing us of our constant influence on all the species that inhabit this incredible planet. This led me to study a Master’s in Wildlife Documentary Production, where being unique allows me to see the world differently and use my creative ability to be imaginative and bold.
As the pandemic came, the world was put on hold, but I did not let this become a boundary. I created a platform which I named BeCuriousBeings. The platform allowed me to continue sharing interesting facts and awareness of the natural world via podcast and inspire people that, no matter what or who you are, if you have a passion, no amount of lockdowns or bullying should stop you from exploring that side of yourself. My platform is a hub for creativity and for connecting to people from various walks of life. I am extremely blessed and humbled by the feedback I have been receiving on this journey and have been offered an opportunity to create a film about the creation of the podcast, which will be my chance to spread the message that being different is something to cherish.
You have likely heard this before but being yourself and following your own passions will allow new lights to enter your life that others may want to block. Follow your path and do not let it be shadowed by people who want to stop you from shining. Over time, your life becomes a story you hold deeply, but sharing your journey will light a spark or fire in someone else and their journey will begin. Be bold, be unique and in time you will find fulfilment.
Thank you for reading.