Living her passions
Krystl Assan is not your routine Young Achiever.
When she's not driving her Mio 50cc moped to a client's house for literacy tutoring — her feet tucked back just under the seat cushion like a witch on a broomstick — she's at home in Warwick practicing yoga, or writing, or dancing, or studying Portuguese, or Spanish, or French ... the list goes on.
“I don't have an average day,” said the 24-year-old. “That's the point. If I have an average day, I'm not me. One of the time-management things I've been learning is to look at life in a week, not a day, otherwise it gets a bit overwhelming.”
“Overwhelming” is putting it lightly. Ms Assan splits her weeks between curating the progressive online magazine “Kulcha!”, studying for her final exam in Birth Doula Training — a holistic, female-centred approach to midwifery — practicing 80 hours every week to become a certified Yogi, managing a small local business' transition into e-commerce, teaching children how to read, and immersing herself in research for her next writing project.
Lately she's been shadowing Dejon Simmons, founder of BerMemes, in an attempt to gain insight into the issue of youth unemployment in Bermuda.
“I decided to follow around Dejon Simmons in order to get a sense of the contradictions that I feel are inherent in the unemployment problem,” said Ms Assan. “When people talk about youth unemployment it's either ‘the youth are unemployed, let's get them to work,' or ‘the youth are entitled and lazy'.
“But Dejon is none of those things. Dejon is smart, and creative and entrepreneurial, and he's built the biggest social media brand in Bermuda's social media history, which isn't very long but it's also still quite an accomplishment.
“But at the same time he's been unemployed for five years.
“And for me, I'm attracted to the contradictions, to the fact that he clearly exhibits such talent, such drive and vision and entrepreneurialism, but at the same time he's unemployed, and getting frustrated.
“So that contradiction, that paradox, was interesting to me. I felt he was a good way to explore the issue.”
She could have traded it all in for a more traditional approach to a career, Ms Assan explained. Even now, doing what she loves, she winces at the idea.
“I'm still mad at myself for abandoning my passions,” said Ms Assan. After dancing with just about every dance school in Bermuda, these days she dances at home.
“I really need to stop running from the fact that dancing is, no matter how hard I try to get away form it, a huge, inescapable part of my life.”
“I did jazz, and ballet, and hip-hop and tap and all that growing up ... liturgical, in church ... devotional dance.
“I want to be a Gombey. But I can't. The only girls' troupe in Bermuda — Gombey troupes are still sex-segregated — is in need of a girl drummer, so I've taken it upon myself to be that girl.”
And that, in a way, is the essence of Krystl Assan. She takes life upon herself.