Sunday, 5 November 2017

Be Still.




Today I was nearly swallowed up by all my worries

Am I helping or am enabling this family member?

How do you help someone, when they don't think they need help?

When do I help? and when do I step back?

Will I achieve what I have been tasked with  this week?

Did that person really try to throw me under the bus?


Should I take another Panadol to help this anxiety headache?

Did I save enough money in the month of October?

Have I packed all that I need for this trip?

Did St-Micheal hear my prayer about my father?

Should  I text this family member and tell them how I really feel about their behavior or should I let sleeping dogs lie?

Am I on track? 

Am I making the  right decisions for my future?

What would my mother say?

Bla....Bla....Bla...Bla

The questions continued, till I came across this You tube video with T.D Jakes- "Leave it Alone!". As if God was hearing me thinking out loud in my head. Wondering how I would fix all these things myself.  I listened and I heard the message loud and clear.  I took three deep breaths  until I could hear the quiet of the Sunday afternoon world around me.  I said alone in my room to God 'I need some help.' I said again, ' I need help with all of this.'. So Simple.

So I guess I can now go about being still.... while watching my You Tube videos ๐Ÿ˜‰

Monday, 30 October 2017

Maybe Your Dreams Aren't Big Enough...




Yes that's a  multi colored mammoth charging through my bedroom


Prayer is a regular part of my routine. It's one my favourite things to do at the very beginning of my day  and also just before bedtime.  I feel that prayer is a valuable peaceful  and reliable activity for me. It is also an extremely private one...like how Moses goes up into the mountains kind of private. I particularly love the safety,  the repetition and the rhythm. I don't speak in tongues, the holy spirit does not overcome me, it is always a subtle force of a whisper. I am  no expert on this topic, I just like order, I prefer to flip through my prayer book or seek inspiration from the bible. If I have to discuss something, then I honestly tell God in my own ordinary words.
"Prayer is not asking. Prayer is putting oneself in the hands of God at his disposition, and listening to his voice in the depth of our hearts." ~ Mother Theresa

Now why are we talking about prayers when in the picture above,  a talking mammoth is about to charge through my bedroom? You see, I think because I like order and repetition, I may be hiding behind my prayers.  I've  gotten so used to  my routine that I have been seeing in tunnel vision. There is some ignorance in my prayers. As if I  have forgotten how awesome this world is.  Hence the imaginary mammoth charging through.  You see as mentioned in the last blog post, I've been watching a lot of You Tube and one of the things  I really enjoy is a channel called PBS Eons, which has these short digestible mini informational videos on evolution . And yes I  know evolution and Christianity aren't meant to go together, but just bear with me...

So from these documentaries,  I learnt  that the last mammoth died 4000 years ago, or 10,000 years ago depending on which one you watch. There is a term used for a species that scientists thought went extinct  eons ago yet their fossils show up in a different time period, it's called the  Lazarus- effect ( I kid you not, the person who gave it this name must know they would make some Christians angry, right?)

Nature is amazing. Even the people who study  life and nature that is extinct are amazing!

Did you know there were once woolly rhinos too? Everyone talks about the mammoths, but there were rhinos as well... yap google it ๐Ÿ˜Ž It lived during the Pleistocene epoch (whatever that means...). And was roughly the same size and weight as the modern white rhino today ( source)
from earth touch news network ...


As I learn more,  my random discussions during prayer change. The world is complex. We used to be encouraged to learn about these things in primary and secondary school, once I started university and chose my career path, learning about nature just dropped off my radar. After watching these videos, at times my prayers seem minuscule and limited  in the grand scheme of things. Once in while I need to thank God for the bigger picture.  And when I come to God with doubt in my heart, maybe it's because I have forgotten the awe that is represented in nature and life. Maybe I need to find a way to regularly remind myself. God . Is. Great.
  
Did you know there is a plant called 'Devil's Fingers'? Look at the picture below. Disgusting, right? Trust me when I say you need to go to You Tube and search for a video of  this thing hatching...yes it hatches ๐Ÿ˜จ๐Ÿ˜จ.  I predict that you will first cringe and cover your mouth as if you can taste it, and then you will press the re-play button five more times in disbelief, cause nature is just fascinating like that!

"Devil's Fingers" from www.littlethings.com
Have plants been secretly watching us all this time and we just don't know it? How do they know the colour of blood and flesh? What about the smell? People say 'Devils Finger' smell like putrid flesh... how did it figure out the smell?

In a forest some where...
Nature is smart..intelligent..jaw dropping....[you fill in your choice of words here] ...

The world is huge and now we are adding our own creations and innovations to the mixture. I only picked a few things to write about here but there is much....much...much more. 

Nature makes  me want to assess my prayers. Nature is constantly outperforming us without even trying too hard. Just think of the number of illnesses we are still fighting to find cures for, researchers look for inspiration from nature. Which brings me back to my imaginary mammoth, and the title of this blog and my prayers...



Need I remind you these plants know what rotting flesh smells like!!!! And you, what are you doing with your life?
 
The sad realization  that comes to mind when watching videos about the history of the world, is that this is all temporary. I  don't  know who said it but change is the one thing you can guarantee. The Sahara didn't start of as a desert. We human beings, are a species that is just passing through. Like all the rest that came before us. So what will our legacy be? Who will dig our fossils up? What will they say of us? I read somewhere yesterday that Mars probably had life on it before,  but we know nothing of what that life actually entailed yet. Imagine how many civilizations we know absolutely nothing about. 






 

Thursday, 7 September 2017

Taking Stock - September 2017







Making: I am painting now, I bought my own set of water colors along with some brushes, some pencils, some sharpies and two sketch books. I try to paint in the weekdays after work. I am attempting to build my skills for the drawing pad that I want to eventually start using regularly (Right now it only gets pulled out when I am feeling brave๐Ÿ˜ฃ ). There is something very liberating about creating without restriction, and also creating for nobody in particular but yourself. It is all thanks to @paintklanight for helping me pick up the brush. I attended two of their events and can't wait for the next one. Notice that I have not called myself an artist. There are real professional artists out there. I am not an artist, I simply paint. 


Drinking: Ummm....I have started drinking Apple Cider Vinegar in water again. I take a bottle to work every other day...750ml to be exact. I mix two table spoons in my bottle of water. My stomach is a very happy place right now ๐Ÿ˜Š๐Ÿ˜Š๐Ÿ˜Š

Reading: I just finished reading Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi...wow! Loved this book๐Ÿ’–๐Ÿ’–๐Ÿ’–. It follows the linage of two sisters from the days of slavery to the present moment. Took me a while to finish with all the other things I had to get done but it was totally worth it. It's a must read, go out and get it if you can.

Playing: Played some google art games the other day. I am considering getting my own set of board games.

Wishing:I usually leave this section blank but this month I am pining for a whole bunch of things, too sensitive to put in this blog post. ๐Ÿ˜ญ๐Ÿ˜ญ๐Ÿ˜ญ

Enjoying: Bikozulu's two blog posts Njeri and Guy. I can't wait for his book.

Writing: The daily free writing exercise is quite fun; when I can force myself to actually  sit and do it. I pick the strongest sentence from it and afterwards see if I can write some fiction, but I need to stick to a story line for a little longer than 30 minutes.

Loving: You Tubers, I discover new ones every week. Now I don't even bother to watch TV anymore. I just catch up with their daily vlogs. You can even get your exercise routine from You Tube....yoga, Pilates, dance...it's all there!

Eating: Popcorn...I mean who doesn't love popcorn? Also..why is it when you start eating popcorn it's impossible to stop? You have to get to the very last one.๐Ÿ˜…

Needing: The furry square pillows in Mr Price. I might as well have a pillow spree, you only live once..right? Well as much of  a spree as possible given the goals I must achieve this year.

Wearing: Lipstick. It's a staple now that I have figured out how to use lip liner ๐Ÿ’ƒ๐Ÿ’ƒ๐Ÿ’ƒ God help me if I get my hands on a good highlighter or bronzer....๐Ÿ˜€๐Ÿ˜€๐Ÿ˜€

Knowing: I think I say the same thing every taking stock, but prayer and God-time is important.

Thinking:  About Louise L Hay's death. She was the author of the  first self help book I ever bought. I know we are not supposed to admit to buying self help books, but I do buy them because adulting is tough. Took me more than a decade to understand what she was trying to say ๐Ÿ˜‚. I needed some life experience I guess. Very simple and subtle points but very hard to master. RIP Louise L Hay, you certainly won't be forgotten. Those affirmations require work buts it's good homework to have.

Giggling Over: The first paragraph of Luvvie Ajayi's new book,  I'm Judging You -The Do Better Manual 


From the Louise hay Website


Comment below, What does the month of September hold for you?

Wednesday, 23 August 2017

A Creative Writing Jump Start- Writivism Festival 2017



From now until the end of the year, I am supposed to spend 10 minutes free writing every day, so in true-aspiring-writer-fashion, I have been avoiding my notebook and pen this week. I attended a writing workshop last Sunday, it was part of the Writivism Festival. At 10.00am, I arrived on time for the workshop in my fave grey marble print dress and new L.A Girl matte pigment  lip gloss 'Black Current' with daunting and catastrophic imagined expectations in mind. The night before I had dreamt about all the worst possible scenarios, so I was hoping both the dress & lip gloss would help my confidence, because the one fear most writers have is reading their work in front of other people (people who are very talented). I was frightened that I might have to read my rejected story out loud, since they had asked me to bring a print out. So the dress and lip gloss were meant to be my Armour, but thank God I never had to read my story.

 Any who....I discovered that I actually have a lot going on in my mind and this free writing exercise  during the workshop allowed me to sit and spew out all the unnecessary clutter, no longer restricted by grammar. Free writing is when you write down whatever is on your mind without editing yourself. You just write and write and write, within your specified time limit. Sitting in a room surrounded by fellow writers of different nationalities and cultures,  I wrote possibly 150 to 200 words uncensored, real (and maybe a bit raw)in just 10 minutes. We were tasked to write about our names by the facilitator from Short Story Day AfricaEfemia Chela. And when she shouted "Time's up! Pens down." you can just imagine the struggle that took place between us the writers, our hands and the pens. We had all enjoyed our freedom without our internal editors breathing down our backs  and were reluctant to give it away once again.

The Writivism festival took place at The Square this year, which is most definitely an interesting building. I can describe it in four words greyish, blackish bare and huge. You can't deny the fact that the place was constructed for creatives. It's a structure located in the industrial area of Kampala that one can mold into what they need for the time they are there. The festival was dynamic as always.  Each time I attend I leave with my renewed enthusiasm for African writers. I attended the #MEIREAD session hosted by the Ugandan publishing house  Sooo Many Stories and listened to a lively discussion on the book Black Ass with author A. Igoni Barret,  now I MUST get that book!  I am so happy that the festival gives us access to books that we might not find in our usual book shops; not only access to the books but a chance to meet the authors and understand their creative process. It makes my reading  experience so personal, a purchase for me becomes an investment in the future of African literature. Our grandchildren will be overwhelmed by the choices, I am elated about that.  I bought  some books I am looking forward to devouring ๐Ÿ˜‚ Shout out to Turn the Page and the Writivism Crew for  ensuring they were available. I would have bought more but many of the books that were launched were sold out by the time I got there...

Yes, this photo was taken at night so I used a flash..

                       
Can we also talk about the Salooni exhibition by Darlyne Komukama? It made me proud to be female and Ugandan. Dare I say.... I think our ancestors would be proud of these amazing photos? I do believe they REALLY would be. 


from the Writivism website


One thing I was looking forward too was the creative rush, imagine a sugar rush but substitute sugar for creative energy . The energy that makes us paint, animate, design, photograph, even write... is it the same as the muse? Although it doesn't feel like the muse. It feels more like jump starting your internal creative vehicle, because each person will still has to go away and do the work. The jump start just gives us the visionary spark of electric energy. There is something about being around like-minded people that makes your mind dig deeper for the story, and hopefully helps you produce your next best work if you remain committed and intensely focused. So I highly recommend festivals, workshops or writing retreats cause we all need that creative push every now and then, before we lock ourselves away in solitary confinement to passionately labour away on the next great hit.

This post was initially a free writing exercise but 
I have edited out around 100 words so I could post it. ๐Ÿ˜ค

In  the comments below, tell me, have you tried free Writing? How do you get your creative jumpstart? Have you bought any good books lately?

Wednesday, 2 August 2017

How to Deal with the Social Butterfly Who's Secretly a Bully...



They get along with everyone except you, and you just can't figure out why...They are often cold and manipulative when interacting with you, and yet they are the complete opposite with everyone else. Other people describe them as warm, caring, fun  and bubbly but for some reason you can't  quite pin point how you are experiencing someone else altogether...

First before we go any further let's acknowledge what bullying is and that there are different types of bullying.  Here's a definition of bullying from Google, 'The use of superior strength or influence to intimidate, typically to force him or her to do what you want.' And here is another definition of bullying from Wikipedia, 'The use of force, threat or coercion to abuse, intimidate, or aggressively dominate others.'  Then just to make the discussion more interesting, there are four main types of bullying which I shall list below, however I am guessing if you were studying this topic you would probably find it broken down further.


  • Physical Bullying:includes hitting, kicking, tripping, pinching and pushing, or damaging property.
  • Social/ Emotional Bullying: also called "relational bullying", includes behavioral actions designed to harm a child’s reputation or cause humiliation, like lying and spreading rumors, playing mean jokes to embarrass or humiliate , mimicking the person in a mean way, encouraging social exclusion of a person, etc.
  • Verbal Bullying: includes name-calling, insults, teasing, intimidation or verbal abuse.
  • Cyber Bullying: includes taunting or humiliation through social media sites (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) or the Internet, cruel websites targeting specific youth, humiliating others while playing online games, verbal or emotional bullying through chat rooms, 


For this blog post I am personally writing from my experiences as an adult. I feel like it is a necessary topic to discuss. In the same way we can be victims, we can unknowingly  participate in bullying and not know the long lasting effects on the individual. I have never personally experienced physical or cyber bullying so the steps I am providing would probably not be useful in those situations. I am also not an expert,  I  am writing based on the coping strategies that helped me get through some challenging moments so please bare that in mind. Here are my ten tips for coping with bullies:


  1. TAKE A STEP BACK~ Usually when we are in the midst of getting bullied, we get lost in the overwhelming emotions of feeling inadequate and inferior. Take a deep breath...take a mental step back and see the situation for what it is. Is there really a problem or is someone trying to convince you that you are a problem? 
  2. STAY CALM๐Ÿ˜ถ~ Don't let your emotions get the best of you. This is the best advice my father has given me. Sometimes this person will use triggers, they will find ways to frustrate you and humiliate you in front of others. It's important to learn to remain calm and as mentioned in step one, take a step back and start seeing the situation for what it is. 
  3. 'ALL ATTACK IS A CALL FOR HELP' ๐Ÿ’ฃ-~I think this comes from a A Course in Miracles. Hurt people hurt other people. In this day and age of social media, we have become experts at editing our life into what we want people to see and know about us. Unfortunately this means that some people never feel safe enough to admit they are hurting or they need help. It isn't your responsibility to help the bully but you do need to know that their behavior is a refection of who they are and not who you are. They will try to convince you, that you are the problem, stick to steps one and two. Remember this isn't about you...this is about their inability to cope in healthy ways with situations they do not like. After all the bully is a human being. 
  4. PRAY๐Ÿ™‡~ meditate, pray, find your quiet amongst all the chaos. It will help you think through steps 1,2,and 3 Whatever works for you. Consulting with God helps me in my daily life
  5. TALK TO SOMEONE YOU TRUST~Find a confidant who is not emotionally attached to  the situation and discuss it with them. Sometimes this will help you see everything from a fresh perspective and they may have advice to help you cope better
  6. DOCUMENT WHAT HAPPENS ~ Write it all down, write everything that happens, so you don't feel like you are going crazy. Social/relational bullying can be very subtle and the victim may often feel like thy are overreacting. Write it all down. It may help you assess whether you really are being bullied 
  7. DEVELOP A STRATEGY IF YOU NEED ONE ~ sometimes ignoring the behavior helps, because it shows the bully that you will not stoop to that level. Sometimes confronting the bully in an assertive face to face discussion helps, because strangely enough some bullies are afraid of confrontation, because weirdly enough they are victims too.๐Ÿ˜œ Either way you need to assess the situation, do some research , seek professional help if possible and decide what is best for you  ( I have used the word 'situation' toooo much in this blog post ๐Ÿ˜‚)
  8. DON'T LOOSE FOCUS ๐Ÿ’ช ~ This is what the bully wants you to do, loose focus. Forget your purpose, dull your shine. They need to feel better and they think that will happen if they come for you. Make a list of all the things you need to achieve if you have too...re-focus and get your tasks done. Don't waste time focusing on the bully. Remember to find small things that bring you joy, like reading a book, meeting up with friends, watching your favorite series etc. Your  life is bigger than this moment. 
  9. HEAL & FORGIVE ๐Ÿ˜‡~ Bullying can leave a person with a lot of unhealthy side effects,  for example depression, anxiety, panic attacks, isolation, headaches etc... It can often feel embarrassing to admit that someone has had such an effect on you. Seek professional help if you need too. Find time within your life to heal and forgive, so that you can move on. 
  10. SELF- EVALUATE ~You might be a bully too, or you may participate in bullying behaviors towards others. Take the time to know yourself and the people around you, make an effort to stop bullying behaviors in your circles. 


“You should be nicer to him,' a schoolmate had once said to me of some awfully ill-favored boy. 'He has no friends.' This, I realized with a pang of pity that I can still remember, was only true as long as everybody agreed to it.” 




Comment below with your coping strategies, I would love to read them. 

Friday, 28 July 2017

Dear Queen- That Girl from 2014



Dear Queen

Facebook brought this memory up today, 28th July 2017. 

Oh my gosh.....no really....oh my gosh. ๐Ÿ˜ฒ

Photos can be like time machines. 

For five minutes this morning, I was frozen to my seat,  lost in the past,  remembering the moment this photo was taken. 

What a long time ago...

What a different place I was in...

(So nice and skinny then.... ๐Ÿ˜œ)

I remember that day. Just trying to keep myself relevant in a place where people didn't want me to exist. I remember praying desperately for God to help me through. I remember being so shocked at the behavior of people I  trusted. I remember feeling like I had no voice. I really had to dig down deep to fight for my right to be heard. I had to teach people to value me, to value what I had to bring to the table. I had no idea that, that kind of inner strength existed in me. It reminds me of Jesus's parable about the mustard seed...

I remember feeling lost...really lost and depressed.

I don't even know where I found the energy to smile for this photo. I felt like I would never find my way home from this gloomy horrible hope-less vacuum of a place.

But I did.

It took months and months....but I did.

I learnt to trust God to bring me through the eclipses.

I learnt to love and accept myself and my glitches. I think a year later this blog was born.๐Ÿ’œ

There are no words that could express the level of my gratitude to God for bringing me through that juncture. I am also thankful for the family and friends I had around me at that time.

Onward we must go Queen.

What a strange blast from the past to remind us where we have come from, and that we can find the fortitude to continue through to the future.

It was so funny how externally you look fine but inside you may be crumbling to pieces like an old forgotten dilapidated building. It's all good though, because we have to learn to build new and strong foundations. Hopefully we shall be able to pass these skills on to our children one day

Enjoy your weekend!

Till I write again...

Love this!

Comment below if you have had the same photo-time-machine experience...

Friday, 21 July 2017

#GirlBoss by Sophia Amoruso - A Book To Learn From?


I discovered this book quite late. In fact I had seen it many times  on the Aristoc book shelves  but I ignored it. Mostly because of the title and author's hair cut. I felt like this book was trying to sell me something but I was not sure quite what exactly. If I am honest the fringe and necklace frightened me, but the cover certainly got my attention so the marketers did a great job on that one.  I had seen Nasty Gal ads on the side of my yahoo e-mail page back in the days when yahoo mail was still cool.Then I think last year the news story broke that the Nasty Gal company was bankrupt, and because the same story and the aftermath of it kept popping up on my social media newsfeed, I made my way back to the book store to buy it. This was largely due to the fact that the media stories made her appear human and I was curious to know more about her beginning.

LA Times Story 

New York Times Headline

I think that's the problem with books that are marketed and written in this way, they appear one sided and they end with what seems like a happily ever after ending. Just like the fairy tail we assume that our heroine rides off into the joyful sunset never to experience failure or sadness again. Luckily for Sophia she gets points from me for mentioning the following quote in the beginning of the book.

"If there were rules to being a #GirlBoss-which there are not- one of them would be to question everything-including me. " ~ Sophia Amoruso


The quote above was a smart quote to put at the beginning, for me it saved her. She's telling us that despite her producing this appealing product of a book, just because everything looks pretty and well laid together, you should not take everything at face value. You should question. It's done so subtly that it may be easy for the reader to miss, and it's probably long forgotten by the time they get  three quarters of the way through the book. Yet for me this is one of the best gems of the book. This is Sophia's experience. Take  what you can but at the end of the day you have to live your life. According to reviews she had a ghost writer, which appears very evident based on the style of the writing. There  are many cliches in the book.  The advice is not new but that doesn't mean it isn't relevant for a young person...possibly high school graduate? I would have really appreciated this story at the ages of 19 or 20 years.

"And shitty jobs made the good ones more meaningful. Most people don't land their dream job right out of the gate, which means we all have to start somewhere. You'll appreciate your amazing career so much more when you look back at your not so amazing jobs in the past, and hopefully realize that you learned something from all of them." ~ Sophia Amoruso




Yap.. the above quote is age old wisdom. I wouldn't call them 's****' jobs though. We all have to start somewhere and these are really valuable experiences and basic skills that are acquired at that level. I learnt a lot from working as a sales assistant, those skills have stayed with me to date. Which is why I feel this book would be great for freshers too (those just starting out in University). All experience is a great lesson. It's up to us to demonstrate what we have learnt.

"If  it sold we learned. if it didn't sell we learned. and we kept on learning."
                                                              ~ Sophia Amoruso


And yes you do have to keep on learning, if you aren't I question whether you are living. Post Nasty Gal, Sophia Amoruso has started again, she is setting up a  new Girl Boss website and a new TV series based on her life.


Vanity Fair Story 

 The way she has dealt with  the backlash and her exit from Nasty Gal is a testament to who she is. Someone who gets back up and keeps going. In my opinion, that's one of the best character traits in this life to have. None of us are perfect, she should get mega props for  building a brand from scratch. According LA Times Nasty Gal was bought by BooHoo.com, that still says something about her incredible ability to build a valuable brand.

"If you're frustrated because you're not getting what you want stop for a second; Have you actually flat out asked for it? If you haven't stop complaining. You can't expect the world to read your mind. You have to put it out there, and sometimes putting it out there is as simple as just saying 'Hey can I have that? " ~ Sophia Amoruso

Loved this bit of advice. I am learning how to effectively ask for what I  want. A skill that will do many well. People skills are a very valuable currency these days.

What I love most about the book are the other bonus little gems from her friends. People who created brands and products dispensing a little of their life experience and wisdom. Fabulous! Loved it. If you click on their names below,  it will lead you to where you can learn more about them. Was this just extra PR? Probably...still interesting and useful though.

"When I am not working, I'm still working. i'm always observing, I'm taking photos of patterns and colors I see on the streets, I'm jotting down ideas, I'm meeting people, connecting the dots, researching my craft, trying new products, giving my friends manicures, working on my website, updating my social media accounts, working on my own products, on collaborative projects, putting together inspiration boards or sketching new ideas. I'm working on craft and my business not because I feel obligated, but because I love it. I've always had to work hard because I had no other choice, but I always believed in myself."~  Madeline Poole

"I learned early on the motto 'know thyself' I think if you have a unique point of view and stay relevant and authentic, you will make an impression. You have to be excited and passionate about your ideas to make them work. Chances are it will take twenty of those good ideas before one sticks and has a chance to become real, but a good idea is only good if there is a well thought-out plan to make reality." ~ Norma Kamali


So would I recommend this book? Yes to high school graduates and first year university students. We need to read other types of stories. Not to copy but to learn from. For someone my age there is a lot missing, for example I would have loved to hear the real nitty-gritty of running a business and it would be great if she did another edition with how the company ended up getting sold. Painful to write, but a useful learning experience for many. Yes none of the messages in this book are new but it's still a good product of a book. Below are other reviews to help you decide. Just my thoughts.

More Book Reviews of the Same Book...




Two hundred odd pages later, I had learned two things. The first is that Amoruso (pictured) seems nice: fun, self-deprecating and self-aware. The second is that this book is as shallow as a teaspoon: God help today's school-leavers if they need advice like "treat your LinkedIn profile like an online resume" and "spellcheck exists for a reason". Oh, and this: "Don't have sex with everyone in the world you work in. It's a small world." ~ Helen Lewis, The Guardian Book Review


Tuesday, 4 July 2017

I Am All For Mary J Blige Right Now...You Should Be Too!



Mary J Blige has just released a new album called Strength of a Woman. I am loving her new song called 'Love Yourself' , particularly the remix with A$AP Rocky. This song speaks to my younger self.  She goes for a retro 60's or 70's style in the video (not sure about the exact time period because I am not a fashion history expert..). Everything looks so wealthy and luxurious, there is this infectious piano playing, then trumpet blowing and finally a cool beat ๐Ÿ˜Ž, that hooks me from the beginning, I can't help but bob my head in agreement to the lyrics throughout the whole song.  It sounds like a real Mary J Blige comeback song.  Just like No More Drama she  is speaking to the parts of us that are healing and learning from painful situations.




This song should be in a James Bond movie. Come to think of it....why hasn't she been offered the Bond theme song yet?

 If you haven't already heard through the hip-hop and R&B grapevine.  She's going through a divorce. Allegedly her husband cheated on her, and used her money to go on 'work trips' with his mistress.  Wendy Williams reported that throughout the divorce process her husband has been demanding $30,000 a month in alimony from Ms. Blige because he is now used to living a certain life style . He has no children with her, in fact he brought children from his previous relationship into the marriage,  and he is demanding money to support all his children and himself. Allegedly most of his children except for one are above 18 years. Which leads me to the assumption that he was basically living off of Mary J Blige and was not making any of his own money? ๐Ÿ˜ฒ๐Ÿ˜ฒ๐Ÿ˜ฒ

The Guardian 



People Magazine 

I admire Ms Blige because she has been very vulnerable and open about her thoughts and experiences during her divorce, to me she comes across quite sincere in her interviews. In fact I think it's really brave of her to do so. She literally admits to giving this man full control of  her career and finances when they got married in order to demonstrate to him how much she believed in him.( I am shocked that she handed over all her hard work just like that... ๐Ÿ˜ฎ๐Ÿ˜ฎ๐Ÿ˜ฎ)You  can watch her interview on Breakfast Club here. I watched the whole thing from start to finish and I admired  her more for coming across really honest and straight forward, rather than side stepping the issues. This might be the main reason that entices people to buy the album.  Which brings me back to the lyrics of this wonderful song called  'Love Yourself' song....

Truth can be the sweetest pain
It can mess up everything
It's the only way you know
I'm payin' for it, I'm changin' for it

This is the great dichotomy of life. As I have  written many times the worst moments can sometimes teach the best lessons and so sometimes you can't help but look back and appreciate them.  Ms. Blige refers to learning from those moments and says it's really the 'only way you know'. It's very deep, but that's what we love about her music, her ability to really speak to our pain and growth in life. Her ability to be vulnerable in the moment  has turned out to be her biggest career strength, which makes the title of the album very appropriate. 


Go Mary!



I know myself too much to ever fold
Dark clouds, I'm movin' past you

Sometimes when we find ourselves in tough situations, we have to figuratively pick ourselves up and keep walking.  Eventually we get through the dark moments and find some sunshine on the other side but not before the soul-defining work of getting through our problem. That' s what the above lyrics mean to me. It is what we call our  'inner strength' which once  again alludes to the theme of the album.


Oh, you gotta love yourself
If you really wanna be with someone else
You gotta feed yourself
Before you feed somebody else
You gotta stay open, and don't be foolish

The above lyrics come from the chorus of the song, a repeated message on the importance of self care. We have heard this all before; the cliche new age message, if we don't know how to love ourselves, then  how can we know how to really love another? Need I say more? You can watch the video below. Hope you enjoy the message as much as I did. 





All photo Credits: Mary J Blige Website 

I Am Now Glad You Walked Out My Life and Kept Walking ~ Bad Poetry



Dear Sir

Apologies, I know it's so so cliche, but I have to say thank you
You showed me the worst of yourself so that I could find the best parts of me ๐Ÿ’—
God used you in such an unfair way but such is life.
Who knew this women would emerge from the ashes
Dust off the dirt and keep going
I swear sometimes it hurt so much it felt useless to try
To walk
To breath
To think
To be myself
Because that meant moving further and further away from what I thought I knew
Growth is painful


And because I didn't yet know who I was.
And because I thought this would be my last chance at love
I cried and begged God
But you just kept on walking
As though nothing had happen between us
I could not believe that a human being could be so heartless
But there by the grace of God you go...
Remember
You chased me
You made promises to me
Not me.
It was never me.
My Naivety 

I learnt that men like you like to portray strength, power and influence
But you are really actually quite weak
Quite Human
That it is really all just talk and not much else
That you are a cowardly little boy hiding in a 'grown man's' costume
A coward who learnt the magical illusion of projecting
 You project your biggest flaws onto others to make yourself feel better
You  dump your insecurities on people to feel better
You pass on that dark cloud inside yourself that you are frightened to address


It's a pity really
Also quite ironic
That because of your ruthlessness I am now here
I am really happy to be here
I really didn't know that this was hidden inside me
I really didn't know that I could become this
Or that there are second chances
Much more healthier second chances
Thank you for trying to break me.
You taught me some humans are extremely dangerous.
Once we've been burnt, we certainly won't play with fire.
So keep your distance
You are a walking time bomb
Eventually God will catch up with you
I really hope you'll be capable of learning
Growth is painful
"It's the monsters inside of us that are scary" 

All the Best from,
No Longer Broken Hearted


Thursday, 29 June 2017

10 Times My Period Does/Did the Most !



Here is a list of times my menstrual cycle does or has done the most:
  1. SURPRISE!- It can happen. Yes it can happen. You can be sooooo in sync with your cycle that you even have it down to the exact day and time you will start and then your body goes MUHAHAHAHAHAHAHA....surprise! Your period appears a day early or a day late. Sometimes even  a leap year can throw you off. It's like your cycle holds a team meeting with everyone down there and says. "What have we got planned for this extra day in the year? I need ideas people! we can't just let it pass..." The surprise can also include  a sudden spasm of pain and a mad dash to the toilet at 3am. Even being stuck in a meeting with no accessible exit points does not deter mother nature. It is always that time when your chair is sandwiched between other chairs with VERY important people sitting on them..that's when you get that sinking feeling deep in that special place just below your belly that you've started your monthly period. You can not leave the meeting because that would be rude and awkward. You can only hope and pray that when you get up from this all important meeting there isn't a big red patch on your dress or skirt.  I have been there. Yes many times I have been there. Thank you my dear period for reminding me that the body has it's own schedule and agenda. ๐Ÿ™Œ๐Ÿ™Œ๐Ÿ™Œ
  2. INCREASING YOUR PAIN THRESHOLD - The pain can sometimes show up at the most inappropriate and inconvenient of  times. It can either strike in a WHOLLOPING blow or it can build subtly until one is unable to move. For me the worst is in the middle of a busy work day, and usually a work day when I have to spend majority of my hours at my desk. I will probably have taken multiple pain killers at the recommended hours, and  then I will be forced to wonder if there are any over the counter body numbing tablets, that would help me get my work done pain free. But no that would most definitely require a doctor's visit and doctors don't like it when women whine about their period, because...well it's part of life and you really only have the right to complain if it severely disrupts your daily activities. I got a really bad case of malaria a couple weeks ago that required a stay in the hospital, the Doctor said, " For the kind of malaria you had, you have an incredibly high pain threshold." I said outloud in my head, " If you were a women, you'd understand that, that comes from struggling through painful periods." ๐Ÿ˜ท๐Ÿ˜ท๐Ÿ˜ท
  3. PEOPLE WHO SELL FAKE PADS SHOULD BE PUNISHED - Yes six years ago I discovered fake pads while I was in Kotido, Karamoja in Uganda. Do you even know where that is? Google. Please Google. I need you to understand this one. This was six years ago, when there was only like 3 places of accommodation that NGO workers could safely and  comfortably stay in, and all the shops were made of mud walls and mabati sheets. Somehow I just didn't think to pack emergency pads on this particular field trip. So I ended up treking through the one street of shops in Kotido to find a store that had a pack of Always pads. Low and behold two hours later I discovered that what I had purchased was fake, because within 30 minutes I had leaked through. I was in the middle of a field visit to a school when I realized; it prompted a mad rush to the teachers' latrines and a puzzled side look from the headmaster. 
  4. UNEXPLAINABLE INHUMAN MOOD SWINGS- There will be some periods that come quietly and ( dare I say) delightfully, because you won't even notice or feel that they are there. You can go about your  daily business and the only thing you have to worry about is your personal hygiene. Then there will be THOSE PERIODS, the ones that start way way way before you start bleeding. You can be in your  favorite restaurant having your most favorite meal and suddenly the world will seem like a terribly dark place with no hope. When THOSE PERIODS happen your mood will never match your experience. Someone could gift you $100,000 and you'd be sure to  ask them, "Why are you so cheap?" Nothing is good enough, even your favorite dress and pair of shoes seem drab. People will start to avoid you. This will continue until your hormones move into the next phase of your cycle. We have all been there. many times. ๐Ÿ˜ญ๐Ÿ˜ฑ๐Ÿ˜ฆ๐Ÿ˜ง
  5. LEAKS- I was in my last years of primary school when I started my period. I was a girl who would require many more years before she understood the magnitude of becoming a woman. I sat for the end of year exams and it just so happened I was on my period that week. This is in the days before Always had pads with wings. If you are woman than you understand that before pads had wings there was an art to sitting down which you learn over time. If you placed the pad on your underwear badly and them spend that day sitting badly well then a leak is bound to happen. That is exactly what happened to me, I was still in my girlish ways, I sat for a two hour exam and when I was done I simple left the main hall and went for tea break with my friends. I didn't check my skirt... all ladies know that after long periods of sitting, you are supposed to cautiously get up and check your skirt. You are supposed to be so good at checking your skirt/ dress/ jeans/trousers that no body should even notice you doing this. It's a skill, a real skill, that at that time I had not yet mastered. Five minutes into the tea break , I turn to see the MEAN GIRL pointing at me, then I realize she is actually pointing at my skirt and low and behold when I look down there are two very distinct drops of blood. Bright Red! She was laughing and grabbing anybody next to her and pointing at my skirt. I was mortified. There were tears, I remember running to the bathroom to change into my sports kit. But I never forgot the horror and embarrassment . 
  6. SAD LOVE SONGS AND CHICK FLICKS- Do I need to explain this one ladies? No I don't think so.  Simply observe the music, movies, TV series and books we tend to watch around that time of the month. Unrequited love is a common theme. ๐Ÿ’”๐Ÿ’”๐Ÿ’”๐Ÿ’”
  7. THAT 7 DAY ZIT- Before I discovered shea butter I used to get break outs. It would  always start with one zit that took up space on my face for a whole week. It's goal would be to remind me and other women that it's that time of the month. The zit most likely just appeared out of nowhere! Yes... one can have wonderful skin week and then BAAAAAM! Zit and dehydrated-tired-looking-skin appear.  
  8. ONLY MANDATORY MOVEMENT- this is self explanatory, during that special- woman-time you just don't want go anywhere unless it is mandatory, like for example your job, the hospital, the bank or church. That's about it. Other than that you want to be at home cuddled up in bed with a cozy blanket and pillow watching your favorite series or reading a good book, with your trusted Panadol nearby. Good bye social life! Hello isolation and anti-social behavior. ๐Ÿ˜ด๐Ÿ˜ด๐Ÿ˜ด
  9. ENERGY LEVELS- Does anyone feel extra tired around this time? I do. Comment in the comment section.with how you keep your energy up. I am looking for natural solutions. Do you change your diet? Do you change your sleeping patterns? Do you take extra vitamins? Comment Comment Comment. 
  10. FOOD, GLORIOUS FATTY JUNKY FOOD- I want to eat everything and anything that is not good for me. Pizza, burgers, fried chicken, chips, crisps, milkshakes etc.... Goodbye healthy eating  ๐Ÿฉ๐ŸŸ๐Ÿณ๐Ÿ•๐Ÿ—๐Ÿฌ
Is there anything I have missed? Do comment below with anything I may have...




Friday, 9 June 2017

Dear Queen: He is NOT Cinderella, You are NOT the Prince!?




Dear Queen,

So last year you  wrote an end of year letter to God (remember this one?)  You thanked him for 2016 and made a few requests for  2017. One of those asks was dating. But now after your recent experience you realized you were not specific about what you wanted. If you can be specific in prayers then please do so! Because  look what you dragged into your life…. A Cinderella Man unaware of how much he was consistently crying for help. We shall call him a Cinderella man because through some self made bad choices, chaos has enshrewed upon his household and he REALLY needs a fairy Godmother. Only he doesn't know he needs one, so he is looking for a wife instead.

It started with phone calls, late night whatsapp chats. You were traveling up country for work so you really didn’t have time to go on dates in the beginning. He had to learn to make do with phone calls. At first he sounded mature and hopeful discussing his ideals, his dreams and how happy he was to speak to you. He sounded proud of the fact he was the oldest and therefore the one taking care of his family, he wanted you to know he was a MAN, not only that but a good Ugandan MAN who takes care of his people. He bought you flowers on your birthday and apologized for not being able to do more.  You responded positively, but I am glad you have learned to not only listen, but to also look for actions. Actions speak louder that words, well done for taking notes on that years ago.

Weeks later somehow he subtly changed his 'I am proud to take care of family'  into an unfair burden that he needed a wife to help him handle. He then whatsapped you one night in utter panic, the local council wanted to knock down part of his property. He didn't know whether he'd have a house by the end of the week. He pleaded for your advice, "What should I do?" and sent detailed pictures of white painted Xs making parts of his property that had to go.  You didn't have clue girl! I mean... your most valuable possessions at the moment are your phone and some jewellery. You have yet to change the car into your names.

A week after that incident, He tells you he has blood pressure problems. It is 9pm at night, so you calmly tell him the best thing do would be to go to the doctor. Then the story changes..the doctor is too far...it will cost money to go....he knows how to handle himself. You calmly explain once again to him that blood pressure problems are NOT issues to joke with and seeing a doctor or even going to the hospital is important. You ask him to describe his symptoms, when he does you realize he's describing a panic attack. You hear the urgency in his voice , he wants you to solve the problem. He wants you to jump into your car drive one hour and 30 minutes to his home pick him up and take him to hospital.
 
A week after the panic attack phone call,  he tells you the laborers on his farm have stopped working because he can’t afford to pay them. He is worried the rainy season is ending and he won't be able to profit from it. This becomes a constant issue that comes up  in all the conversation  I mean it's  only been a month and week yet to you,  he seems be trying to load his life baggage into your suitcase.  

He likes to check on you every day. A whatsapp message. Life is a bit hectic, you are juggling a lot of things but you always reply with "I am good, and you?" On the other hand he always replies around lunch time with the words "I AM HUNGRY". That's all. You could be wrong but is he expecting you to buy lunch for him everyday?  One time he even casually jokes, "I told you I was hungry i expected you to send me some lunch." And you joke back and say, "You have not got into my close circles, I am still getting to know you..."

The subject of laborers on his farm keeps coming up. You have reached the two month mark. He claims he's not been paid for months. He tells you his father needs money to pay the teachers' salaries at their school, they didn't make enough money and the teachers went to leave. A week after, he texts you saying he is exhausted, he had to buy the seeds and plant them himself because his workers were tired of his promises. Then he says he would have asked you for the money but he didn't want to inconvenience you.

"Money for what?"  you whatsapp back. Then mentally count how long you have been dating and whether money lending is an option for him. 
"For the seeds and the laborers," he texts .
" So you want us to be business partners?" you reply, because by now you have calculated that you have only been talking to him for  2 months and 1 week so this must be a business venture, not couple one
" I have always  wanted someone I can plan and grow with. I wanted us to partner on this venture. I would enjoy us working together if you want. I wouldn't hesitate investing in your ideas too" He texts back

And you are left speechless because what exactly does that mean? You have heard countless stories  of women investing into their boyfriend's business ventures only to be kicked to the curb when he moves on. Plus Mr Man seems be unable to clarify if it is a loan, business venture or  a couple's investment. So you play dumb and side step this conversation

Five days pass, You’ve been busy with work, but now your parent is sick. So as a daughter you put family first, with your siblings you get too fixing things..hospital visits, prescriptions, house shopping. Mr Man is feeling neglected. He even makes  sarcastic comments about how you drop everything when you parent calls. One night around 11.00pm you are exhausted lying in bed but you decided to pick up the phone. He says,

“Your family has you now, but when I come and take you away you’ll be mine. They shall feel bad, but its part of life . You have to get married” 

In that moment you realize you know him well enough to come to a good conclusion, this won't work. He misses the cue, he doesn't hear your sharp intake of breathe or the surprise in  your voice when you reply

God opens your heart to some wisdom as you kneel down to pray that night. After all this man is his child too.What he really means to say is “ I am lost.”

“ I have been lost since my last girlfriend left me, We built our lives around each other when she left, she left with our life. I have been lost since my mother died when I was just a boy. My father never really bothered to raise me, he was too young to be a man. That is why we are friends rather than father and son. I have been wondering around through this life trying be an adult but very very few people in my life have shown me how.  I am lost. I need an easy replacement for first girlfriend. She used to guide me, till she got fed up of me and left. I need a wife quickly. You are women. I know women have an innate ability to fix things. I can see that you are doing that for your family.... so Fix my s@#! Fix my s@#! clean it up , help me make to sense of my self . Put me first like my last girlfriend did ! Heal me! Make me feel strong. Make me feel useful.”
Anyway it slowly dawns on you that this man is looking for a savior. That is why he brought all his S@#! to you. If he had found you years ago you would have picked that mop, bucket, vacuum cleaner, disinfectant, apron etc.... and you would have helped clean up. You are good at that type of  cleaning, listening and supporting so you would have done it because you would have thought that is how he would fall in love with you. Everybody wants a companion, and partner, a spouse; there is nothing wrong with that. It's just irresponsible to bring your mess to the table, and expect someone you've only known for a couple of weeks to clean it up. How will you ever learn? You can ask for help. You can ask for advice but it's your  mess to clean. If you are a married couple then that is a totally different blog post, because then the rules have completely changed.

Well done Queen you took a step back thought it through. You got some good stern advice from family and friends. So thankful you decided NOT to run head down  into his mess. God  didn’t bring you this far for you to walk back. Mr Man is not a bad person. You are just not in place where you can take this on and come out sane.
.
But one last question, and this one is for Disney, in fairy tales who saves the man?

Stay blessed  girl! Until next time