I Big-Chopped!

Hiya! Happy Good Friday :).

It was a regular thursday morning. I had planned to simply take my marley twists out, detangle, wash, deep-condition and re-twist. Only, what did I end up doing? Cutting half of my hair off!

It felt a little weird at first, because initially I was planning to wait until June. However, as is often the case among us transitioners from relaxed to natural, we get extremely tired of dealing with kinky roots and straight ends. I thought I could wait it out….but I ended up taking the leap. Spontaneously.

Photo on 18-04-2014 at 12.41 #8

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’ll admit, the process was a bit of an anti-climax (is this it?), plus, I was surprised to find that I wasn’t as attached t my relaxed ends as I had anticipated. Maybe it’s because I must have watched around 100 youtube videos on transitioning to natural hair. Seriously. All I have to do is type the letters ‘b’, ‘t’ or ‘n’ and youtube caters to my every doubt, question and curiosity on how to care for natural hair. What a great tool.

Anywho, after the chopping, I proceeded to condition my hair and twist, and this morning took them out to reveal….my first twist out. I feel as if I’ve finally joined the club.

Photo on 18-04-2014 at 12.41 #7

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Take It Easy.

Wassup? I hope you have had a good week, full of lovely moments and stuff you’d hoped for…..
On the topic of desire and wishes, I just thought I’d pop by to express my gratitude for the goings on of my week. Not that it has been particularly outstanding, but it has been somewhat filled with great and small opportunities and enlightenment.

Over the past few days I have traveled to and from London a couple of times, which has given me the luxury of contemplating a taking an hour-long ‘mental wander’ each time without feeling guilty. During said wanders, I have been able to reflect on rather existential things I suppose, like the standard ‘why am I here’ and ‘where will I be in X years’ so on and so forth. Additionally, I’ve also been thinking about pressure: pressure to compete, pressure to fill up every second of my day with something ‘worthwhile’, pressure to stick to a routine…..the list goes on. In doing all of this, it has only resulted in anxiety (what a surprise!). So I had to stop and think about the following:

How often have (I) you been made to feel you are not doing enough? Not necessarily from others, but from (my)yourself?

Do you actually realise the pressure you’re putting on yourself? Are you aware that it’s all in your head?

Once I had answered these questions, prayed, meditated and tried to combat these internal pressures, my head started (and is continuing) to clear. I am now coming to see that what I am currently doing/ working on/ learning is enough. I do not need to push myself beyond what i can physically and mentally – comfortably – accomplish. This is not to say that I shouldn’t challenge myself, but I simply mean that I should not unnecessarily over-extend myself.


So, back to being grateful for opportunities. Once I cleared my mind, I was actually able to witness all kinds of opportunity unfolding before me. What an exhilarating feeling, to know that where I am, what I am doing, is already enough.

Please, take it easy on yourself. Proceed with enjoyment, and compare yourself to only yourself.

On the eve of the start of adulthood: 20 thoughts, lessons and hopes for the past, present and future

I am ready to continue going and growing.

I am ready to explore.

I am looking forward to the future. It is no longer a distant imagining; it is becoming increasingly tangible.

I am thankful for where I am presently, and for past experiences.

I love my family and wider support network.

I have learned the importance of surrounding myself with quality company.

I am feeling optimistic.

Simultaneously, I am feeling vulnerable.

I am still trying to find out what God means to me, although I think I am getting there.

I am filled with love for myself and those around me.

I hope to travel more.

I hope I continue to love learning and acquiring knowledge, as much as I currently do.

I hope to meet more incredibly inspiring, true-to-self, loving people.

I am excited to continue exploring my creativity.

My wellbeing and that of those close to me comes first.

Opportunities abound, you and I must reach out for them.

Take that step in faith.

Do not take seemingly small and insignificant comforts and joys for granted.

Be assertive.

At every stage, seek joy and fulfillment.

P.S. Happy Independence Day to my fellow Ghanaians!

On the conflicting nature of work: part 2 + some advice

As you may or may not know – or care to know – I am currently an Anthropology student in my 2nd year. Of course, that inevitably means that much discussion and focus is now starting to turn to….CAREERS. Yes. The dreaded C word. As compared to some of my quantitatively-minded peers studying Economics, Finance, Accounting and the rest, many of us Anthropology students  aren’t typically inclined towards, or attracted to the prospect of working in a rigid corporate environment. I speak for some here, not all. I would say that the main reason being is that, thanks to Marx, we fear alienation. Seriously.

I’ve previously discussed my fear of losing a sense of self within my work/ future career path(s) as I’ve fairly recently come to realise just how much I value having a degree of creative freedom in my chosen job.

At this point, I think the most crucial element in job-hunting/ prospecting is to find what you’re driven by; that’s the first thing. However there is a second element to this: you must also be honest with yourself. I’ve gauged that the reason why some of my friends and I feel conflicted is because we tend to meld the abstract, ideological and faceless perception of a certain industry or job, with its practical actualities. We don’t separate the two identities, and therefore we tend to think that going for a certain job which, on the surface, seems to contradict our values, means ‘selling out’,without completely understanding what a job entails, when removed from its stereotype. I still feel this way.

I do think though, that some value lies with experimentation; trial and error. Of course, I’m not saying, nor do I believe, that you’re values should be compromised in favour o a particular job. I’m merely stating the importance of thinking outside the box, and trying new things. This is an indispensable piece of advice that my mentor has equipped me with, which will no doubt serve me well over the next few years.

For anyone currently in the same position, here’s what I’m thinking: I’ve decided to go with the mindset of ‘I can’t decide what to do’ as opposed to thinking ‘i don’t know what to do’ – the former implies choice, something which I tend to take for granted, whereas the latter alludes to a lack of awareness of the opportunities surrounding me. There are an incredible amount of options out there – not all will necessarily be open to me – but I’m curious by nature, and I intend to fully explore what is on offer.

Long story short, I attended an informative ‘Careers in Anthropology’ session on Tuesday, and I’d like to share some advice that I picked up from the panelists in case anyone out there needed it:

– If you’re still at university/ school/ college or any educational institution: take advantage of the free courses on offer! If you have interests in a particular subject you’re not studying, audit some of the lectures for a module you have an interest in. Also, check out the IT department for free courses and training in software (note to self).

– Visit your/a careers office! In most cases, they will give you better advice than you anticipate.

– Get some work experience, even if it’s in a cafe. Here’s a shameless plug: I work in retail at the weekends. It’s not all fun and games, but it helps you meet new people (obviously) and hey, most skills are transferable these days. Something that one of the panelists mentioned yesterday evening was that, it is important to pursue and concentrate on your academic ability however, so not neglect to build on your social skills as well.

– Build on your language skills: Again, if you’re at university, you can take a module in most commonly spoken languages. If not, there are numerous online courses and relatively inexpensive evening classes that will do the trick. If you’re based in London, see Birkbeck and CityLit.

– If you’re wanting to do a PhD, consider taking a break after your undergrad/ masters. (another note to self).

– If you don’t see an opportunity, dig anyway. Email, phone, do the social media stuff if that’s what you’re into, and ask people if you can talk to them! Arrange a coffee, or a meeting, and discuss your ideas. A conversation is all that’s needed to get the ball rolling.

I hope that helps! All thanks and praises should be directed to the wise, knowledgeable and anthropologically-minded panelists. It was an inspiring event with a lot of knowledge to soak up.

Show yourself some love!

The notion of loving oneself may sound bizarre and ego-centric, but I assure you it’s not! In fact, I believe it is a necessary undertaking for anyone who wishes to understand themselves – and others – better. Fully learning to accept yourself (for it does take time) is a antidote to low self-esteem, intolerance towards others and negative relationships. Plus, it provides a great deal of fulfilment and enjoyment.

So, without further ado, here are some of the ways through which I show myself some love. Enjoy….

JOURNALING
Despite always enjoying the medium of writing, I only really discovered its therapeutic nature about 2 years ago, when I embarked on my ‘documentation’ journey. Long story short, I decided that it would be a good idea to tend to my diary at least 3 times a week, in order for me to clear my thoughts and also immortalize both the mundane and stand-out daily life experiences. What I’ve come to realise is how comparatively easy it is for me to express myself through writing, than through any other medium. I’m not sure whether this is to do with the fact that no-one else (for the moment) will or has (to my knowledge!) read my diary, allowing me to write in a completely unfiltered, honest and open manner, but it works! I am able to fully evaluate my feelings, work out where they have stemmed from, and try to, effectively, write my way to a solution. It has also helped me to chart my growth over the past month, which has been so invaluable to me. I can’t wait to see what future notebooks will hold.

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Side note: There’s something about a sexy, narrow-ruled leather-bound notebook that makes me spend unjustifiable amounts of money, obliging me to fill them and get my money’s worth. But honestly, a good looking notebook just does things to me.

FINDING A ‘COMFORT’ SPACE
This is something I became conscious of very recently. The importance of finding a space or place in which I feel comfortable or ‘at home’ is something I cannot stress enough. For me, that place is home, as in HOME home, not the one I stay in while I am at uni. Just to be surrounded by my family and nestled in a familiar environment is something that I look forward to. It gives me an opportunity to balance out a hectic week, and take some time out to relax and think! And also breathe. That’s important, too :).

STARING AT MYSELF
Okay, so this might be considered slightly cliché, nevertheless, I actually enjoy looking at myself in the mirror. Admittedly, I don’t always love what I see, but then there are also those days when I appreciate my reflection. Try it and see, place yourself in front of a mirror and stare at any part of your body: I like to start with the face and then whole, nekked-ass, body. What this does, is it allows you to confront yourself, and view yourself from YOUR perspective (for this excercise to be more effective, I recommend doing this in private – it is also less awkward….). One of the many reasons why we come to feel discontented with ourselves is that we internalise and validate other people’s opinions about us over our own, to the extent that we often start to believe them, and to negative and dangerous consequences. A way to tackle this is to learn yourself: mentally, emotionally, spiritually and PHYSICALLY. Of course, this is a process, but you’ve got to start somewhere, sometime. Personally, over time, I have come to accept appreciate my whole self even if, inevitably, I do have moments in which I can feel inadequate.

….and that constitutes part one! Part two coming up :).

on turning 20.

age.
age is….
ageism

In just over a month I’ll be set to celebrate another turning page, my 20th one, and I must say that this 19th year of my life has been an incredibly productive and growth-filled year. At many points throughout it, I have reflected on, recorded and recalled my experiences of the past year with a sense of accomplishment and overall contentedness with the point at which i am. However, one thing that has surprised me each time is the fact that I forget that….I am still only 19. I cannot possibly imagine the person I will be in 5 years and beyond, and this thought excites me. I feel as though this is a very liminal point in my life so far; without wanting to sound like Britney, I don’t necessarily view myself as an adult woman, but I am also not really a ‘girl’ anymore. And I like that. I honestly really enjoy watching myself from the outside and observing the person I am growing into.

On the greater topic of age,  it seems that as many of us grow older, the word employs greater meaning. The concept of age goes from just that: the word ‘age’, in which we seem unconcerned with it, as if we will live forever. This then transforms into (potentially) endless justifications for it: ‘oh, but age is nothing but a number…’, which subsequently morphs into the fight against ageism and a society which rejects this natural and universal inevitability of life. But this needn’t be viewed as a pessimistic outlook towards growing up, it is simply an observation that a lot of us make and experience. I, for one, am a strong believer in the beauty and grace of growing up and growing old: it is one of the few, or many, things that the majority of us can look forward to. One thing I am particularly excited about is the opportunity to read my journals and notes from days gone, and recall the memories of the awesome life I have lived. But back to the present – this is where I am. I will not wish these days away, I very much intend to live them fully :).

On connections with people | Love, Soulfulness and ‘finding home’

For a while now, I have been fantasising about what it would feel like to find ‘home’ in someone else. Not a tangible one, but in the same way that a physical pile of brick and mortar can provide a shelter and haven from the world outside, a home for the soul, as it were. In many ways, I feel as though I have found home in myself – over the past few years I have learned an incredible amount about the kind of person i am: what I love, what I don’t want in life, who and what is important to me, and how I define god and more, all based on the events within my life. Despite this, I find it weird to think about how this level of comfort and honesty that i have with myself will translate when I come to share this with another person (whether in a romantic relationship or not). To an extent, the idea of finding a home in someone else seems foreign to me. At the same time however, I strongly believe in the importance of collaboration and partnerships between individuals, and the creation that can come out of these deep, ‘beyond the surface’ type of relationships.

Of course, I can’t ignore the significance of family and friends in my life – as i’ve grown, I have appreciated them so much more and I try to show my love in any way I can. However in many ways what this leads to is the fact that I have recently been feeling a growing disability to strike deeper connections with people, not necessarily because of disinterest, but maybe because of distrust. The feeling of vulnerability that comes from fully opening up to someone and feeling free with them, while creating an environment for the other person in the relationship to freely express themselves is really attractive to me however, sadly, not everybody is interested in exploring their emotions, let alone fully and unashamedly expressing them. Simultaneously, I am unwilling to let my emotions be devalued or trivialised, and this is in large part why i don’t tell just anyone about personal issues. My personal information is not to be shared unless I say it is, nor is it something you can can use against me.

In saying all of this, I’ve met many wonderful people who value deeper, more soulful connections, and those are the people I am most comfortable with and around. Ultimately, while i value time with and by myself, I really come alive when I find people with whom I can talk about truly anything, and who also feel they can do the same. I guess my focus for the year will be to take my time and value the great relationships I have with people in my life currently, while also nurturing the relationship I have with myself.