Halfway Progress Check

We’re half way through 2018 already! #timeflieswhenyourehavingfun

Here are 7 things I’ve learned so far;

  1. Set Goals.. I know this is cliché but for me, it’s been a slow realization. I used to let the chips fall where they may, go with the flow. Nope, that doesn’t work. Make a list, check off accomplishments one by one. It’s not only a great motivation, but also very satisfying.

  2. Be intentional.. Be it professionally, personally, with friends or family, be intentional about what you do. Make an effort where neccessary and let go of things or people who do not fit into your life. There’s peace waiting on the other side.

  3. Save money.. Well, I’m just really bad at this but I’m learning. Wealth is built they say.

  4. It’s not that serious.. I look a few years back and I laugh hysterically at the “worries” that kept me up at night. It really isn’t that serious and even if it is, “this too shall pass”. So live with hope for tomorrow’s sunrise.

  5. Do things that bring you joy.. This one’s easy to say but hard to do, yet absolutely critical to a healthy state of mind. Find time to invest in your own happiness. You’ll be glad you did.

  6. Be patient.. I’m prone (as I’m sure many of us are) to comparing our growth and success with others. This is destructive because it oftentimes is demoralizing. Appreciate your process and know that you shine just as brightly, in your own right.

  7. You’re not in control.. As much as we want to plan and orchestrate and perfect our lives, we don’t own our lives. God does. So follow His lead, and let Him work for your good.

Don’t Cheat Yourself!

Most of us spend an awful lot of time, pondering what fulfillment in life means. Usually, it is a bland routine we have come to endearingly hate. Our lives are spent wishing we could be living life to our fullest potential, yet we stay in draining jobs, living miserably, constantly in anticipation for the next vacation.

Still, we fiercely protect this routine. If asked to answer the call in our hearts, next month’s rent immediately becomes our primary focus. Better to give our skills for the advancement of someone else’s vision, than give any attention to our own desires and goals.

My intention is not to undermine the value of stability. Yes, shelter and food are important for survival. The question becomes; do these needs render us petrified to listen to our own callings?

It is true that not every path is the same. Perfectly content employees do exist. They create fulfilling lives for themselves in service to others. It is equally clear that success is not measured by the size of one’s staff, wealth or ego. Success is measured by the joy our lives bring for us and others.

Therefore, evaluate yourselves by asking the right questions and examining your life honestly. Are you living your purpose? If the answer is yes, then bravo! If the answer is no, you are faced with a few choices.

Steve Harvey says at a given point in one’s life, we face a cliff. That cliff signifies our talents and desires. Jump off that cliff into the unknown, or stand at the edge and forever wonder what could be. The leap guarantees one of two possibilities; fly or fall. But first we must jump.

So, overcome fear, and Step off that ledge! Follow your heart’s call. We are vessels created for the Glory of God, thus we cheat ourselves by living mediocre lives.

There will never be too much joy in the world, and everyone deserves it.

 

Appropriation or Appreciation?

I’m a black immigrant African woman living the United States. Thus, I fall in the minority group, which also means I claim a culture that is unique and celebrated across the globe. When people of different cultural backgrounds adopt styles (usually outward expressions through fashion) original to my culture, it usually sparks discussions on the difference between cultural appropriation and appreciation. While appreciation suggests a genuine respect for the borrowed traits of the minority culture, accusations of appropriation surface when members of said minority perceive that such traits are unjustly presented as a staple of the dominant culture, or in disrespectful disregard of its origins.

There have been countless instances of white celebrities sporting hairstyles or fashion choices generally known to be staples of African culture. A recent example is Kim Kardashian’s “Bo Derek” braids situation. Other examples include Kylie Jenner’s lip augmentation frenzy, amid countless other instances. And it’s not just with African culture. The Asian prom dress on a white girl also springs to mind.

Those who argue appropriation are usually of the minority group, and argue that adopting these cultural traits constitutes a blatant disregard and/or disrespect for their origins. Others say there is usually no credit given to the pioneers of such styles, or like in the case of “Bo Derek” braids, credit is given where it isn’t due.

People copy what celebrities do. As such, when celebrities make such fashion choices knowingly or unknowingly presenting them as original creations, trend followers copy theses choices. As a result  pop culture associates these trends with the celebrities who made them popular, instead of their cultures of origin, thus shifting the focus once again, a way from the minority group. Case in point; it is widely presumed that the Kardashians “started” the big  booty and big lips trend. However, both those physical traits are staple features of African women’s natural physiques, traits which were ridiculed in the past.

While many are staunch critics of cultural appropriation, there are others who see it the other way. Personally, I don’t imagine that when Katy Perry donned her Asian geisha attire at the 2013 American Music Awards, she was thinking “I hope I piss off all the Asians”. I also don’t think Beyoncé hoped to alienate her Indian fanbase with her Coldplay collaboration.  In an article for Odyssey, Kiana Cozier states; “while there needs to be an intimate and exclusive space within cultures, there must also be a warm and welcoming space for others to learn about other cultures.”

The point is this; know the obvious cultural no-nos; ie blackface, or “acting like” a culture, Cozier says. But also know when such representations are harmless. This then begs the question, has popular society become too sensitive? In my book, we have with regards to this particular issue. As long as credit is given where it’s due and people aren’t ignorant about the fashion choices they make, I see no issue with it. Frankly, I’m proud, because in the case of African adaptations, I’d like to see the world adopt African culture in a genuine way.

There’s no clear demarcation. Where do you draw the line? For this reason,  each individual is entitled to their reactions of acclamation or dismay when such things happen. There’s no right or wrong answer.

MAMA

Mama
When God made you, He took extra time. He put a little bit more of everything that is good. Just a little more love, a little more grace, a little more patience, a little more kindness, a little more strength, a little more courage, a little more joy, a little more beauty.
I am blessed because you have a little more to give.

Mama
Your love is compared to none other. You are God’s blessing to this world, the vessel He chose to birth his creations. Mama, know that you were chosen by the Creator to be carrier of greatness for His glory alone. Your blessings know no bounds and generations are blessed to call you mama.
I am blessed because I’ve seen His greatness in you.

Mama
I have you today and I praise the God.
To your mama, and her mama, and her mama before her, to the mamas who have gone to be with He who calls all home to Him, I am honoured because through them, you came, and through you I am. And hopefully, someday I’ll be someone’s blessing.
I am blessed through you and those who came before you.

Mama
I pray I get to be half the mother you are, not just to the ones I birth, but to the world.
I pray that when you look at me, you feel just how grateful I am that God chose you for me.
I pray that it gives you peace to know that you answered the call to motherhood and gave your children your all.
I pray that your days may be filled with joy and laughter, surrounded – always, by the ones you call your own.

Mama
You are God’s gift to me, God’s gift to humanity.
I LOVE YOU.

We Should All Be Like Children

Have you been around a child? They are the freest creatures. They laugh aloud, cry aloud, think aloud, and are unafraid of their emotions. Their friends are spoons, the sofa, mommy’s high heels, daddy’s hat, or anything in their immediate vicinity that calls to them. They play with people/things everyone can see, as well as those no one can see. They spill things and wallow in the mess because it feels good. Children live in the present, they are creative, naive, innocent, and full of life and wonder. We should all be like children.

Why you ask? Consider this; adults worry all the time, mainly about things they cannot control. It’s almost pre-requisite to being a grown-up. They care about how others perceive them, which often influences their actions and reactions. They typically befriend people who hold the same values. They imprison their creativity and lock away their dreams because they live by the “responsible” taxpaying, bill-paying standards of societal acceptance. As a result, only 30 percent of the world reported a 6 or higher on a happiness scale from 0 to 10, according to the 2017 World Happiness Report.

That said, what must adults do? We should all be like children. Rich in wonder, doe-eyed at the world, and never afraid to feel. We should never stop inquiring, trying, imagining, trusting, and believing in the impossible. Imagine if we combine our advanced intellectual comprehension .

This is not a magic solution to world unhappiness, seeing as circumstances are usually more complex than flipping a switch. It is insensitive to trivialize grave world issues that cause pain and sadness in people’s lives. What this write-up hopes to establish is that if people saw life with a child’s eyes, living under less than ideal situations – often beyond our limitations – could become less burdensome. Lisa Rosas writes; “If we can learn to let go and not want to control all aspects in life, we can then feel freer.”

So, watch children’s cartoons, and read children’s books. Share, trust, forgive, and love wholly. Most importantly live in the moment. Growing old is inevitable, but growing up is a choice.

 

Choose Your Road

Ordinarily, waking up ready to conquer the world, being alive, ambitious, bold, and beautiful is effortless.

Still, there are days when blankets are havens, and the ground would feel like thorns beneath weary feet. It is for such days that Jim Rohn spoke the following words;

let-others-jim-rohn

Truth.

The difference between success stories and everything else is this; the great ones never adopt mediocrity. Routinely, the extra mile is how far they go.

So, on such days when life is less than remarkable, remember Jim Rohn’s words alongside these;

quote-the-greatness-of-man-lies-in-his-decision-to-be-stronger-than-his-condition-albert-camus-123-20-24

Greatness Unmasked

A faint glimmer of greatness. So faint it almost isn’t there. In fact, most days the rough around it masks it’s magnificence.

This particular day, I – frustrated, toss my hoe to the side, arch my back for relief, and curse every drop of sweat on my furrowed brow. “What do I plough so hard for? Is this hustle worth it?”

You can only find what you seek if you never stop seeking. You can only get where you’re going if you never stop moving.

I remember the one for whose glory I was created to live. I choose greatness, even if all I see is a faint glimmer.

This particular day, I – encouraged, pick up my hoe, smile with purpose and wipe with pride, the sweat on my furrowed brow. “I plough because I must fully unmask my magnificence. It must shine for the glory of He who made me.”