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.

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.

 

America And Her Guns

On February 14, 2018, a man opened fire at a high school in Florida, killing 17 people and injuring many more.

America had already seen 30 mass shootings, 45 days into the new year.

The perpetrators of these horrific incidents stole the futures of innocent unsuspecting humans.

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President Donald Trump ordered that the national flag be flown at half mast in mourning.

Guns
America and her Guns.

The flag flown at half mast
The Dead don’t wake up
The world moves on
Gun laws don’t change
We wait for the next horror
It’s vicious cycle.

 

H&M Kids Sweater Campaign; What Went Wrong?

Social media has gone wild following a kids sweater campaign by H&M clothing brand, that launched in the United Kingdom. The problem; a black boy, pictured wearing a green sweater with the words; “Coolest Monkey In The Jungle” printed across the front.

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Critics are calling this a racist and insensitive quote, because of the connotations behind the word “monkey in the jungle” worn by a black model.

As a result of the backlash, H&M lost a celebrity partner; musician The WeekndOn January 7, 2018, the Canadian singer whose real name is Abel Tesfaye,  tweeted; “woke up this morning shocked and embarrassed by this photo. i’m deeply offended and will not be working with @hm anymore…”

 

H&M issued this statement to The Washington Post; “We understand that many people are upset about the image. We, who work at H&M, can only agree. We are deeply sorry that the picture was taken, and we also regret the actual print. Therefore, we have not only removed the image from our channels, but also the garment from our product offering globally.”

However, for many consumers, the apology isn’t enough. What were they thinking? Was this a publicity stunt or an innocent mistake? Did a focus group test this campaign before the images were launched? Was there even a focus group? If so, was it racially diverse? Did the model’s parents approve the shoot? There are so many puzzling questions about this campaign, and many are calling for a total boycott of the H&M brand. Let’s attempt to dissect the issue(s);

  1. The phrase “monkey in the jungle”; On a black model, this should have raised many red flags for everyone involved – photographers, the model’s parents or guardians, H&M’s PR team, the campaign supervisors, the list is endless. It’s 2018 and we live in very charged times. Someone should have known that this wouldn’t sit right with consumers. It’s common sense at the very least.
  2. Focus groups or campaign monitors; There must have been a team responsible for making sure that this campaign was suitable for public release. H&M is a large clothing company so it’s not unreasonable to expect that such resources were indeed available. Going on this expectation, one wonders who the team consisted of. Did the focus group consist of caucasians or was it a diverse group including people from different races? The fact that this hoodie was advertised as such brings me to a few possible explanations;
    1.  H&M genuinely did not see an issue with this image (I sincerely doubt this).
    2. There was no focus group to test this campaign (highly unlikely).
    3. There was a team which did not include any people of colour (likely).
    4. Someone saw the problem, but was too afraid to speak up (highly likely).
  3. Publicity stunt?; I cannot wrap my head around the idea that this was a mistake. Was it? Really? Or was there an ulterior motive? It doesn’t seem logical that in 2018, a large company like H&M would be this clueless about such obvious racial triggers. The boldness of it seems intentional, which leads me to think that H&M needed eyes on their company. Think about it; many upset people will flock to websites, where they will find several sales and discounts as H&M’s way of fixing the their mistake. Think of the millions of people who might not see the issue with this campaign or even relate to it, and will therefore flock to the store to benefit from whatever perks result from damage control.
  4. The impact; I don’t imagine that this is a comfortable time for the young black boy in this campaign, who is – in my opinion, not mature enough to deal with such grand public scrutiny. Granted, the backlash is mainly in his favor. What happens, however, when the public is not looking so closely? I hope his parents/guardians teach him a strong sense of identity and boldness to help him navigate the fashion industry, which can often times be harsh, especially at a such a young and impressionable age.
  5. The pattern; This too will pass, just like the Pepsi and Dove controversies. An apology here, a reparation sale there, and soon this will be history. There’s no real sanction besides angry consumers and possible bad ratings. I say this not to undermine the impact that disgruntled customers can have on a company of that magnitude. However, it would be naive not to consider the possibility that such publicity could work in H&M’s favor. Pepsi’s sales shot up only a few weeks after the Kylie Jenner ad debacle.

What do you think about the situation? What was your initial reaction to the image? Leave your thoughts in the comments.

The THANK YOU Card

“Thank you,” she said as her lips curled up in a smile to mask her breaking heart. He smiled an accomplished smile, like he’d bought her the best Valentine’s Day present ever.

It was 2013, one week after Valentine’s Day, and they were sitting on his bed in the lone room in his parents’ basement. He’d just handed her a rose coloured card, with grey letters at the front that read; THANK YOU. Inside, he detailed his appreciation for their friendship and how grateful he was to have her in his life. It’s like a mustard seed and we can water it to grow into something beautiful.

“So where are my chocolates?” She hoped that their sweetness might help with the sour taste in her mouth. “Oh I’m sorry, my sister ate them,” he said almost laughing. “I told you to come get them sooner. You should have listened to me.”
“You let your sister eat my chocolates? You bought them for me, for valentines day. You should have hidden them better.” She looked at him and smiled. It was all she could do to keep the tears at bay for just a little bit longer; when she’s in her bed with only her pillow to judge her.

They’d been dating for 6 months. And even after all this time, he still couldn’t love her. What hurt the most was that she nurtured him. She ran to his side at every beckon, opened up and poured – gave- herself to him. Yet, here he was, saying thank you.


Their romance had started like a passionate wild fire. Six months ago, when she’d walked into a room at their community college and seen that tall glass of chocolate milk, she couldn’t resist the chemistry that sizzled every time they locked eyes. He was tall, dark and handsome, and that night was spent chatting over Skype. He was smart, driven and very ambitious, so she fell. Hard. Within a week, they were dating. Discreetly. His idea.

“I think I’m starting to fall in love with you.” They were sitting in his car, barely three weeks into their romance. “I know it’s a little soon, but I’m one to wear my heart on my sleeve and I believe you should know where I stand.” When she’d said those words, she hadn’t had any agenda. She wasn’t expecting a reciprocation of her feelings. All she knew was her desire to let him know her heart.

“I love that you feel that way. But you see, the thing is, I just got out of a serious relationship about a year ago. We’d been dating for two years and she cheated on me.” She watched him with a mix of pity, and love. “I’m still a little broken from that. I need some time to get my heart right. Can we just enjoy being ourselves the way we are right now?”


Now it all made sense. He was never going to love her wholly. The discretion, the request for time to heal from a breakup which was over one year ago, all the signs she’d missed were now on replay in her mind, weighing her down with hurt. “Walk me to the bus stop please?” She had to go home. Now.

“What’s wrong?” He’d finally noticed something was amiss. “Nothing.” She replied, biting her lower lip. The tears couldn’t stay buried any more so she closed her eyes as they came streaming down.

“You’re crying!”
“You gave me a Thank You card. For Valentines’ Day!”
“Oh my God. And here I was thinking you’d love it,” he said, sounding completely flabbergasted by my apparently inconceivable reaction.
“Why would you think that? I told you I love you. I gave you my heart and everything else. A Thank You card? I want love, not appreciation,” she said in a firm but low voice as she felt herself shaking from the pain.
“I didn’t realiz…”

Nothing he said after that made any sense to her. Her heart had come to the realization that she deserved to be loved wholly and not for convenience. This was never going anywhere. They were never meant to be.

 

 

 

Home

via Daily Prompt: Relocate

home of the brave;
like my mom an dad
who gave their livelihood
to buy my future
in your ‘greener’ pastures
land of the free
well that part is still a question

red white and blue
i’m glad i got to meet you

green red and yellow
lone central star
you birthed me, held me, taught me.
yet i left you for ‘greener’ lands

red white and blue
i’m glad i got to meet you

but on days as this
i miss the air that is home
the pitter-patter of my young heart
the feeling of belonging

oh red white and blue
though you treat me well
most times at least,
a piece of me is buried home
in green tropics
one star, one people
united by blood
under the generous sun

 

 

Age-ing

via Daily Prompt: Age

I’m almost 26. These days, I can’t think that without cringing. I’m nervous. When did I get so ‘old’?

Saying this makes me wonder what people twice my age or older feel.

 

I think our 20s are the best years. I’m not saying this because I am in my 20s. I’m saying this because they are our safest yet most daring years, when we find and lose ourselves in the world, when as “adults”, we can run home to mom and dad if adult-ing gets too hard. This is the time when – if we’re lucky, we figure out who we really are.

I miss the simpler times, when  my 5-year-old self wanted to be anyone and anything when I grew up. At 25, I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up, and some would argue I already am a grown up.

That’s scary!

Age – they say, comes with wisdom. Why then, do I cringe at the thought of adding more experience to my life resume?

Because I’m human.

I – like most, wish I could skip the process and get to the wise old lady. That way, I’d already know if the choices I make today are the right ones. If only we watch a movie of our journey to old age.

Smh.