Happiness!!!

happiness

He slipped out of his father’s snug embrace
And skidded softly to the splashing water
His tiny feet waddling across the asphalt like a penguin
Standing unbalanced; he poked a finger in the spout of water

The rush of excitement sent him reeling back into his father’s arms
But curiosity would drag him out again to repeat his actions
The wonderment in running away from the ‘chasing’ water
The enthusiasm of being whisked into his father’s arms

He giggled so loud it revealed a spotty mouth of teeth
His hazel eyes shun brightly in the sun and
His perfectly brown skin tanned to a sun-kissed bronze

My heart fluttered and my ovaries somersaulted to a gymnastic routine
I felt my cheeks stretching to reveal a broad smile
Tears streamed down my face and I wipe them off surprised
Why was I crying? What was happening with me?

In that moment, I realized as I watched this little person
That I was feeling something I had not felt in a long time
Sometimes it came in tiny packages like an innocent child enjoying his childhood
I was looking at Happiness personified.

Don’t Call Me Mrs …

1hcd6jb

I was perusing my favorite African website when I came across an article about a group of powerful women coming together to inspire fellow women. One of the women was described as the ‘wife of a comedian’ while the rest were described by their professional achievements. I noticed that the prefix attached to the other women were Ms while the comedian’s wife’s was Mrs.A little digging revealed that she was an accomplished professional in her field, but all that was ignored for the title of a comedian’s wife.

It got me thinking about the many times that Amal Clooney has been referred to as just the wife of George Clooney. Before she became George’s wife, she was first Amal Alamuddin, the lawyer, activist and author. Before George, she litigated high profile cases and clients like Julian Asange, the state of Cambodia, Enron and Koffi Anan to name a few.

I thought this issue would be more systemic to the African society where men have always been considered superior to women but I was unpleasantly surprised to see women labelled like that here too, in the West. As an African, I grew up in a society where although I was fortunate to have parents who valued education and encouraged me to be my best, the society constantly reminded me that I was secondary to a man. As such, it was a norm to see women be introduced by the men they were married to and not their professional achievements.

The same society instigates that single women have nothing else to offer other than being attached to someone. African women often times are not encouraged to live their full potential or to aim high because what’s the point, she is going to end up somebody’s wife anyways. To the African woman’s credit, we are not sitting around and waiting for the men to come wife us up anymore; we are getting out there and getting things done for ourselves, our communities and our families.

Then you do all that, break all those barriers and overcome all the hurdles only for all your accomplishments to be reduced to the title of someone’s wife? Don’t get me wrong, marriage in itself is an accomplishment to be lauded but my opinion is, professional achievements should supersede that especially when in a function made possible by those achievements. The comedian’s wife wasn’t invited to that gathering simply because of who she was married to, it was because of what she had done in her industry which was banking.

I have never heard George Clooney be described otherwise, always only just as an actor. My point is, you never hear a man being introduced by who he is married to no matter how high-profile the woman is( well, except of course Casper Smart who we only know by his affiliation to J.Lo) but women are more than half of the time introduced by their significant others. Why? I feel this is sending a negative message to young women, African women more so which has created this ‘supposed rift’ between married women and single women.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with aspiring to be a ‘Mrs’ even if that is all one aspires to but other women shouldn’t be made to feel incomplete because they aspire to so much more than that title. Some married women feel they are better than their single counterparts just because of that title and society insinuates that the single one has a miserable life because she doesn’t have ‘Mrs’ preceding her name. And if she has worked really hard to attain certain heights professionally and desires marriage as well, then it is just as good. It ticks me then when all she becomes recognized by, is by who she married to when there is so much more to her.

Being African, my view is very unpopular especially among Africans because again, we are taught to yearn for marriage very early on and most of all. I am thankful for my parents particularly because they broke the norm and taught my siblings and I that we could be so much more than some man’s wife. And I want nothing more than to explore my every potential and achieve my dreams. In addition to that, I would want to be with a great man who loves me in my entirety but not be defined by my connection with him. Because if after all I have worked hard for and especially when it matters and I don’t get broached by those accomplishments, then please don’t call me Mrs. It is just another title.

An African In Session.

tumblr_inline_ms1gimux2w1qz4rgp

I talked about finding one’s self in the last post (still in the search), but that’s not the only thing I have been up to these last weeks. If you have been following my blog, then you should know that I lost my older sister in the summer of last year. Recently, I have not been able to stop thinking about her and it almost feels as though I am grieving anew. You should also by now that I have been struggling with my weight since before the inception of this blog. So between finding myself, battling with my never-ending weight issues and grieving for my sister, I was becoming depressed.

I remember two days in row last month when I lost interest in everything; even in my studies which I believed was the one thing I would never loose interest in. To the point of not studying enough for an upcoming test that week and sitting for that test knowing full well I wasn’t prepared. Needless to say I flunked in magnanimous proportions on that test; proportions that have never been associated with me before. Yet, I “didn’t give ” a flying fish.

Not caring whether I failed an exam or not really scared me. I had read that loosing interest in the things that one cared a lot for in the past were tell-tale signs of imminent depression. Knowing that it could lead to something dangerous if not addressed sooner, I emboldened myself and made an appointment to see a counselor at school. You might ask why embolden?

For starters, if you missed it on my about page, then you should know I am Cameroonian from Central Africa. As per my culture, talking to ‘shrinks’ is absolutely unacceptable. Africans ‘believe’ that we don’t need to be sharing our problems with random strangers and if there’s anything to talk about, then a family meeting would be just fine to take care of that. I’d be honest that I did ascribe to these ideologies at some point, but living in America these many years later, I have a different perspective. I understand the importance of having that neutral person to open up to, who wouldn’t judge you and who is just listening to you pour your heart out. I think it is a really beautiful thing which is one of the reasons I started writing too and have not revealed my identity yet. Because I believe there’s some power that anonymity provides and allows you to speak from the heart unlike when you are familiar with your audience.

Despite all this knowledge, I had to talk myself into keeping the appointment because a part of me still thought it odd to talk to a complete stranger about my feelings. So I had to convince myself that fulfilling this was very important and so it was that I found myself face to face with a counselor.

After basic introductions, we both sat down across from each other and he asked me why I felt the need to see a counselor. A few minutes passed between us before either one said anything. Then he repeated himself and I blurted out an awkward laugh. Thankfully, he was very gracious to recognize that my nerves were getting the better part me. More time lapsed before I could muster the courage to talk and speak freely.

It was one of the most freeing experiences I have had in a long time and I wondered why I hadn’t done it sooner. It felt good sitting there , pouring my heart out to an unassuming person and for them to encourage me to talk about the feelings that I was even oblivious to these weeks. Things I thought I had forgotten reared their ugly heads again and things I didn’t even know existed where just lying in a corner waiting for the ‘right’ time to surface.  The session lasted for an hour and by the end, I must have cried a river because my face was all puffed up from the constant streaming of tears and my nose was blocked.

He suggested I return for a follow-up session and again I was hesitant. Going back would mean I have a fully manifested problem which needed fixing, which would mean I needed fixing, which would mean I am broken. But I don’t believe I am broken, let alone that I needed fixing. It took a bit of convincing on his part for me to agree on a second session. I understood from him that the ‘stigma’ about therapy isn’t reserved to Africans only but even to some western folks whose issue with it is the ‘fixing’.

I know Christians might say well, you have God to talk to, to which I say God in the scriptures encourages us to confess our sins to one another. The act of confessing things to someone else in itself is a form of counseling. And I know of a lot of Christians who could really use some counseling in their life but are either ashamed to go for it or are being to hard on themselves for their faith not being enough. (this deserves it’s own post in entirety.) It has little do to with your faith and more about your mind-frame. Your mind might be attacking itself and making it hard for you to accept the grace that your faith provides and this is where a counselor is very helpful.

What are your views on attending counseling? If for, have you been and what was your experience like and if against, why? As always, thank you for stopping by and I love you for it.

Have a sunny peachy day.

 

 

‘Finding Me’

confused-face

I have read a good number of stories of successful people and how they came about their successes. More often than not, they stumbled on something, researched the topic and worked at it . For others ,they simply discovered their passion and zeroed in on it and for others it was just “finding themselves”.

This is the bane of this article. Recently, I have found myself wanting. Wanting more , to do more and to be more . I have been looking for myself and I must say this is one of the most tasking journey I have ever embarked on so far. How do you look for something that isn’t lost, for something that you might not find however hard you look? How do you stay
motivated to keep looking for the unknown ?

Success means differently to different people. My definition of success may not be similar to yours but I think we can all agree that the underlining factor to it is finding what speaks to your heart and doing it.

For a long time I thought it was writing, I taught myself the habit of reading books at a young age and somehow along the line, I fell into writing which led me to creating this blog. I’d admit that one of my moments of excitement still come after publishing an article. I love that feeling of seeing my work out there, because somehow I feel I am contributing however little to someone’s life who cared enough to read.

I had thought writing was my passion and a part of me still feels that way. If writing is the “thing” that I am looking for right now, then how did I loose it to begin with? Why and how did I get to losing it in the first place? I am constantly being bombarded by ideas for articles but for some reason I can’t bring myself to write. I recognize the potential within myself to be even better than I am now, but how is that supposed to happen if I don’t write often?

What if writing wasn’t really my passion and I forced myself into it ? Well,that’s what some of these successful people would tell you,to keep working at it ,which I did for a while until the well dried up (well of motivation to keep writing, not ideas) and had nothing more to give. If I establish that writing is not my passion, where does that leave me? Back to searching, and what would I be looking for exactly? How would I know when I find it that I have indeed found myself, my calling,the “thing” that has kept me restless this entire time. How do you know?

This is the one time in my life when I am not ashamed to say I envy my friends who have ‘found’ themselves and are thriving in it. I know one could suggest “well, what about my career switch? The epiphany? Wasn’t it what I was looking for?” To that I say, I am more than grateful to God for leading me on this new path. I am enjoying every bit of what I am taught so far and I cannot wait to translate that in the field.

I need something outside of my career though. Everyone says these days to have a ‘side hustle’. I have taught myself countless things so far. The beginning is always exciting and down the line, everything fizzles out. My understanding therefore of the “thing” is that which I dabble in, teach myself and the excitement would never leave me. I hope for my own sake that I find it soon because this could be an exhausting journey especially as the ‘thing’ is not so obvious.

Have you ever contemplated with this notion of ‘finding yourself’?. If so, what did you find and was it what you were expecting to find?

As always, thank you for stopping by.  I love you for it and have a peachy day.

‘Hater’ Alert!!!

28674-need-new-haters

How many times a day do you hear or read the word ‘hater’ either on social media or regular conversation? How often do you read it in FB statuses or comments on blogs/articles? Or are you one of those who easily gravitate to that word in defense of your opinions or in response to someone else’ opinion?

Well, regardless of your usage of the word; if you are a social media practitioner, then you have probably come to accept the term ‘hater’ as part of normal day-to-day discourse. Although there are scenarios in which usage of the word is appropriate,  often times those scenarios are few and far between.

The world over has become a village of overtly sensitive people; many people have become passive consumers that they no longer try to think for themselves or even aim to stand out from the crowd. It seems to be expected of us to not only dress-alike, eat the same things or even do the same mundane things. Heaven forbids that anyone steps out of this ‘norm’ and they are immediately tagged a ‘hater’.

I am always puzzled when I peruse through FB and read the countless statuses addressing haters, wondering how said poster knew of their haters if they themselves where not hating in return. I fail to see a ‘hater’ just because someone gave you constructive criticism or when they either reason differently from you or live opposing lives to yours.

Now, you have people who use it as a defense mechanism for poor choices, those who  use it as an excuse to be lazy and yet, others who use it as a shield to avoid criticism. The word has been so over-used that it is loosing its meaning. It would soon be on the same list as cursed words, that is if it is not already there.

We have become an abhorrently politically correct culture that anyone who dares to be different or to have a contrasting view on  the subject being discussed is easily branded a ‘hater’.  This view is very simplistic at best and ignorant at worst because people are always going to have diverse views and ideologies.

Dictionary.com defines a ‘hater’ as someone who has an intense dislike for another person or thing. Intense dislike is a very strong emotion, think about it. Not everyone who doesn’t agree with you or who lives differently from you is out to get you or feels that strongly about you especially when they don’t know you in person.

The beauty of our world is in our differences in opinions and individuality. I guess I am beckoning to your inner being then; to not care too much about what people would think but ‘do you’, be more open to others’ views, don’t be quick to dismiss criticism for it could hold a lesson, and be more accommodating to others’ choices too.

And if you don’t agree with this article, then you are just a ‘hater’. (pun intended).

No Inspiration

emoticons-sadFor days I would come here, peruse through this blog and reread past articles and other WordPress blogs. I always opened the blog with the intention to write, topics abounding in my head, so many exciting things I wanted to share with whoever cared to click on the story, but at last; I would stare at a blank page for minutes and sometimes hours without the words, no idea how to begin a sentence. Time after time after time. I did enjoy reading other blogs and discovering new writing styles. So I think it wasn’t all lost.

Is this what is meant by writer’s block? If it is, how long does it last because I have been suffering from this for months. I thought writer’s block was meant to last only one writing session not weeks and months. If it is indeed writer’s block, how do I resolve it having lasted this long. I miss writing and I have material to write about but I just don’t get the inspiration to put my thoughts to screen.

It got me wondering whether there was something else much bigger at play, like say depression? I know it seems a bit far fetched how a lack of inspiration would mean that I am depressed but I had recently lost interest in all my favorite TV shows too; and I have been eating so mindlessly lately. Everyone always becomes a doctor to self-diagnose their symptoms these days thanks in part to WebMD; so imagine my horror when I my fears where confirmed by the good internet doctor.

In all honesty, I haven’t been myself these last months and that is putting it lightly, but I also know I am not depressed because that is not a very good place to be and I refuse to go there. I generally feel lost most times and I know what I am supposed to be doing but I can’t bring myself to do it. Instead I focus on all the wrong things; my distraction is so alarming I don’t know what else to do. I feel like I am just surviving and not living my life, and it is annoying.

One of the unintentional habits of mine I had hoped to quit is stop quitting. I took a hard look at my life and I wasn’t happy with what I saw. Apart from my education,  I always start a project but never see it through;countless times I have stopped a project half way without reason or even without intent. If I had a penny for every project I unconsciously quit, I would have a hefty bank account. This bothers me because I am not a quitter, at least not intentionally.

So in hopes of holding myself accountable (another thing I have tried severally but failed), I got a planner today to write my intentions down. I learned this from my management class on Tuesday that to see anything through, you have to have a timeline of events and the only thing to help with that is planning ahead using a planner. I am barraged with ideas and things I would love to do everyday but I am scared I would start only to leave them half way.

As I have read, baby steps is the way to go, meaning small things first which is why I am very ecstatic about being able to write a full post today. I have read quite a bit about people feeling lost and finding themselves again. This is me trying to find myself again on WordPress. Most of my exciting moments I can remember where always when I wrote a full post and published it. I can’t wait to see how I feel after this.

If there’s anyone out there who feels this way, care to share how you got through it? Thank you again to my WordPress fam for always coming through even when you had no idea you did. To all the bloggers out there whose blogs kept me entertained, educated me and motivated me; blogs like Naked Christian, TantoVerde: Simple. Delicious. Vegetarian, Talking to My Weight Loss Counselor – God, Stories without Border and so many others, thank you. Thank you because you have no idea how many times you came through for a girl.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Giving Thanks

I know I might be a bit late to the thanksgiving party but I feel everyday is a day to give thanks.

First off, as always, I have missed writing and reading all the wonderful articles here and just simply bonding with my WordPress family. School is over in two weeks and I cannot wait. These last four months have been overwhelming to say the least, so I could barely find time to write. I guess that’s what happens when you work two jobs and take seven courses in one semester.

Anyways, I am glad to be writing even as I know I should be editing my school papers or studying. I couldn’t resist anymore after staring at the screen and reading a couple of articles here and there. I am hoping to find a balance next semester especially as I will be enrolled in fewer courses.

In the spirit of giving thanks, I am thankful for the platform WordPress has given me to share my feelings and thoughts even when no one is reading. Sometimes, It is not about having a reader really but to free myself of the thoughts, the feelings and even fears.

I am thankful for my family, the love we share, the unity and harmony. For having each other even as we buried my older sister this year. Thankful that we are all back on track; each one of us in the direction of their goals and dream. Thankful our parents didn’t give up on us and that they are the most supportive people we have in our lives.

I am thankful for my jobs. It gets difficult most times and I grumble and curse at it. But for the most part, I am grateful I am able to work jobs that pay my bills. Jobs that have kept a roof over my head and that have kept me warm and snug.

I am thankful that I am finally studying what I really like and to God for the epiphany that led me here. It may take a little longer, but I am comforted knowing that when I finish I will be in a career I love.

I am thankful for friends who call to check on me, who make me laugh when I am sad, who care about my success and who inspire me to be better. For friends who have stuck by me during the most difficult times and for friends who have loved me through pain, joy and sadness.

I am thankful most importantly to God Almighty because without Him, I will  not be siting here and typing all this. When I thought about how far God has brought me this morning driving to work, I broke down into a teary mess. It has been a difficult road to this place and I am not even where he has destined me to be yet.

I couldn’t have made it here on my own no matter how tough I could be. All the successes and the failures, I give him thanks because they have made me better. All the joys and tears,I am grateful because they have made me stronger. And for the love, grace and unmerited favor, I am forever thankful because I am unworthy, yet He has made me worthy.

So as we get in full celebration mode, waiting for the birth of Jesus, take a moment to reflect on your life. How far you have come and give thanks to God as you look to the journey ahead.

Happy Thanksgiving in arrears and Merry Christmas in advance.