On Thanksgiving

Someone mentioned that social media is filled with people tensioning others; that "there is a lot of brokenness debts, failings and troubled minds behind loads of those beautiful photos. Don't let anyone's beautiful cosmetic reality make you feel like your real life is ugly."

I disagree.


Of course, those things all exist. But there is also a lot of beauty, joy, happiness behind many pictures as well. The amount of joy depicted in some of these pictures mirrors the reality of those in the pictures. Not everyone is putting up a facade. The truth is, you have to find your joy even if people are seemingly (or definitely) better than you. Remember, comparison is the thief of joy. Because people WILL always be better than you. I don't care how great you are. I recently found out about Steph Curry's best-friend, Bryant Barr. They were both players in college, and neither of them was expected to become a superstar athlete. But Curry defied the odds and became...well, Steph Curry. Barr on the other hand went to Corporate America, and made his own way. He shared a story of Curry once stopping by his office and finding Barr's cubicle at work so fascinating, he (Curry) asked for a photo of him (Curry) to be taken while pretending to be on a call. Curry had never done such a thing; work in an office for someone. Imagine that being your life: never having hunted for a job, or have an annoying supervisor, or talk to annoying clients over the phone. People therefore, find it incredibly hard to believe the Barr isn't jealous or envious of Curry. Whereas Barr insists if you really knew him, you would know how content and secure he is in himself; so much that he and Curry enjoy a great friendship and there is NO envy. Their wives are best-friends; they are godfathers to each other's kids; they were best-men at each other's weddings. Contentment will give you peace unlimited. It will help you understand that  individual paths and purpose differ just like day and night. It will help you understand that God's will is the best choice ultimately. It will help you face your own journey and mind your own business.

That's where I am currently. I can't speak for tomorrow. Today though; this season, I am incredibly content. This thanksgiving, I challenge you to be content, to find peace. Like I put on my insta stories (which I've been using more than usual haha), what I am most thankful to God for is replacing my fears with immense joy and great power. I'm thankful for MANY things, but those top the list this year. Does it matter that life isn't perfect? Maybe. Does it matter someone is exponentially better than you? So what? Find peace anyway. Find joy anyway. God gives these things in great amount.

Anyway, that's where I am this thanksgiving. Incredibly thankful. I hope you are too.

Love,

I

Friday Reflections

1.) When anxiety attacks.

2.) The best birthday gift ever hahaha

3.) Can you imagine being over 6ft tall, black, burly and then thinking of nowhere else to shoplift, but CHINA, where...wait for it, you stand out like neon pink in a pale room. Stupidity at its highest order.

4.) I mean, imagine being so stupid, the president had to call to bail your behind. And I know their parents TAUGHT them better. They are just a bunch of entitled, spoilt, ungrateful brats. Yes, I'm irritated.

5.) Sigh Gabby Douglas just made a huge mistake; attributing rape to immodest dressing. Ugh. The thing with patriarchy is that we are so socially conditioned to accept it, even when it hurts us, we don't recognize. The victim in this case was assaulted by her doctor during her medical exam. So it had nothing to do with how she dressed!

6.) Rape has NOTHING to do with how the victim is dressed. Absolutely nothing. Stop policing what women wear!

7.) That being said, as a society we have to learn t forgive. We can't just banish and sanction people forever for every mistake they make. In this case, it was clearly stupid. But in some other cases, we banish people for thinking differently than us!!

8.) Be careful so that in your bid to liberate people, you don't further imprison them.

On Comparison Being The Thief of Joy

Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, Jose, Maria. Earthquakes. Tornadoes. Nuclear powers threatening each other like kids on a playground. Jesus needs to take the wheels

I wrote that intro two months ago in September. And things are probably worse now. Let me re-write one for this season:

A revolution against sexual assault in all of America (yay!). Prevalent gun violence. And a tax bill that threatens to ruin scientific pursuit as we know it. YES, if Jesus doesn't take the wheels, we are doomed ha. May God help us!

Okay so moving on. I want to write about comparison. I have had this draft for a while, but this week, and in different capacities, it was something that kept coming up. That phrase 'comparison is the thief of joy' is NOT a lie. It is incredibly true. I feel like the world is currently set up for us to compete. It starts from childhood: parents compare their kids to other kids. Some of us went to schools that literally pit us against each other by giving us positions at the end of each academic term—1st , 2nd, 3rd etc. When you are doing exceptionally well, like I was in primary school, it feeds your ego. However, when you step off that high horse and proceed to a secondary school like mine, and you have to compete with the best people, it crushes your ego and self esteem. I think that position thing is incredibly stupid, by the way.  Social media is structured for comparison too. It is probably the hallmark. Don't even get me started on social media as a tool for comparison.


So yes, we are set up to compete and compare ourselves to others. It's really toxic. Sometime ago, there was a story out of Lagos, of this primary school child that poisoned his/her classmate because the classmate consistently came first, while the perpetrator consistently followed behind as second. They were like in primary four or something ridiculous. And she/he regularly poisoned him for months or so, till the victim fell ill. That is brutal.

See, there are two possible outcomes from comparing yourself to someone else. First, you probably realize you fall short in the comparison, when you find them better than you are. You then become enveloped with envy, jealousy, and bitterness. Your self-esteem suffers because you start feeling incredibly insecure. The next thing is you're stressing yourself because you chose to compare yourself with someone on a different journey than you. This kind of stress can not only spur you into hatred, it can make you make irrational decisions that harm you in the long run. The final straw on the camel's back that convinced me to make this comparison post public, was listening to a message by TD Jakes tonight. The title literally had nothing to do with comparison, so when  I heard him mention comparison, I was like whoa. Yup, this is NOT a coincidence. He said you will never have peace if you keep comparing yourself to others. Instead deal with the cards God gave YOU or you'll be perpetually miserable.

A second outcome is pride. Perhaps you actually are better than that person. But so what? Pride is intoxicating as hell. And it comes right before a fall, and it is just as, if not more foolish. The Bible has lots of warnings against pride and boasting. It feeds your ego unnecessarily; it breeds self-conceit and self-righteousness. The Bible warns STERNLY against comparison. Don't even compare your spirituality: as in, "I'm a better Christian than lagbaja". No. And some of you don't say it outrightly, you imply it. You boast of your spirituality or how you can pray the devil back to hell; how you spend one million hours in His presence; how you are able to discern His voice. Okay, it makes you feel better about yourself for a little while, but what happens after? Misery.  See, God understands that he gave differently to different people.

So you see neither outcome benefits you.

Not to mention, comparison just pushes you. It pushes you so much, you find yourself basically living your life for others; doing things for the wrong reasons.

"It is better to be a great sergeant, than to be a poor general." -TD Jakes

Don't go about doing something you are average at because it feeds your ego, thereby neglecting what you are excellent at because I gats be better than lagbaja. Don't kill yourself. Respect your lane. So I am making a conscious decision to really, really face my lane; to not compare myself to other people. You should too.

Love,

I

Book of the Month: The Underground Railroad

Let's just pretend like I didn't just abruptly stop this book of the month thing for a while, shall we?

I hate slave movies; slave T.V. shows; slave books even. I don't like them; which is why I refuse to watch movies based on slavery, even those that have won all the awards. I think they are really horrible, and while I appreciate the need to tell these stories and remind people of America's horrible past, I'm also uncomfortable with the fact that the black movies that win the awards are specifically those that depict black folks as subservient. The ones that depict us a defiant; as math nerds; as extraordinary, are snubbed.


So the book, "The Underground Railroad" was not really my first choice in the list of books for my book club for that particular month--September. Yes, I'm only just getting to write about it.  But my first choice, Hilary Clinton's What Happened was removed from the list. So I went with this and I don't regret the decision. I think it's necessary for this society we live in to see the atrocities black people were exposed to. I include excerpts from the book at various points in this post to give you an idea of the monstrosity I'm talking about.

It's written by Colson Whitehead and is an alternative history novel that tells the story of two slaves in the 1800s as they make their way to freedom from a Georgia plantation through the Underground Railroad. In real life, the Underground Railroad was a series of safe houses and a network of secret routes that black slaves used to escape to into free states.  In the book, the underground railroad was actually a subway system.

The book focuses on Cora, a black slave, but devotes single chapters to other characters like Cora's grandmother; Caesar, who was also on the run with Cora; and a slave-catcher, Ridgeway. We are first met with Ajarry, Cora's grandmother, who was snatched from West Africa and dragged across the ocean on a slave ship.The book proceeds to tell us about Cora who has been excommunicated on the plantation, after her mother ran away and abandoned her. Later, Caesar approached Cora with the idea to run away from the plantation; an idea she wasn't first welcomed to. Eventually, she had no choice but accept Caesar's proposal, given the situation on the plantation with the slave owners. So the bulk of the book is about their long journey to freedom. They also had to question their own morality on the way, after being faced with a series of hard choices that depended on their survival.

"Lucy and Titania never spoke, the former because she chose not to and the latter because her tongue had been hacked out by a previous owner." (p.47)

I think it's a great book. I also think it's traumatizing and very infuriating that people in that century, some ancestors of white folks, were that inhumane. While reading, I often had to pause for a while just to catch my breath, and be thankful for my freedom. In the book, we also see how black women were being sterilized and black men were used as experiments to track the spread of syphilis. To say this book demonstrated the horrific and monstrous actions during the slave era would be an understatement. The humiliation, the fear, the sexual and physical abuse. It was a lot.

"...they gathered on the front lawn. Randall's visitors sipped spiced rum as Big Anthony was doused with oil and roasted. The witnesses were spared his screams, as his manhood had been cut off on the first day, stuffed in his mouth, and sewn in. The stocks smoked, charred, and burned, the figures in the wood twisting in the flames as if alive." (p. 63) 

But even then, we see some white people, who stood on the right side of history, by helping the slaves escape into freedom, even if it meant risking their lives and their families. We also see bravery and courage in Cora, who risked her life for the ultimate prize of freedom.  I wonder, if Cora had known the horror that was ahead, would she still have embarked on that journey?

The truth is, the book was painful to read. But perhaps it will help people further understand the anger in the African-American community. The fact that centuries after, black people are still being oppressed and racism is still pervasive is unfortunate. Perhaps, people will understand that although slavery ended a while ago, the legacy was still passed on from generation to generation.
You know, sometimes, people say:

African-Americans complain too much

Or express similar sentiments.  It actually sounds like Well, better be grateful for the opportunities you're given; As though they are still visitors, when the truth is their ancestors built this land. Not to mention the generational privileges they missed out out. People often forget that even if it's just knowledge your parents were able to pass on to you; or if it's that one house that has been passed from generation to generation; it's still some sort of privilege. Up till very recently, blacks did not have the same access to loans, mortgages etc. that whites did. These are inherited traumas that still affect lives of black people. And this is just scratching the surfacing. There are way more, but first things first is acknowledgement.

Anyway, the book of this month is poignant, it's necessary, it's worth every minute.

Love,

I

Friday Reflections

1.) My fashion nationalism.

2.) Grey's Anatomy had it's 300th episode yesterday, and it was incredibly great. I love that it incorporated what makes Grey's Grey's. It was beautiful. And of course, tears inducing.

3.) Grey's Anatomy is truly my happy place. I have watched most of 299 of those 300 at least twice!

4.) Shonda on the 300th episode. So emosh...

5.) Winter is here!

6.) So someone legit equated pedophilia to VIRGIN Mary and Joseph. You guys, American politicians are exhausting.

7.) I think, for me, the most infuriating is how people really believe them when they call themselves "Christians". Religion is nothing but a weapon of oppression for many Republicans. Family values my foot.

8.) Gentle reminder that Jesus is a calm in the storm.

9.) I'm super thankful for peace. Can't quite explain it...but peace.

10.) I was reading old blogposts on this blog. I really have grown. And that's another beauty of blogging; when I see an old post, I am able to tell where I was in life and my emotional wellbeing at the time of writing.

11.) I truly am thankful

On Resetting The Clock

This post was due on Sunday, but I forgot to post it. I wasn't even too buy, I just forgot.

That being said, everyone knows daylight savings ended on Sunday, November 5th in the U.S., at least for those of us on the eastern standard time, and some on pacific standard time too. So what's daylight savings; for my Nigerian or non-American friends, or just my friends who aren't conversant with it. It's pretty much advancing the time on the clock sometime in March or beginning of spring, so that evening daylight lasts longer. This means in November, close to winter, we fall back. When the clock struck 1:59am, instead of moving to 2:00am, it became 1:00am again. It's the perfect natural experiment (yes putting my researcher hat on). Not to mention, we gain an entire hour. The cost of this of course is stepping out of work by 5:30pm and everywhere is already dark. That's never fun for anyone. I also imagine depression peaks during these periods not just because of the holidays, but because of the early nights. But don't quote me on that, please.



Okay so, since daylight savings ended last year [of course my devices automatically adjusted. Even the cable box fixes itself] I have not reset my wristwatch. I thought of it as an experiment. Lol yes research hat on. I wanted to see how fast (or so) a year could be. So for most the past year, my wrist watch (the one I wear most often) was an hour behind. For clarity, between November 2016 and March 2017, my watch was correct. The rest of the time, it wasn't.

Let me just say a year is LONG. It doesn't just fly by. A year is actually a very long time. It's funny because the usual thing to say is, "this year flew by so fast" etc. In reality, or the truth is it did not. A year is a long, long time. We also like to say, "life is short". Again, in reality life is actually long. The average life expectancy in the U.S. is about 78 years old. Think about that for a second, SEVENTY years is a helluva long time. I say all this to say, make the most of it. Really, it's that simple. If it sounds cliche, it's because it's the truth. Start that thing now; start a habit now; start it now; and watch the ripple effects in a year. I think about where I was last year the last time I changed this watch, and God, I'm so much better. I don't mean in the sense people usually would; I mean I'm more confident in my abilities; I have put in more work; and to some extent feel a greater sense of peace. Also sometimes when progress is gradual, we rarely acknowledge it. We only get hyped about sudden jumps; huge changes. But life is actually a cumulation of small and incremental progress. One example I can think of is my learning of French language: and this is the WORST possible example ever, because even I know that's the one thing I slacked off on the most. Still, I'm a much better French speaker than I was last year. You want to lose weight? Start right now. You want to write a book? Or get better at a skill; give some minutes every day for the next year to that thing you want to see a difference in, and see if there won't be change.

Reset the clock, and start all over again.

Love,

I

Friday Reflections

1.) I always believed Meredith and Cristina's friendship was the most special TV relationship ever...well, Grace and Frankie's comes pretty close.

2.) I also believe Lily Tomlin might be the funniest person on earth

3.) Emotional labor and gender inequality: women are fed up.

4.) The thing for me, with perseverance is that it's a double edged sword. On the one hand, you have to learn to realize when to STOP. On the other, you can't be too quick to give up. This author thinks so too.

5.) I remember telling my sister we don't need any more sophisticated technology on our phones; how about channeling all that genius to solve serious health issues. This is a welcomed development.

6.) Husband and wife share both sides of their love story

7.) "Human beings are inherently good judges of character, but we ignore that gift for our temporary and fleeting feelings" - Me

8.) Look, even I realize how cheesy it is to freaking quote yourself, but I said it while chatting with my siblings and it looks like a really good idea. So, don't judge me.

9.) Fingers crossed, and praying really hard for something. And I will come back here to testify in Jesus name.

10.) I have had some of these in draft for monthsss. Ugh life really does happen, but I'm back :)

On The Balance Between God's Grace and His Discpline

If you think God would strike a person down/hate a person for divorcing a spouse who was probably abusive, then we don't serve the same God.

If you think God allows any and everything in the name of "grace"; if you think freewill means we can do what we want and how we want as long as we "love", we probably don't serve the same God.

Yes it seems contradictory. The truth however is, just as the grace of God is sufficient and we DON'T need to work for it, so it is that those whom the Lord loves, He disciplines. Now this is a hard part. No one wants to hear that. We, our generation in particular, is notoriously morally rebellious; so to be accountable to an unseen God is pretty much an abomination. But the truth is life is more than you and your feelings. Yes, they are valid a lot of times, but I'm pretty sure God never ever promised a life with  no struggles; I'm also pretty sure he never gave us a carte blanche to do what we like, you know as long as it makes us feel good or it's "our choice". Er no.



Rather he tells us to ENDURE our race and to not be bugged down by sin. This can be broken down into many spheres. But that verse in Hebrews 12 continues by stating that Jesus endured the shame and pain on the cross because joy awaited him. So should we strive to not get bugged down by life's struggles and the temptation to sin. Because a lot of times, a lot of things look like an expression of freedom; when you really are a slave to to that thing/vice you can't exist without. Of course, no one is perfect, and we do NOT work for grace. It's given freely.

"You mean to tell me it's beyond just 'loving'?" "I thought as long as we 'love' [read tolerate and enable all sorts] we'd be fine?" Yeah no. God disciplines those he loves. He does. As far as I know, any good parent disciplines their kids. I don't care how perfect you were as a child, at some point your parents must have disciplined you.  It doesn't mean they stopped loving you. It doesn't mean you had to do anything to secure that love. For most of us, our parents love us no matter what becomes of us. Indeed, most of us have been loved by our parents the moment we were conceived.  Yet, every once in a while we did things that went against the very principles and values they instilled in us. And we got punished for it. We endured the discipline, mostly because we had no choice haha. I think we can extend that to our relationship with God. I think we should strive to do right by God. We will probably sometimes fail at this, but try anyway. It's really tricky talking about God's discipline because it can get blurred with this picture some people paint of Him: as a vindictive being waiting for us to slip so He can be like "Gotcha!!!" and then strike us. No. The bible says he is SLOW to anger and abundant in compassion; lovingkindness; mercy.

So two things: one strive to do right by God. Second, fix your eyes on Jesus and don't give up too easily when you fail. Endure, endure, endure. God is NOT a bellhop whose main function is to be at our beck and call and give us what we want, when we want it. No. Hard times build your character, your strength, your endurance, your perseverance. Hard times here encapsulates everything: from living right, to career, to relationships, to work...anything you value, really. The Christian life involves hard work anddiligence...don't get it twisted.

It's an interesting balance between two extremes: God never hates you; it's the sin in you He hates. Yet because of the magnitude of his love for you, he'd rather you not do certain things. But hey, it still is your choice. Just know, every choice, EVERY one of our choices has consequences.

Love,

I

P.S: I think I'm backkkkk to blogging. I missed it and actually just need a creative outlet so I don't get stifled by other things I enjoy doing.

On Powerful Men and Sexual Assault

I know; it's bad. There is no excuse, really. It is also [somewhat] deliberate. I'm so sick of deadlines that I didn't want to be bound by one. I also kinda didn't have the time. Yeah, so those were actually excuses. I don't even think I'm back to regular programming. Anyway, everyone has heard of Weinstein, the alleged predator who has...where do I even begin? You know the rest. I wasn't actually following the story as I was just sick of disgusting men taking advantage of women, so I didn't read the expose or any of the think pieces that followed. I did however read Lupita Nyong'o's op ed on New York times. I was so furious, I penned some thoughts on Facebook. It had been a while I actually posted a status on Facebook or anywhere else, how much more a long rant. The conversation of posting thoughts on social media is for another time. I think I want to blog on that too and on many other things really, but I don't feel like right. Anyway,  find below my rant.

Friday Reflections

1.) There is the struggle to write. And then the struggle to actually post them. The latter was my thing this week. I had stuff to post. I just did not get to it.

2.) How to be alone.

3.) Am I just in need of good ol' inspiration, or is this the most inspiring story ever? Gosh. God is good.

4.) My favorite fall thing is to get excited about all my shows being back on. But some of them have been so disappointing lately that I couldn't be any less bothered. Either that or *gasp* I just don't have the time.

5.) Adulthood is feeling excited about new sheets.


Friday Reflections

1.) The week her husband left her and her home was burgled, she got a grant to begin a project that would pioneer breast cancer research.

2.) Shonda Rhimes, first woman to create three hit shows with more than 100 episodes each.

3.) I don't know who Cardi B is, but I stumbled on these words of wisdom from her. She was spot on.

4.) Julian Assange, a man without a country. I don't think I have ever seen a more egoistical maniac, with a boatload of narcissism to boot. And his fans need to tell him to tuck in his misogyny. I mean the man did compare himself to Gandhi...to Mandela...sheesh

5.) Hilary Rodham Clinton, first woman to win a major party’s nomination for President.

6.) It's crazy how much we can achieve if we put our hearts to it.

7.) Apparently, the world is ending tomorrow. Ha.

8.) I think my dentist has ghosted me.

9.) I [literally] just started the show Grace and Frankie, and a character's name is NWABUDIKE! I mean, talk about representation hahaha. They call him Bud though. Bud...? Seriously?



ON THE POWER OF WORSHIP PLUS A PLAYLIST Pt.2

Here is part one. You gotta give me credit for promising to be back with a second part and actually coming back. Especially considering the week I have had. But heyyy no complaints here at all.



Did you enjoy those [from part 1]? Anyway, here goes a second part.

4.) Grace to grace, by Hillsong.
I love this song because it reminds me of a fundamental aspect of Christianity: the grace of God. It also reminds us that Christ died for us. That foundational truth is so easy to forget. We just live our lives, profess a love for God, but how often is it in our consciousness that Christ actually DIED for us. He paid our debt. We were asked recently how often we remember that Christ resurrected. We all said Easter. It's not that we don't know. Of course we do. But we take it for granted, for lack of a better word.

My debt is paid...
When I see that cross, I see FREEDOM
When I see that grave, I see Jesus
From death to life, I will sing your praise
In the wonder of your name/grace
How my soul will sing your praise
How wonderful are my Savior's scars....victorious

5.) Waymaker by Sinach
You know I gotta rep Naija. Like the title, it extols God for who He is: a way-maker. I first heard this song during the Olowogbogboro challenge. Yes, I'm a latecomer like that. First of all, y'all know that was one heck of an experience, so it's no surprise the song found and gave meaning to my life. Let's just say I really needed light in my life at the time. And God's presence indeed was all the light I could ever need. So yes it acknowledges the presence of God. This song reminds you God is still in the business of meeting needs and listening to every prayers. He truly is.

Way-maker, miracle-worker, promise-keeper
Light in the darkness
My God that is who You are
You are here touching every heart
I worship You
You are here healing every heart
You WIPE away all tears and mend BROKEN HEARTS.... Yaaassss

6.) Touch the Sky, by Hillsong
No shame in my game. I love Hillsong. Period. This is a mini testimony for me. And I think it's the first in these songs that sort of tells our own perspective more than declare who God is. In that it explains God as an anchor. When it's less about you, and more about God and others, that's when you begin to soar. If you are going to reach the top, you have to learn humility. I hear for a good marriage, you somewhat die to self? Well, in this relationship with God, it won't always be all about you. And that's sweet, because watch how you touch the sky when your knees hit the ground. He who wants to lead or become great, must first be a servant. Hey I didn't make the rules. Haha.

My heart beating
My soul breathing
I found my life when I laid it down
Spirit soaring
I touch the sky when my knees hit the ground
Everything I am...reaching out I surrender

Again, I will stop here for now. I think I will be back next week or make this some sort of regular update. I don't want to bombard you all at once. Of course, there is the off chance that you already know all of these songs haha. Still, I hope you reading this inspires you to truly dig deep to find what these songs mean to you. I'd love to hear that. Let me know what you think.

Love,

I

TLDR: seriously? C'mon now it was just a list. Oya go back up and read everything :p

On Complaining And My Challenge

Oh this is good. This affects everyone. Everywhere you go, people are complaining. About the economy; about their political leaders; about work; about traffic; about social media; about their future; about their families. Pretty much about everything under the darn sun. Now don't get me wrong, I complain too. Ha I'm chief complainer.



Sometimes we even complain about something that's absolutely okay. We complain even if things are great. It almost feels like the norm to just complain about something. I don't know how and when this culture of complaining permeated our lives his much, but it has. And it keeps eating at us. To be clear, there ARE MANY things wrong with the world and with us, and we are sometimes right to complain.

However, I am now almost convinced some of us just like the sound of our own voices while we complain. At the risk of sounding ignorant; I have to say when you hear the ridiculous thing some folks complain about, you really want to smack them. Myself included. I'm not even talking about silly first world problems now. I'm speaking more generally about someone, who maybe has a great job, a great family, even occasionally affords the yearly vacation, but is still hard pressed about how life in Nigeria/America/insert whatever country is so aggravating. Bla bla bla.

I have given enough disclaimer: I get it; life is hard sometimes. Other times though, we are just ungrateful brats.

I heard myself complain [again] sometime last week. I was whining to myself about the unrealistic amount of workload I had. Then I called myself to order. How about first STARTING the task before even complaining. Now remember my challenge here: and my success with it, if I say so myself?

I want to start another one: to stop complaining. I have decided that for every time I get the urge to complain, I would do two things instead. First, thank God for the other things that are wonderful in my life. For many of us, this should come easy because there are really many awesome stuff going on. The second thing to do rather than complain, is to do one thing towards alleviating what I want to complain about. So let's say I want to complain about not getting enough sleep, well then go to bed earlier, Ife. Even if it's just 30 minutes earlier. Or suppose I want to complain about how messy somewhere is, then start cleaning. Or suppose traffic is what bothers you, leave home early.

Of course the above is assuming everything you complain about has to do with you. Sometimes it's others. Then just remember you can't control how others behave. Find peace in that. You only really have control over how you react.

So this is my challenge as well as yours. Check yourself and try to reduce (maybe not completely stop) how much you complain. Yes our political leaders suck (this can literally apply to most countries of the world ha). Yes the economy is bad. Yes you need a better pay (don't we all?). Yes yes yes. But also yes, you are alive and well and doing ok. You will be fine. We all will.

TLDR: stop complaining. Be grateful and be more proactive.

Love,

I

P.s: I am not trivializing anyone's struggles at all. I have mine too and have just realized we can better manage our struggles. Fin.

Friday Reflections

1.) What is God's will for my life?

2.) Why do we find it so hard to enjoy the mundane, the normal, the boring? And yearn so desperately for excitement all the time?

3.) "My sister sells flat tummy tea on Instagram. I mean she's got hella followers, but what's her endgame?" Lmaoooo Insecure has the best, THE BEST dialogue on TV currently.

4.) This great story of how a rich man opened his home to victims of Irma.

5.) I've always talked about how Cristina Yang is my favorite fictional character ever. Period. The thing though is, I feel like if I knew someone like that in real life, I probably would not want to be her friend haha.

6.) I'm starting another Whole 30! Whoop....to share my experience or nah?

7.) I started reading a great book today, so I will probably have a book of the month. Yay. Haa it's been too long I posted one of these.

8.) Gosh kindness is such an important attribute. I mean, smarts is good. Gee, everyone is smart in some way (this is NOT true lol). Seriously now, human decency, courteousness, kindness are so rare nowadays.

9.) Why we fell for clean eating; an obsession with "clean eating".

10.) Read this post explaining why the author is transitioning away from veganism.

On The Power of Worship Plus a Playlist

For the longest time, I never really liked songs. I didn't get their appeal or perhaps, I just wasn't interested in them. So the way people describe having magical moments? Well, it never applied to me. This extended to worship songs as well: songs we sing to God in worship.



As far as I was concerned, when speaking of worship as a concept, my favorite way to remind myself of God's awe has always been through the Bible. I feel like some people love to sing, some others pray...I believe mine is reading the Bible and talking about God. So whenever I would see people crumble in tears during worship sessions, I used to be surprised. To me, praise and worship was mostly about having a good time—albeit  in God's presence.

Well all that is beginning to change. More recently I have been listening to songs that are exceedingly powerful. Songs that, by themselves speak to the greatness and power of God. Gosh, Hillsong Choir is pretty astounding. They are a group of highly talented individuals.  It goes beyond the singing (which in itself is great); it extends to the writing and overall production of the songs. The lyrics of their songs are filled with depth and meaning.

I now truly understand and believe those who emphasize the act of worship as an essential aspect of worshipping God. Anyway, in that vein I decided to share (I love to share, don't I?) a list some songs that have spoken to me recently, and of course I also say one or two things about them. I also think ever since joining the presentation team in Church—which  involves posting the lyrics of songs on the big screen among other things—I find myself appreciating the true meanings to those words I post. This is another way my life has been enriched since choosing to serve.  Anyway, here we go.


On How To Make a Decision

I came across a plan on YouVersion. I have to digress to talk a little about YouVersion because it's absolutely fantastic, and wherever you are in life, you can find something that speaks to you and helps you grow in your faith. Anyway, this plan was on decision-making and I knew I had to share some of what I learnt. Because people are very concerned, borderline obsessed with making decisions. They want to know if they are making the right decisions, and if so, is there a better alternative? How can I pick the one that best serves me? What if I pick door/option A and in the future it doesn't work out. How can I pick between two jobs, or two schools, or ahem two men? I do not have all the answers for you. I do however have some suggestions based on a recently completed plan on YouVersion, whose name currently eludes me now. Good thing is the actual points are not forgotten...at least not yet.


1.) Consider The Consequences
Of course, pray about it first. This goes without saying, and especially for Christians. So now that you have prayed, when making a decision, first start by considering the potential consequences of your actions. Every action has consequences, good or bad. Remember that. An interesting analogy for that is Deuteronomy 28:1-6. It contains a lot of blessings. My favorite  being:

"Wherever you go and whatever you do, you will be blessed" - Deuteronomy 28:6

And us Christians, ha. We love those one liners, or verses that we can just mumble all day like incantations, with the hope that a constant recitation would somehow automatically get rid of all our problems. To be clear, quoting bible verses is awesome. Constant meditation is even more awesome. The thing though is we need to consider contexts a LOT. In Deuteronomy, for instance, God gave those blessings conditional upon certain commandments to his people. Now, if you go down a bit to verse 19, you will see serious curses that are the exact opposites of the blessings above. Consequences people. For every action, there is a reaction or what's that thing physicists say? Just figure out what the consequences are for each potential decision.

2.) What Would Jesus Do?
A saying almost as old as time itself, but rarely ever actually acted upon. This goes without saying. And how would you know what Jesus would do? Check out his word.

Huh, do you want me to read the whole Bible Ife just cos I want to make a decision?

Okay, fine. What kind of a person do you envision yourself to be? What kind of a person do you want to be? God demands justice, kindness, and humility. So how does the choice you make embody these values? Which choice makes you more kind, humble, and just? How does the choice affect your character?

"Imitate God, therefore in everything you do, because you are his dear children. Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us and offered himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God." Ephesians 5:1-2

"No, o people, the Lord has told you what is good, and this is what he  requires of you: to do what is right, to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God." -Micah 6:8

3.) Do Unto Others As You Want Done Unto You
This is as basic as it says. And it was Christ's golden rule (Matthew 7:12). Making right decisions is really a habit that grows on you. But taking the above three points into consideration is something to look into. Just ask God for wisdom if you need and He will give unto you.

Finally, and just as important is trust. Seriously. Trust God. Trust yourself; that you made a decision and just have the faith that you made the right one. Let it go. Don't make a decision and then linger on for ever, wondering. It's how some people are already married, but a gazillion years later they are still wondering if their lives would have been better if they chose to marry the other loser asking them out. RULE number one after having made a decision is YOU NEVER KNOW THE ROAD NOT TAKEN.

what if I had....

But if I chose this instead....

NO. So many variables work together for an event and to recreate a choice would mean taking into account every variable and counterfactual. I shouldn't get too technical. The point is you have made a decision, STICK by it. Commit to it and see it through. And don't let the fear of making mistakes with your decision paralyze you into inaction. Indecision is itself a decision.

TLDR: consider consequences; act like Jesus would; do unto others what you would have done unto you; don't let fear keep you from deciding; and once you decide, commit to it.

Love,

I

P.S: the actual writing of blog posts isn't what frustrates me. It's every other thing: production, if you will. Things like adding pictures, formatting, sharing on social media bla bla ugh. I just wanna write abeg. Anyway, have a good week. I had such a productive weekend of fun and work that I'm beaming with pride. Weekends like this convince me adulting ain't so bad after all. Haha. Go on and rock this week, beloved.

On Faith And Doubt in One's Self

I don't have any wisdom to dish out today. If anything, I am presenting what some might call a conundrum.

How often do you doubt? How often do you have tons of questions for God? Do you often wonder where practicality, or perhaps common sense ends and faith begins?

C'mon be realistic.

I'm pretty sure you have heard at least some variation of the above. Faith, to me is such a multi-complex issue that I never get tired of reading about it or listening to someone talk about it.



I watched this and was reminded of "what it feels like to doubt, to be overload with skepticism".

Something recently got me thinking:

I'm not qualified for this

I can't get this

This is not for me

Be realistic Ife, you can't do this. You simply are not enough 

Now, I am of course a Christian and I know there is a general consensus among Christians to "pray like you are incapable/haven't read/insert whatever else AND that to act like/read like you haven't prayed", which for the longest time to me meant:

Yeah, God is capable...BUT it's still up to you as an individual to achieve/do/get that thing.

See, if it was entirely up to you or me, if it was completely within our power, why do we need God? I now know there are numerous answers to this. Like God himself believes in a strong work ethic and in discipline. Like God is not a bellhop that brings you whatever you need/want whenever you need/want it. We need God for more than just our earthly desires, which you probably only desire in the first place so you can feel superior to others.  I know now that a relationship with God isn't just about me, me, me. A relationship with God is an anchor for my soul.

But then again, I'm not always clear minded enough to reason it out that way. If I had no faith in God, there are many things that I would never, ever try. I'm very rational and it can often present as pessimism. The thing is I really, really hate wasted time. And in my opinion, many things are mere time wasters.

I have now learnt (and still constantly learning) that God is limitless and anything is possible. I have also learnt how faith can open your eyes to see what's IN you. To see what's WITHIN you. Faith, is indeed empowering. Yet faith is also knowing God CAN do this, but he doesn't necessarily always want to or have to.

It wasn't till later in life when my parents were trying to make an analogy about my life in one of my dark moments, that I found my name could also mean "the will of God". I began to understand even much more about my life, because as you should already know, names are or can be a powerful force in a person's life.

So now I ask myself, I want this, but does God want this? Because while I only see a teeny weeny part of the whole picture, God sees and knows the entire picture. He is all-knowing. So I just do. I then remind myself about the things that truly matter. Whatever that thing is that you want to go crazy about; I'm almost certain it's not your WHOLE life. It really is just a part of your life. Of course in my case, it is an important part of my life that I desire and trust that God will help me achieve. But it's just that: a PART of my WHOLE life. Ultimately, even if God doesn't give me this thing I want desperately, it doesn't make Him any less great or any less mighty.



I refuse to be controlled by my wants and needs. And you should as well.

What's the point of this story? I already hinted to it above. I was close to not attempting something this past week. It was too big a dream, so I quit. I swear those online motivational speakers would have ripped my head apart hahaha. A la if you can think it you can do it yidi yada. Yeah, no. Please there are tons of things you can dream and can't do.  I digress. Anyway, so I told myself I was not that lucky. And was about to keep it moving. BUT. Now, this is a huge BUT. But...somehow, God gave me the grace and humility to actually tell my sister about it, who immediately admonished and charged me. She reminded me of past achievements. This is gold. Always, always remember where and how God has come through for you in the past. Surround yourself with wise counsel. God really used my sister for me and I decided to go for it. My prayer is that I come back to this blog to testify.

"Today I have faith, but I can't make any promises about tomorrow." - Joseph Solomon


Therefore if you are in doubt or confusion about something hard you want to do... GO FOR IT. The truth, cliche as it might sound, is that unless you try, you'd never know. What if you fail? But what if you fly? You say, but my faith isn't enough. Lucky for you since you only need faith the size of a mustard seed, huh? A healthy dose of doubt is good. A healthy does of fear is good even. It gives you perspective and some humility.

Now if your doubt isn't about a particular thing, perhaps about God in particular. That's very understandable as well. You will seldom find a Christian who hasn't been there. Work through it, and of course pray for clarity. God always, always shows up.

"Before you doubt me, doubt your doubt. And you'll see they are just as empty as the tomb that I walked from."

Selah.

Love,

I


Friday Reflection

1.) Happy new month people!! What's your plan for the remainder of this year?

2.) How Did You Feel About It? A short story by Chimamanda Adichie.

3.) A lot of times people conflate the social pressures to get married with actual desire.

4.) "I’d never use the word 'hubby' or write a laudatory Facebook post about him performing a basic life task such as cooking dinner." Read this interesting piece about the author's desire to get married.

5.) Read this fascinating and heartbreaking story of a modern day slave. Everything is so chaotic about the story, and blames for the miserable life the woman lived could fall on a number of people. The truth though is that if that couple (parents of the writer) had just treated Lola like a decent human being, perhaps it would not have been as awful.

6.) The curious case of Christians and alcohol. Isn't it so interesting how one person can channel their own personal principles as universal tenets of a religion? It still happens.

7.) Were people waiting for a reason to bash Joel Osteen? Indeed the whole fiasco said a LOT about American Christianity. But what baffled me wasn't that his church did or did not allow people in during the flood; it's that Joel Osteen is worth 40 million. You guys, FORTY MILLION. HOW? Like... what is one person doing with so much?

8.) Houston, Benue, Sierra Leone...all on our hearts.

9.) Man, Kenyans are so lucky they get a do over with their elections. If only us Americans had the same luxury (side eye).

10.) Okay something quick about number 8. Don't be that person that whines about the world paying attention to one catastrophe and ignoring another; it is not a misfortune competition. I used to be this way too, but quickly realized that everyone would NOT be angry about every injustice or every misfortune.

11.) You know what though? If YOU feel a tragedy isn't getting enough coverage or mention, then YOU start it. DO something. Create a go fund me and publicize it. Disturb all our timelines about that tragedy; do whatever you can to bring attention to it. Just stop with making folks feel bad about sympathizing with others or worse, making the victims feel bad about their own tragedy.

On Staying Woke And Resisting Anxiety

Everyone understands anxiety (well, many people do). And we even sometimes are able to conquer it, we know the signs...and as Christians we are well aware of what the Bible tells us about anxiety and worry. We know God is for us. We have read and read and read page after page in the Bible telling us who we are in Christ. In fact on some days we feel peaceful and free and content. And all of a sudden, the next minute or day, life happens. Anxiety creeps in and you have to start to adjust all over again. 


Well, we have to continually guard against anxiety. To do this, we must renew our minds daily. In other words, we have to STAY WOKE. The truth is before we even set our feet on the ground each day, satan is going to try it. He will attempt to mess with our heads. Our minds. Our thoughts. Our feelings. Then enemy seeks to get us down. To destroy us. We are now aware of this. After all, in battle and in war, you must first understand the strategy of your opposition; of your enemy. Now that you do, what shall you do?

RESIST. Learn to equip yourself with and arm yourself with the word of God. God has given us the authority to resist. Replace anxious thoughts with reassuring thoughts of God's words. We also have to get to the dwelling place with Jesus. Thereafter you will remain at peace despite what the day throws ahead of you. I didn't say that means you would have a completely easy day. It means you are clear headed, you are filled with peace, and most of all armed with wisdom to handle whatever happens. This is all tried and tested folks.

Part of that wisdom, for instance is picking your battles wisely. Don't let a bad five minutes destroy an entire day. Don't let an awful short conversation with an awful person affect your entire conversations for the rest of the day with decent people. Do whatever practical thing you need to do to protect your sanity.


My motto for the remainder of 2017 is that Goodness and Mercy WILL follow me ALL the days of my life. And I will dwell in the house of the Lord. In fact, I feel like my theme for the rest of the year is DWELL.  I will dwell and thrive in Christ. Look, the year might be close to being over, but it doesn't stop you from setting new themes and goals and resolutions. It shouldn't stop you from living as full as you can. Four months is a LONG time. 

"Those who dwell in the shelter of the most high will find REST in the shadow of the almighty." -Psalm 91:1

So yes, I will mostly be minding my business and dwelling for the rest of the year by God's grace. It reminds me of one of my favorite verses: "for I bear the mark of Christ, let NO ONE trouble me." As you can see, I plan on maintaining my peace while dwelling in God for the rest of this year and for the rest of my life even. 

Therefore as you go back to school, work, living fabulous, or whatever else rocks your boat, remember this: You will be okay.

I sincerely hope I remember it as well.

Love,

I

On Three Things To Note As Summer Ends and Schools Resume

I should have been more consistent these past few weeks. Even I know that. But I wasn’t kidding when I said the end of summer was making me a bit nervous. BUT I am somewhat in the groove of things and about ready for summer to end. I’m not worried about keeping up with blogging when I became way too busy. If I can plan in advance, I will be fine. That said, you can keep up with me on Instagram.

I don’t know why I don’t upload pictures of myself more on this blog. It just…I don’t know. I guess since I’m not a fashion or hair blogger. You probably can’t even call me a lifestyle blogger. Anyway, I took some real professional quality pictures [by chance] today with my iPhone. Here:









So three things for today.

One: As schools begin to resume, if you can afford to, you can be of help. One way to do this is donate to your local school board(s) to offset lunch debts for underprivileged kids. Another thing is to call up local charities, who sometimes have Amazon wish-lists. It is probably not as expensive as you imagine. But yes I find that when people feel helpless, doing stuff like this can help relieve burdens. In other words, be the answer to someone else's prayers.

Two: Hurricane Harvey. Sigh. Natural disasters are awful. There is only so much anyone can do to prevent them. That said, what people need now are SOLUTIONS. So yes indeed our hearts are with them. Our prayers are with them. But you don't need to tell victims this. Pray in the privacy of your house for them; you don't need to post the prayers online. Why? You ask. Well, someone online gave the best analysis for this. You see, some people stranded in the flood don't have access to power. The only access to information that can help them by providing rescue or some sort of haven is probably through social media. Such people will scour online hashtags for any information at all. Now imagine your floods of "Our thoughts and prayers are with you" obscuring actual, practical steps and provisions to save their lives. They definitely need prayers and KNOW many are praying for them. So  give way for them to see how God is coming through for them. Thank you. So in that vein, if you are posting on any social media, please post numbers of rescue organizations, places they can get help, news on what's happening etc. I saw that some took offense to this reasoning, calling it an assault on their religion. You guys really need to chill with this sensitivity and fighting for God ish. God didn't send your behind to be his defender, okay? Okay. Thanks again

Three: A conversation with my mother today about a friend who failed reminded me to reiterate this. Failure is NOT and will NEVER be the end of this world. I say this because I know it. There are not many things I can say with absolute authority because I run away from absolutes. This ONE I know without a doubt: you can RISE from failure. People often remain stuck after they fail. Instead of wallowing in it, just regroup. Create a new vision for yourself. Start again. Have you realized you have failed so badly, the school asked you to withdraw? You did bad. But you can come back from it. Maybe take a minute to figure out what works and doesn't work. But GET BACK UP. It will be hard, but you will be fine.

Well that's it.

For those headed back to school or maybe even starting college for the first time, good luck! Here is a throwback where I wrote some words to live by in college.

Love,

I

Photo credit: my sister



Friday Reflections

1.) Person of Interest is pretty dope. I mean by the time I realized it was sci-fi I was pretty sucked in already.

2.) If you are looking for a carefree, black, and uber (pun intended) successful chick, look no further than Badass Boz.

3.) Let it be known that as long as that chick is at Uber, I am NOT boycotting Uber. Yeah, I stan for my sistahs like that.

4.) Mehn I really want to like "Insecure", because again I stan for my sistahs. But the random sex with girls you met at the grocery store checkout; or desperately looking for sex so much, you practically forced your neighbor for sex; the THIRST...I really don't know anymore.

5.) "When Jesus stood on the side of justice, turning over tables- would you have said both sides are wrong?" - Austin Channing Brown

6.) What if the Western media covered Charlottesville the same way it covers other nations (particularly African nations)?

7.) Oprah Winfrey is on a roll, again.

8.) Can you love God AND trap music?

9.) This family learned to mourn their brother/son's death in their father's house.

10.) The last days of summer is seriously making me jittery/nervous/anxious.

11.) I have always thought it was possible to have a black friend, be married to  a black person, heck even have a black kid and still be racist. Anyway, read how donald ruined this dude's relationship with his mother.

On Who Your Neighbor Is And Inaction

One fine morning in December, with the glaring winter sun in full view, a man walked to work. The day before had been particularly hard, and he struggled to find any reason to show up today. But he decided to go anyway. He walked his usual route with the confidence that comes with routine, paying no mind to his surrounding. He was used to the silence that plagued the road because of how early in the day he walked. He would normally walk on the sidewalk, brushing off long branches from the trees. Today was no different. As he walked, the cool winter breeze made the branches sway back and forth. He thought about his life and how far from achieving his dreams he was when a loud jump interrupted his reverie.


Friday Reflections

1.) "I rarely  meet men in real life as extraordinary as ones on film, and rarely see women on film as extraordinary as ones I know in real life." - Twitter User, @SmartAssJen

2.) Plus size fashion can't and shouldn't be ignored anymore.

3.) Questions for Cory Taylor about dying. This might sound cliche but the article gave me renewed sense of appreciation for life; a renewed disdain for pettiness and trivial issues; and a huge amount of courage to tackle life's adversities with appreciation. Because ultimately, good times and bad times still amount to good memories.

4.) The email Hilary Clinton's pastor sent to her the day after she lost the election. I have a new saying: SUNDAY IS COMING!

4.) "HBO’s Confederate takes as its premise an ugly truth that black Americans are forced to live every day: What if the Confederacy wasn’t wholly defeated? African Americans do not need science-fiction, or really any fiction, to tell them that that 'history is still with us.'" - Ta-Nehisi Coates

5.) Here is a cold feedback from an entrepreneur who left her day job to pursue her dreams.

6.) This writer explained why she hid her second pregnancy from the internet. Spoiler alert: answer is somewhat in number 7 :)

7.) What I'll say regarding number 6 is that the decision to announce your pregnancy on social media, as with other social media displays like a new boyfriend can be tricky sometimes. Ultimately though (and this sounds cliche) do what YOU like, but try not to be so paralyzed with the fear of losing a thing that you don't celebrate it at all. Even if things [say a relationship] eventually go sour; it doesn't negate the good times.

8.) I just watched Manchester by the Sea. It's a really good movie, which despite the humor and astute dialogue, I just couldn't quite get past the sadness. The emotions were almost overwhelming, and spoiler alert: it didn't leave me feeling good. But it had the most realistic ending. This is the most comprehensive review, but also features lots of spoilers.

A Summer Update and Some Rambling

A summer update and some rambling.

I follow this incredible girls' empowerment page on Instagram. It is for:

"...fly girls who defy expectations and navigate the world on their own terms. A community. A philosophy. A safe space."

Anyway I love it.

Speaking of Instagram, follow me on Instagram! When life gets in the way of long, detailed posts, I'm pretty sure I'll still be able to post snippets there.

But more to the point, this picture struck a chord in my heart.





Isn't it just true? I remember explaining to my siblings that someone I know was enthusiastically and happily stunning for the current head of the executive branch aka a former reality tv show star aka thrice married, social media-in-chief. Now ordinarily, political differences is not enough [in my opinion] to sow a discord in any relationship. But as we have seen in recent times, it's now beyond politics and partisanship; it speaks to your values and what you hold true. Now if you were a white male, I would understand [sort of] that you are just a selfish person who cares about no one else. Okay. But this person in question isn't just black like me, he is an immigrant as well. I know too well the opportunities that his being in America has provided for him and his family. I know him so much that  I know everything donald stands for works against this dude. It's like deliberately voting AGAINST your own interest. I don't get it. Not to mention, he is a Christian. So my sister suggested just screen-munching the headlines of the day to this person to show him his folly. Because pick at random any headline, and you would see that our political leaders are not doing right by us. I just said, you know what, I am done. If I have to explain to you how this administration hurts you, well then...you are a lost cause. Do what you like.

So yes I have OUTGROWN FRIENDS WHO THOSE WHO DON'T TAKE A STAND AGAINST IGNORANCE AND INJUSTICE.

I have outgrown so many things. I don't know what it is, but my tolerance for BS reduces everyday. I am still working on outgrowing shrinking myself for people who are intimidated by my intelligent and opinionated self. I still sometimes worry about being "too much". I tell myself it's humility, but it's not. So may God help me to be unapologetically me.

I also hate small talks. Ugh. So I will avoid them at all costs. Humans of NY posted this woman's story yesterday. And I kept terming it "Goals", which is something I never do. No one's life is so great that I would want mine to be an exact replica, to be honest. But there was something about her approach to life. When someone asked what exactly made her "goals" to me. I just thought, you wouldn't understand no matter how hard I explained. The joy she radiated. The attitude and disposition towards life were admirable.




I have also overgrown society telling us how to live.



I find that people haven't yet realized how completely different human beings are from one another. So they try to dictate hard and fast rules that typically exclude people that have different temperaments. One instance is aggressive networking. I don't believe very much in it [please don't be like me oooh. Network like your life depends on it.] But I'm more of the let your work speak for you type. More on this later. I also for instance don't believe in finding your passion. So I'm different, in many ways. This isn't always good news, but I'm learning to manage my individuality. Which often than not means having to not always explain life choices every time because it's...different. And yes even to friends.

So believe me when I say I'm taking my advice  in cutting out that and those not beneficial to my mind, soul, and body.

Well, that was a long update, wasn't it?

Oh, and just because I haven't posted on this blog in August (SMH), I also want to wish my parents well here as well.



They celebrated 30 years of marriage at the beginning of August and that was awesome. People complain about what a bad rap marriage gets these days, so I like to shout out to my parents a lot so people can see that a good, long-lasting marriage is possible with the grace of God.


Love,

I


On Taking Care of Your Mental Health and Avoiding Depression

A [social media] acquaintance of my brother is going through a very rough phase of depression and suicidal thoughts, which then brought about our discussion of mental health and depression. Certain matters came up and then I decided to blog about it. Mental health is VERY important. Do not take it lightly. More so, since the current rate of suicides among young folks is becoming alarming. Anyway, here goes a list of things that can help with your mental health:

1.) Seek Help. First things first. If you have physical pains, say in your stomach or your head, you would go to the doctor or find some way to address it, right? Well the same goes for your mental health. You need to seek help somehow. Once you have constant depressive episodes and/or thoughts of suicide, it is imperative to seek help. Talk to someone: maybe family, a trusted friend, or seek the help of a professional. Some people spent a chunk of their adult years in school studying and learning this stuff. They have been trained to help you; to evaluate your lifestyle to determine causes of and kinds of depression; and if necessary prescribe medication for you. Therapists/counselors are everywhere. Use their services. And if you can't afford it, then another suggestion is to look to religious leaders. You don't even have to believe. What we say in my church is "you can belong before you believe". Just seek help somehow if what you're experiencing is too much for you to handle. If you are worried about the stigma (and thankfully people are less critical these days), but you don't have to tell everyone you are going to a therapist. Your therapist would also be bound by ethics to not reveal it to anyone.



2a.) Guard your heart. This is crucial. Everyone is woke these days and that's a good thing. The problem is an overload of information. So on a regular day on social media, people are hashtagging something, or protesting something, or crying about famine and human trafficking, or insulting donald, or racism or colorism, or bigotry. SOMETHING is always happening. Now if you are very sensitive, it's bound to affect you somehow. The helplessness in all of it alone can send you into a spiral of depression. The bitterness and vitriol. The anger. It can be exhausting and overwhelming. TUNE out. Yes, unfollow. Unsubscribe. Do what you can to protect yourself. Now at first, you will feel guilty about that because these activists and woke people are doing the Lord's work by crying out against injustice. But you also need to look out for you.

"Being woke is not an excuse to walk in lovelessness"- Preston Perry

There is only so much you can do. Also you can  NOT change the world. I don't care who you are; nobody can.  So unfollow and get yourself some peace. I'm not saying be quiet about injustice. I'm saying move at your own pace. Protest and resist your own way. The very interesting fact about the world we live in is despite everything going on, this is the most peaceful the world has been in most of history. Yes. Our ancestors were worse than us.  If you feel helpless, then volunteer in your local community. Or just give [no matter how little] to a local charity doing what tugs your heart the most. You'd be surprised how much that can help.

2b) Based on 2a above, study your triggers. How does it start? What is that thing that constantly makes you downcast, and brings heaviness to your heart? Does sexual violence bother you. Then maybe don't watch Game of Thrones. Maybe don't watch Law and Order SVU. Maybe the thought of slavery angers you so much, you can almost feel the anger physically. Then don't follow the producers that have decided to create a new show based on an alternate world where slavery still exists. I did not make that up. I digress. There are lighthearted options. Modern Family, How I Met Your Mother etc. would make you laugh so hard, you'd forget all of life's problems. Whatever you do, guard your heart FIERCELY.  Make sure you maintain your atmosphere.

3.) Try not to always live in your feelings. Your feelings don't own you. You own them. You will often feel sad, discouraged, angry... Don't dwell on them. Don't succumb to them. Speak what's real unto your life. Speak what God has said unto your life. Talk to your soul, to yourself.
Speak faith. Speak love. Speak assurance. Most especially, remind yourself of God's goodness and greatness. You will be constantly tempted to drown in your pool of emotions. Try to resist that temptation. I'm not so naive as to think everyone is a Christian. So even if you are not a Christian, you can still speak positivity into your life. Scientific research has proven how much that works. This obviously does not come easily. But so many things in life don't, and so far you have managed to achieve some of them despite the terrible odds. I'm a cynic by nature and a little bit of a pessimist myself. But I'm also a Christian. A while ago, I had to pick which one to surrender to. You guessed right. I chose to believe Jesus.

4.) This too will pass. My favorite. To be completely fair, there are some tough life situations that won't actually pass, but can be managed. However, MANY things including but not limited to [romantic] heartbreaks ALWAYS pass. Please and please and please, do not give any human so much power over you that their breaking up with you harms your mental health. I promise you, no human being is worth that much. You will be fine. There are literally millions of human beings; you will find another love.

Finally, God isn't afraid of our feelings so go ahead and tell Him how you feel. Also try to take care of your body. The physical can sometimes help the emotional. Eat well, exercise, avoid stress if you can. Immerse yourself in a community of solid friendships and relationships.  Like I always say we have an extraordinary amount of resilience in us, and we are built to weather through storms and survive. We will be okay.

Love,

I

P.S: here are helpful things to do when the waiting period seems like it's going to last forever.

Friday Reflections

1.) Please read this on why judging the poor is faulty logically. If you read carefully, you will also learn how one can do everything right but still get it wrong.

2.) When you hate political drama, but also love it. Lol. American politics is devolving. I guess we have to praise the Democrats and three Republicans who were able to save lives by voting no on repealing Obamacare

3.) Summer is really not going as planned but I'm still thankful. Plus remember this advice on what to do when things don't go as planned?

4.) I shared on Instagram that I watched this and  learnt a whole lot about the will of God. I learnt how sometimes the will of God doesn't look "pleasant". In fact the wilderness you are in might be the will of God.

5.) Follow me on Instagram. I have always wanted a space on social media to share short inspirational and motivational messages, so I created one.

6.) I can't believe (just kidding, I actually can) the president of these United States went on National T.V to encourage brutality against "gang member". Wow.

7.) American like to believe they are superior to everybody else. This is a lie. Even the very institutions that has always prevented from sinking low is now being threatened.

8.) People love a sob story, and more than anything, people love being the "savior".

9.) I am fit fam until I get a hold of Haagen Dazs.

10.) Another phase is over.

11.) Do you think guys sometimes propose because the relationship got boring and they needed something interesting/worthy of hype? I do.


Friday Reflections

1.) An open letter to clergy who prayed with Trump.

2.) A girl and a woman 58 years apart talk about life.

3.)  So did a man and a boy 57 years apart. Quite interesting.

4.) People who are trying and working hard to change the world don't spend all their time talking and tweeting about it, they just do.

5.) My girl, Mindy  Kaling is pregnant with her first child!!!

6.) Can you imagine your close friend being pregnant and you don't know who the father of her child is though? I mean, that's basically not friendship haha

7.) Did you see this practical advice on what to do while you are waiting for that big thing?

8.) Ugh I'm so sorry about Chester Bennington. I really didn't know him that well, but lots of people were very bugged down by it.

9.) Depression is very complex and multifaceted. BUT it can be dealt with. I really hope and pray people struggling can find something, someone to life them from the pit-hole.

10.) Even I don't have an explanation, but I know an answer: Jesus, the calm in the storm.

On Practical Things To Do When The Waiting Period Seems To Last Forever

Hello people!

*Try to flip hair*

*Realize that hair is too kinky and crack neck in the process*

Re do.

Hello people!

*pats hair*

That's better.

Hahaha

Seriously now. I think I should have done this a little bit earlier. But actually, it's the right time. I suppose many graduates are home now; doing the waiting game. Waiting to hear back from places you applied to. Or maybe not graduates; maybe just regular people. Maybe things are not going as you planned, which is 99% of the time in life. Seriously, the earlier everyone accepts that life rarely goes as planned, the better for everyone. So yes, you had planned the perfect summer, you had planned the perfect year, indeed you had planned the perfect life, but it's not working. Or nothing is happening right now. What do you do while you wait? How do you maximize the time? Here are a couple of suggestions.



1.) Pray: when I say pray, I don't necessarily mean badger God for that exact plan/thing you envisaged. That's not exactly a bad thing. But the essence of prayer here is to learn to relinquish your plans for God's plans. A lot of times our fixation on perfection and our own plans prevents us from noticing progress or even enjoying the present. This is what praying and seeking God helps you do. Also it helps with peace of mind and an ability to trust God. So spend time with God, getting to know more about God, listening to preachers who share God's word, and learning to have a discerning spirit, which of course you would need further down the line.


2.) Shut down social media and build your mental strength: This varies. Social media is fun. But it also can be very, very toxic. All hail the mother devil, Instagram. While you are going through a tough time, it's not especially the ideal time to watch people pretend to be living their best lives on social media. So you might need time away to clear your head. You might also need time away to keep you from bouts of envy. I mean, imagine just breaking up with the love of your life only to see everyone getting engaged or those gorgeous but flamboyant pregnancy shoots. Yeah, no. Or imagine being jobless and then logging on to see your old schoolmates bag the job of YOUR dreams, and seeing them travel the world. It's never easy, even for the best of us. At that moment, we are never logical enough to think that everyone puts their best foot forward on social media, and the pictures you see are only snapshots and peeks into perhaps, otherwise turbulent lives. That being said, it's important to become mentally strong, because you will need it in life. So learn to stop comparing your life with others; learn to stop throwing a pity party for yourself; learn to understand that sometimes things are bad, other times they are good. Indeed people's lives may be as perfect as they portray and no matter how much you convince yourself its all a facade, it really isn't. So until you learn true contentment, just stay off social media. Or keep it, and build your mental strength.

3.) Journal: maybe it sounds mushy mushy, but it helps. It helps you to think. It helps you glean from God/holyspirit/introspectiveness on what is next and how you want to move forward. You would also be able to look back and see how far God has brought you. And best of all, it's therapeutic to describe exactly how you feel. Knowing how you feel also helps with dealing with it.

4.)Open your eyes to see what lessons God has for you: this is sort of a piggyback to the last point. But every season/situation/problem most likely has a lesson for you in it. Sometimes they are not very glaring, but there are lessons. Is it a test in patience? Or in preparation? Or in hard-work? Or to get you ready for a completely different phase of life?

5.) Learn/Explore/Do something different: we all have that one thing we have always wanted to do or learn. Do it now. I'm not going to give some silly, elitist advice like travel the world or work for free or go skydiving. No. If you can't afford it, don't bother your head. But there are things you can do: learn a language? read a book? learn to code? re-read a book? write a book? learn graphic design? Maybe that concept you were taught but never really grasped because were too busy? Well, there is time now. YouTube is filled with [free] resources. The internet is filled with tons of resources. Allow for fun too; yes binge watch your favorite shows or do whatever your definition of fun is.

6.) Create a new vision: Unfortunately, it would be a lie if I said everything always works out perfectly. It doesn't. Sometimes your biggest plans fail. Sometimes you will not get that job, sorry. But is that the end? No. Re group. Someone asked TD Jakes how to continue life/cope after her divorce, because she felt like her life was over. His response was profound:

"What makes you feel like you have lost your life is that you have lost what you had in mind for your life. Which means you need a  new vision for yourself; one that does not include someone that no longer chooses to be a part of your life."

I feel like you can apply this to almost anything. Create a new vision, a new dream, something completely different if the prior plan has failed. Things and plans and even people fail. That's okay too.

One last thing is to learn to live beyond your feelings. Please, this can't be overemphasized. We can't be consumed by our feelings all the time; it's so fleeting. Our feelings should have no control over us. I have to write an entire thing on this. The root of most problems is dwelling in our feelings AND letting it conquer us. Anyway, I digress.

This is way longer than I thought, but I hope it helps someone out there going through a waiting period that seems to be lasting forever. This, too shall pass. It usually always does.


Love,

I