The pressure of turning 21.

There has always been this rule about turning twenty one, it’s not a written or legal rule but yet everybody knows about it. The rule states that on your 21st birthday “Thou shall do something wild and crazy” because it’s your first step into adult life, although last time I checked 18 is the legal age into adulthood and of course on a persons 18th, they still feel pressured to do something extravagant.

I turned 21 yesterday. and I’ve been planning what to do since summer. I’m not the type of person to celebrate her birthday – what I usually do is sit in my bed with a bowl of ice cream or any type of dessert I wouldn’t usually treat myself to (I’m a big fan of desserts) and it’s during this period that I feel like I deserve a whole serving of vanilla cheesecake.

I’m not exactly sure why I celebrate in  this way, sometimes I do go out with friends for dinner but I think one reason is because of the time of my birthday. November. Right after Halloween, Right before Christmas and most of all, exam period. In the 5 years I spent at secondary school, I had an exam at least twice on my birthday so there wasn’t any time to do something fun because I always had revision.

At college, my coursework deadline was around my birthday so I would hand in my work and go home to treat myself. This carried on into university and now that I’m in my final year, it’s still the same thing, I have a pile of work that I’m going to have to demolish in a second but I was never bothered with the timing of where my day landed. I’m a quiet person, I don’t like noise so staying home for my birthday wasn’t a problem, after all, I received messages from people that loved me, people that mattered and that always made me smile.

However, this year, I realised I was going to turn 21, this was my time to do something different, something memorable, something bigger than vanilla cheesecake. Everywhere I turned someone was throwing the question at me: “what will you be doing for your 21st?” and I usually responded with a blank expression on my face: “i duno yet” family and friends were counting down for me “4 months to go… 3 months to go … 3 weeks to go … 5 days to go…” and I felt like whatever I have planned must be good enough to wow all of this people.

I decided to do a three-day celebration since my birthday fell on a Saturday. Friday was for partying in the city, Saturday was a spa day in the countryside and Sunday was dinner – to tie the weekend together. I spent most of my time in the library looking for places to go on Friday night, what hotel to have the spa, what restaurant to eat taking into consideration the price, location and travel. Seeing as my friends and I were all students (some working, some not) I had to make sure things were accessible and affordable. I initially wanted to travel out of London as I have never taken holiday away from home but price and the fact that I have a lot of coursework to get through couldn’t allow it.

I was stressed up until the Friday before my birthday, we ended up missing the show we paid to see but we still went clubbing in freezing temperatures but I enjoyed those few hours until we got back to the hotel and things weren’t going the way I imagined it would in my head and somehow I was the one to blame, my friends would turn to me to ask why this isn’t working, why that didn’t happen, why whatever was whatever. There is a lot of pressure being a host or organiser but I expected my friends to let me have the peaceful birthday I came there for. It didn’t feel like my birthday and I didn’t enjoy it even though I put my bank in debt because of it. Everyone was moany, bored and by the end of the night, we weren’t speaking to each other.

When I came home, I found a birthday card from family and after reading the note inside, it suddenly felt like it was my birthday, all I needed was something so small and meaningful to make my day. All the fancy outfits, the moneys spent, the fancy hotel, the dip-in-chocolate spa treatment (amazing by the way) were really not that important and because I spent so long trying to make it all perfect, I was tired and when it didn’t even go to plan, I was stressed.

I appreciate all the people that were involved, my friends for leaving their lives to come and celebrate with me and my family for helping me put it together, but I now know that all that matters to me isn’t what I spend my day doing but who I spend it with, not how many messages I got but who I got my messages from.

What I’m trying to say is, don’t expect things to go exactly the way you planned because you will go crazy when it doesn’t and you’ll spend your day being grumpy George instead of happy Jane. Take life as it comes because it has a lot of curves and DON’T FEEL PRESSURED TO HAVE A BIG BIRTHDAY! Fly a kite if that’s all you want. That’s why next year, for my 22nd, I’ll be sitting in McDonalds with 5 cups of McFlurry 🙂

I’m going to get myself ready for the last part of my birthday weekend now. Have a good evening.

 

(P.S I don’t know who George and Jane are lol)

How comparing yourself slows you down.

Every so often each one of us gets to a point in life where the beauty in someone else’s work attracts us, but not only attracts us, makes us think. The thinking gets deeper when it’s someone you know or someone who is in the same age group as you. “Why can’t I do that? We’re the same age, same size and we use the same tools”

It’s not jealousy; it’s simply wishing you had gone that far also. Jealousy is seeing someone succeed and hating them for it. In this case you’re not jealous but you’re not inspired either. You start looking for reasons to why you aren’t there yet instead of how you will get there.

You keep thinking more and more, eventually you start to believe maybe you’re not meant to be there, maybe you can’t do it and you become uninspired.

Imagine this, there’s a group of 3 friends who went to university together, studying similar courses but not exact same course. As soon as they graduate, the first friend lands a job at a big company, the other two are happy for her. The second friend starts her own business, it’s still small but she’s happy doing it. The last friend wants a job at a big company too but she’s still struggling with her part time job which she’s had since university. Every day, she sees herself as a failure because her friends have made a move in life and she’s still in the same place.

While some people see other people’s success as motivation to strive harder to reach the top and become even more successful than their motivator, some people just feel taken over; they feel they can’t beat that effort.

The problem here is comparison. Comparing yourself to other people will take your eyes off your own goals. Even if watching someone else’s success motivates you, it could be motivating you in the wrong direction because you will start following their ways of doing things so that you can reach that level too but that way has already been done so your finished product will start to resemble their success and not your success.

I agree, sometimes we need to see the different ways of doing things and how other people work but comparing your work to theirs will surely slow you down. Success for all of us is different and we accomplish different things at different stages of our lives. You might be thinking since your friends are all doing one thing, you should be doing it also but you really should do things at your own pace. Don’t push yourself too hard but don’t relax and think you have all the time in the world. Do what you want when you want and your reward will come when it comes.

Comparing yourself will start to confuse you: you might begin to think “well this person has already done it perfectly, so why do I need to do it”, “I can never be great”, “maybe I’m not doing the wrong course or job” and your insecurities will start to grow, you will only see negatives about yourself instead of the many positives.

Here are ways to keep your eyes on your own goal:

1. Define what success means to you. Is it having a well-rounded happy family of your own, or making thousands of money? Is success to you being content in the next stages of your life, being happy no matter the issue? Staying active till you grow too old to be active? Think hard about your direction and where you want your destination to be. (Everyone wants to make money but it’s not everyone’s main aim in life)

2. Make a move. Make it a habit to do something every day towards your future, before you know it you’ll be living the life you want. Going back to the scenario earlier, because the last friend keeps comparing her success to her friends’ she’s lost hope in her abilities but you don’t know your tomorrow so better start stepping today. Your friends’ succeeding today doesn’t mean you will never succeed, it just means your success is on another day, take a step each day and your day will get closer.

3. Be happy with your own work. Look back at everything you do and give yourself a pat on the back for completing it or if you haven’t finished it yet, congrats on starting it, it’s a step forward. We all know we work better when we are praised for our efforts so praise yourself if there’s no one to praise you. And when you look back you will see how far you’ve come.

You want to be happy? Then be.

This post might come across as a little bit hard but I don’t mean it to 🙂

In this unpredictable and confusing world, being happy might seem like a difficult state to be in. You’ve just been laid off work or just went through a break up or you lost a close one, these happenings and many others are enough to make you not want to be happy.

I have a few friends who are unhappy for personal reasons – all different. Friend A is unhappy because she doesn’t have a man, friend B is unhappy with her weight and friend C hates her body shape. As a friend I want to comfort them to feel better about themselves but at the same time I have to be honest:

  1. Don’t attach your happiness to a man! Or any human being for that matter, if they leave, will you be sad forever?
  2. You don’t like your weight, change it! It’s even easier now to find out about healthy eating and workouts, you don’t even need to sign up to the gym, all this you can find on the internet. As women, we’re always comparing our sizes to other women and it’s not healthy, furthermore, it’ll drive you nuts. Be happy with your size no matter your size unless your doctor says otherwise but that doesn’t mean you should be stick thin or look like every other woman.
  3. Body shapes. Hourglass, pear-shape, apple, martini … honestly, focusing on these body types will cause you to be more insecure about your body than anything else, okay so you found out you’re bigger on the top, so what?! That must mean you have great legs – focus on your good points than your negative points, dear.

Many people attach their happiness to objects, things or even imaginary things, but these things will eventually fade, my advice is to face reality, anything that doesn’t make you happy, change it. It’s easier said than done of course but you have to choose to be happy, always look at the positive. Oh, you lost your job? Get a new one or even take a vacation to clear your mind and maybe find a new direction. You broke up with your boyfriend? You still have friends, spend time with them; they will definitely get your mind off your break up. You lost a family member? This is sure to bring you down hard and it takes time to recover but look back on the memories you had with them and not the fact that they won’t be there tomorrow… you will find yourself smiling at a point.

My hair rant.

This is not going to be a natural hair ‘nazi’ preach. just an analysation.

I’m someone who’s been wearing weave since I was about 15 and last year, I left out my real hair so it could breathe and grow. At first I had a lot of nice comments from it, maybe because people were happy to see me try something new, but then people started to ask when I was going to get my hair done and I was a little confused because to me, it was done.

But I didn’t see it as anything bad, I think they were just used to seeing me with long hair.   What I did notice while I had my short afro was that I was attracting a new type of guys. I attracted a lot of Rastafarian’s and older, more mature men. I mean, I attract older guys anyway because I’ve always been told I look older than my age, but this time it was different.

I’ve got weave in at the moment, and suddenly, the younger guys are starting to look my way again.

And that’s what’s got me confused because a lot of these younger guys or guys my age who talk to me now because I have my ‘nice weave’ in are the same guys that have this on their Facebook or Twitter pages:

OK, I know this might just be a joke and I’ve laughed at it many times before because some ladies do go overboard with the fakeness, but it’s like when these guys do see a natural faced, natural-hair or natural-complexion woman, they don’t know how to appreciate it. They have this sort of look on their faces like “why does she look like that?”

If she’s dark skinned, it’s “I like my women to have a Lauren London skin tone” caramel I think they call it.

If she’s not wearing make-up, it’s”she’s got too much spots” or “her face looks dry” or “she’s ugly, she needs to put some make-up on” <I’ve actually heard that.

If she has her real hair out,(in the case of a black girl)  it’s “oh she’s too African” or “she needs to get her hair done”

Back to the point though: while I had my natural short hair, a lot of women complimented me on it, some said I was so brave for leaving my hair out – I don’t know why they say brave, it’s not like I fought a tiger to get it that way – but while a lot of beautiful ladies said they liked it, not a lot of them wanted to leave their hair out and it wasn’t because of the cold. I got a sense from some of them that if they had their hair out they would feel ugly and boys wouldn’t like them. I know some of you now are probably laughing in your head thinking that’s silly but a lot of young ladies believe this. I didn’t feel ugly when I had my hair out, I missed my long hair at times though … but I think a lot of boys thought I was weird looking or “ugly” because none of them showed any interest, they probably thought I took myself too seriously because I was proud of my short afro (or maybe I am just  ugly :p lol)

I actually got a comment today from a friend of mine, he said: “I prefer this look” he was talking about my hair(weave)  of course, he obviously didn’t like my short afro. I’m not upset or taking anything to heart, of course, every girl has the choice to put weave in her hair and she can decide to leave her hair out too and same with boys, they can choose to date any type of girl they like. Each to their own.

I guess my point is some women may like something but because they don’t think a man will like it, they don’t do it. Too many care too much what a man will think.

In terms of fashion, sometimes I wear clothes that I label mentally “the man repeller” because they’re so beautiful in my eyes but I know most guys won’t even look at me twice when wearing them. I don’t mind, I still wear it, I just prepare myself for the ugly looks I receive that day.

I’m not going to blame the media for this, I think the media gets blamed for a lot today. I think people just need to learn how not to be controlled by media because the media isn’t going anywhere, love. The media is put together by people just like us – they’re not robots, if they can create movements and cause so much change  then I’m pretty sure you can to. You just have to find your way.

What I will say when it comes to black women and their hair? – IF YOU CAN’T GROW IT, SEW IT, but don’t lose yourself in it.

I had my hair out for the first time in my life last year for only 4 months and I noticed all of this during that time.

Have a good day.

The ‘N’ word

I read in a newspaper today that a white man had been released with no charges after he was accused of being racist.

What had happened was, he was rapping to a rap song and the word nigga happened to be involved in the lyrics. At the time when this guy was rapping, he was with his friends who were black and were rapping along too but apparently they were upset about him using the “N” word.

Now, I’m not much of a historian but I know that word weren’t used in a pleasant way, what I don’t get are black men who use this word so casually everyday and there excuse is “because I’m black, its OK for me to say it” but once someone else uses the word, they get upset?!!

How many times have you heard a parent or adult say to someone younger than them: “if you want to be treated like an adult, act like one!”

I believe once black men stop using this word, everyone else will follow, if not then they can be arrested or whatever the law is for verbal racial abuse. Don’t say you don’t want to be called something but still call your friends that, you  might not mean it in that way but other people might see it as an approval to use that word.

If you want to be respected, stop using words to degrade yourself.