Category: challenge

“I am ready for love
Why are you hiding from me?
I’d quickly give my freedom
To be held in your captivity.” -india.aire
I’m trying this thing where I’m putting myself out there and actually saying yes. I haven’t read Shonda’s book yet (I’ll wait until the next century when it finally becomes available at my local library), but I’m trying proactivity, nevertheless. It’s where you meet a guy who as a nice smile, great skin and by all physical accounts doesn’t appear to be of the serial killer persuasion and you offer – unprompted – to hang out over coffee. Novel, amirite? I’ve heard that guys actually like this method of interaction, so why not? I’m grown and I’ve pretty much asked and received everything else in my life, so why not become the protagonist and spearhead my dating experience more intentionally?
However lately, I’ve been asking myself quite self-reflectively whether I would actually make a good girlfriend. The single life has made me selfish and impatient, so much so that even the idea of owning a pet makes me groan with the thought of added responsibility. That a dog could not feed itself and I would have to rush home after work to take it out to potty is beyond me.
I have a routine! I use the restroom with the door open, blasting my podcasts from my wireless speaker every morning with abandon. There is a wine glass in my bedroom that never makes it to the dishwasher in time, and I watch whatever I want on Netflix knowing no one else would care. Is this what people do in relationships do too, because I can’t imagine switching this up. Additionally, by all accounts from the hitched-up women in my life, men have needs. Like actual egos and needs and wants and habits that need addressing and negotiation. They say it’s beautiful; I don’t know, it’s been a while.
Perhaps it’s the commitment of it that makes me wonder… the wondering whether I would have to drastically change to accommodate another human form that I have affections for (child-raising makes me nervous, too, btw!). Or that I would passively be in support of problematic thinking. For instance, I cannot imagine tempering my feminism and blackness and Naijaness to make a man feel comfortable. I can negotiate room temperature preferences to a point, but I’m not giving up pepper-sauteed snails because you have a moral obligation to the consumption of molluscs. I would find it immeasurably unforgiving to hear ideologies that are anti-humanity:
…Amber Rose is a hoe; she ain’t no Ayesha Curry; so if Kanye disrespects her, you can’t really blame him, can you? 
…Syrian refugees should really just stick it out; ISIS is a problem everywhere and all, but we don’t have room! 
…but you gotta admit that black people really need to focus on black on black crime; if we can’t help ourselves, who will?
While it’s taken me lots of growing up, exposure, personal research and trial and error to form the ideologies I hold, one cannot blame me for ghosting gentlemen who are fundamentally perpendicular to my value system. Also, the idea of sharing a lamb chop dinner with someone who doesn’t like me asking questions and who thinks it’s natural for a girlfriend to teach them household cleanliness is beyond me. How will I function?
Has my millennial sensibilities categorized me as a difficult woman?
Alas, here I am! A basket full of peculiar impatience, ready to meet someone who laughs as generously as I do and thinks Instagram celebrity arguments are fascinating to talk about during How to Get Away With Murder commercial breaks. I’m outchea – taking numbers and texting back, even wiping right on Tinder on occasion. I’m charming enough for a second date, me thinks. Will walk cautiously into relationship possibilities… so yanno, heart open and what not!
kylli sparre

I can beat the night, I’m not afraid of thunder

I am full of light, I am full of wonder

New year, who dis?
It’s a new year and in typical fashion it makes sense to ready the vision boards, create the resolutions/goals lists, decorate the gratitude jars, muster up the courage to finally tell your boss you deserve that raise, block the unrelenting ex and other similar lovers who didn’t make the 365-day cut, etc. etc. etc… I’m right there with you. I’m expectant. Nay, I’m impatient. We are six days into the year and I’m AWL ready for the glory that awaits. I’m not sure I have the words yet to properly articulate how much I need 2016 to be a great year for me. I’ve commenced, in full form, my Beyoncé year, so there is no time to waste!
There are three life skills and goals I must master (to any greater degree!) this year:
a) Learning to play my tenor sax, as I’ve had this amazing instrument for years and have yet to acquire real proficiency;
b) Learning French, as I’ve literally learned this language on and off for 30 years; enough is enough; and
c) Allowing myself more humanity, as I need to make sure that in a world where steely confidence is seen as an asset and a security blanket, I don’t forget that I’m fucking human and crying in my car on the way to work because a song really spoke to me particularly is quite alright and well within the purview of self-care, healing and personal strength. Whew!
So here’s to 2016; may it be full of wonder!
women

What Professional Women Want

What women want.

Ugh the generalisations! Quelle surprise, women do not all want the same thing. Women, akin to other racial, ethnic, sexual, etc., minorities, are not a monolith. I really hope that this rather is obvious, nevertheless let the record explicitly show: women are not a monolith; we don’t all want the same things. The other day, I came across a LinkedIn blog post about the professional woman. Suffice to say, I have many thoughts I thought I’d mull over here.

The globalness of this so-called global LinkedIn study
I’m sure you know where I’m going with this… How does a global LinkedIn study exclude the entirety of the African continent? Apparently, there are no working, professional women in the whole African continent who could lend voice? The study managed to survey two-thirds of North America, seven countries in Europe, yet only two countries in Asia and one country in South America. Deplorable. I realise that this is just an infographic, but as a critical reader and ingest-er of information, I have to ask: what the hell was in the inclusion criteria that not a single country in Africa made the cut? But, you know what? I’m venting.

 

The point is: if you want to talk about the experience of professional women globally and exclude the whole of Africa, it sends a very strong message about LinkedIn’s perceptions of the professionalism of African women, does it not?

Don’t re-invent the wheel
At any rate, according to their data, professional women in the US believe success in the workplace means finding the right balance between work responsibilities and personal life. I can’t disagree – a successful career is one where there is optimal balance in all aspects of existence. She goes on to outline how women can achieve this grand career desire:

1. Build a name for yourself.
2. Be heard.
3. Be informed.
4. Don’t reinvent the wheel.

Point number four, specifically: don’t reinvent the wheel. As a young professional, I think it’s challenging – albeit not impossible – to find that unique, totally original space to occupy. Innovation is not easy. Let’s be real; what idea have you had that’s not already been done? Hence, to a degree I can appreciate the comment in the article: “get access to the information that is readily available and add to it”. Add to it. However, innovation is not solely in the additional parts. It is in the very voice you (and you alone) can bring. Literally, you are an endangered species. So, while starting a blog about natural hair care for Black girls with 4A-4C hair types, for instance, is not unique – you know there are hundreds of blogs and YouTube channels for that – blogging from your experience is.

 

The innovation is the combination of your voice and whatever you are adding to whatever is pre-existing. Wheel re-invention is often necessary in order to find those unique additions. Creating something brand-spanking new is good, novel even. But honestly, it’s challenging as hell. So, rather than fret over being the next stellar blogger with international readership and Forbes Magazine’s blessing as the best blog for young people under 40, start from what you know, add to what you know, and tell your authentic story.

Shoot. That’s what I’m doing…

And for creative inspiration, listen to some of the things Ira Glass said on the creative process. I re-visit it from time to time.

gym life

My Body, OrangeTheory and the Plight of Purchasing Ls when You Can Start Wearing Ms

Everyone’s a little body conscious. For the sake of saying it aloud, I strongly believe men are just as insecure about their bodies as women are. Men and women face similarly impossible standards of beauty and attraction. I really don’t know why we do this to ourselves …but this post isn’t about society’s standards of beauty. Frankly, it can kiss the roundest part of my ass. What this post is about, however …well, it’s about my health journey. And in case you missed some of my other posts about this epic quest, find ’em here and here. More precisely, this post is a snapshot of some thoughts that have been circulating my mind in recent days…

I think I have an extremely mild version of body dysmorphia. There. I’ve said it out loud. Body dysmorphia, not at all to be taken lightly, is a serious disorder involving the belief that your appearance is unusually defective and in need of being hidden or fixed. Half of those diagnosed with this condition spend over three hours everyday attempting to conceal or correct their perceived flaws. If said perceived flaw had any actual merit, it is typically minor, though severely exaggerated. While relatively common (affecting 1-2% of the population; I assume the US population), it is prevalent equally among men and women (thusly proving my initial point!). So, no, this is not a disorder to be taken lightly. Please read on, I will link to some support networks to tap into. You are not alone.

I don’t think my insecurities are at all unique, but growing up, I’ve always harboured the notion that I’m a big girl. Intellectually, I know I’m not. Emotionally, I’m a big girl. So once I crossed size 10 into size 12, I was fairly solid on the fact that I had become a whale and with it came the layered outfits and the large sized clothing and the leggings, in lieu of jeans. Man, I refused jeans for so long that I began to actually believe that I don’t wear jeans on principle. The lies we tell ourselves!

…and it has never helped that throughout my life, when encountering family friends or relatives, I’d get hit with the “ahhh udee, you’re putting on weight o!” Nigerians have a knack for unsolicited insults in the guise of harmless observations. Kicker? I’d get that commentary after said noble observer hadn’t set eyes on me since I was a straw-like adolescent. In my head, I’m screaming, “You realise I was a child when you saw me last, right? I’m a damn woman now! You see these hips?!” Still, the comments stuck.

Enter OrangeTheory Fitness in July 2014. I’m at my heaviest and least confident. But I had found the holy grail! Fast forward eight months later, despite the tears (cried in my car after a workout twice, cos I was so tired and it was so hard and I couldn’t get 12 minutes in the orange!) and the monetary commitment, I am a better woman for it! Can’t lie though, I have not lost a tremendous amount of weight, but I am stronger, I feel better and I’m more mindful. Yes, it has taken me eight months to get into better mental thinking about my health. Shoot, juxtapose that with a lifetime of caring somewhat, but doing nothing. As if I need to defend myself!

The real mental challenge in all this has been in the shredding down from large sized clothes to mediums. Now I have no clue what size I am. Am I still the comfortable large or the work-in-progress, getting-there, more-toned medium? Do I take the risk of attempting to slip into a medium, only to be sorely disappointed and re-begin my “I am enough for this damn top” mantra? This is my current struggle. Eight months in, still super confused. Interlace that with all this new-found confidence. Just a mess.

Anyway, the moral of the story: losing weight, scheduling regular work out sessions, eating clean, replacing sodas with water… (in the face of sufficient resources) is a mental realignment. My perception is still skewed. I’m not fitting into a size 6. Jean shopping still causes me anxiety. I dislike hate loathe burpees. But.What.Ev.Er. I’m happy, that’s all I need.

If you are reading this and feel like you or someone you care about is experiencing any form of insecurity about your/their body that goes beyond the fleeting “damn I ought to get to the gym” three-second thought; if you need someone to talk to, please use the following helplines (USA & for the state of Georgia):

  • National Eating Disorders Association Information and Referral Helpline:
    Provides support services, help, and guidance to people struggling with eating disorders, their loved ones, and families.

    • 1-800-931-2237
  • National Mental Health Association:
    Provides free information on specific disorders, referral directory to mental health providers, national directory of local mental health associations, and a Stigma Watch.

    • 1-800-969-NMHA
    • (800-969-6642)
 

EATING DISORDER PROFESSIONALS

AUGUSTA, GA

Karen Shaw Burch, MFT

Address: 3150 Perimeter Parkway, Suite 110, Augusta, GA 30909
Phone: (706)210-4843  Fax (706)210-4842
Email: kshawburch@aol.com
Treatment Models: Individual Therapy, Couples Therapy and Family Therapy through CBT, Feminist, Interpersocial, Psychodynamic and Family Systems.
Clients Include: Women, Men, Adolescents (age 13+), Elderly, and Athletes struggling with Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia Nervosa, Binge Eating Disorder, Body Dysmorphic Disorder, Obesity, Self-injury, OCD and Drug/Alcohol Addiction.
  • 35 years in practice
  • Accepts Credit Cards and Insurance

SMYRNA, GA

Joanne Pulley, MS, LPC

Address: 4015 South Cobb Drive Suite 250, Smyrna, GA, 30080
Phone: (770) 434-4568 x. 4103 Fax: (770) 434-5136
Treatment Models: Individual sessions, Group Sessions, Couples sessions, and Family sessions Biopsychosocial, DBT, CBT, Interpersonal, Psychodynamic, and Family Systems.
Clients Include: Women, Men, Adolescents (age 12+) struggling with Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia Nervosa, Binge Eating Disorder, Obesity, Compulsive Exercise, Nutrition, Somatic, Self-Injury and OCD.
  • 13 years in practice
  • Accepts Credit Cards

WordXWord 3030poetry April Challenge

So far, I’ve had quite a bit of fun with this writing challenge! 30 days 30 poems for the month of April. Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve gotten to explore my writing commitment in a way I previously have not. I never seem to create the time, if even 10mins, to write everyday. And I mean every single day. But this challenge has been quite enjoyable, as the writing prompts consist of just a few words, thus allowing the endlessness of possible interpretations. If you have not signed up already, it’s never too late to join the challenge.
Write for yourself; you’ll find the whole ordeal more worthwhile that way!