Black is King. A simple three-word phrase that is synonymous with Beyoncé telling us fellow Black humans that we are glorious. In fact, she says “let Black be synonymous with glory.” If we focus on just glorifying blackness at the root, then she did that. But if we think about blackness as a big oak tree rather than a root, then she only scratched the surface. And she scratched that surface beautifully, might I add. With her beautiful rhythm of dance, color in super HD quality, regal hairstyles, and the celebration of black bodies, she did that exceedingly beautifully. However, what missed the mark for me was that the Black is King story focused on Africa. Yes, the Lion King is African and blackness as well as humanity originates in Africa but the Africa she chose to focus on was historical Africa instead of showcasing present-day Africa as well.
This is evident in the focus on historic Egyptian headpieces and traditional hairstyles such as those seen below.
It is also evident in the landscapes chosen as the backdrops chosen for the Black is King film which present Africa as just beautiful Natural Geographic worthy scenes without showcasing the developed cityscapes of Africa. Again, I do think that her point was to show historic Africa rather than present-day Africa so I can understand that vision. However, I am sure Beyoncé does not in the bushes when she visits African countries so why not the 5-star African hotels that she probably frequents. Why not show the Africa that exists today? Why not show landscapes different from what National Geographic shows already? Sure, adding her body and several dancers couples with great costumes does show a different perspective but this vision could have been bigger. Even the movie Black Panther tried to connect Africa with African Americans in the end with the scene shot in Compton. On the same note, I think Beyoncé could have tried to connect more dots in the film Black is King. Black is not just King when it relates to Africa. Black is King in the NBA, in the NFL, in music, in educational excellence, and the list goes on. People might say I am missing the point of the film but please think about the fact that Beyoncé’s last three tours did not include any African countries. So with that record, I can see how people can interpret that Beyoncé doesn’t truly care about Africa and is just using African culture for capitalistic gain. However, I do have to applaud her for her effort in glorifying Blackness. I did feel proud to be black while watching Black is King so if that was her mission then she achieved it. However, if she was trying to make a statement on Africa then she definitely missed that mark. Let me remind you that Africa is a continent made up of 54 countries. Fifty-Four. So maybe we are asking too much from Beyoncé in representing Africa cohesively. Maybe we should not expect that a film that is one hour and 25 minutes long can do so much for us. With that said, maybe we should just appreciate Black is King for what it is: a film with impeccable costumes, storytelling, and rhythm in dance as well as music.
The music is actually my favorite part about Black is King with “Find your way back” as my top song pick. I also appreciate that Beyoncé made an effort to collaborate with African musicians such as Yemi Alade, Shatta Wale, and Wizkid. While the representation of Africa was not cohesive, I found the music to be well organized. I think great music is what we can truly expect from the multi-Grammy award-winning artists that Beyoncé is and she did that beautifully. So Beyoncé, please don’t go chasing waterfalls the next time you’re in Africa. We’ve seen enough African waterfalls. Show us something different. Please and Thank you.
From the moment you become responsible for your life choices (let’s say adulthood), you become married despite your relationship status. Why? Because self-love is marriage. Self-love is a life-long commitment to one-self to make decisions that serve to protect and flourish oneself. Therefore, I believe that we enter a polygamous relationship when we get married to another person. How? Because your love for one-self should not dissolve once you say “I do” to another person. Love has to be divided between love for yourself and for the other person. Or if you and your partner are truly in sync, then theoretically loving the other person is like loving yourself. Either way, self-love should not be compromised in order to love another person: that would be the definition of a toxic relationship.
I am not a married person myself so my perspective may be a bit extreme but from what I have heard from people like Will and Jada Smith is that a relationship cannot complete you. You complete yourself through self-love. This is why understanding yourself and dating yourself first, before and during marriage is so important. Another person can only complement who you are. So I guess the “he/she is my other half” statement is a bit misleading. We are all our own people. A better statement that is now becoming popular is “I choose to love my husband/wife each and every day.” I agree with this statement more as it highlights that love is a choice. It’s not a feeling; lust is a feeling. Love is a choice and you have to mentally decide to love your partner through sickness and in health till do death you part.
Some people wonder about unconditional love. However, I think it is rare to find unconditional love between romantic love. I think unconditional love is usually for parents and children. Most people have a mental list of actions that would make them walk away from their partner: infidelity, dishonesty, addiction, and the list goes on. But I do recognize that most people continue to love the people who they walked away from or who walked away from them. However, that love decreases in intensity and is not as compelling for them to want to be with that other person. Therefore, I am of the theory that love does have conditions.
To tie the concept of unconditional love and self-love, I believe that we learn our requirements or conditions of love by loving ourselves. When you don’t tolerate negative self-talk, you will not accept someone talking to you in any kind of way. When you follow through on your goals and commitments to yourself, you won’t allow someone to tell you that you are too high maintenance or that your conditions are unreasonable. Therefore, how you love yourself provides the blueprint of how someone else is to love you. I wish you all success in love to yourself and to or from others. 🙂 ❤
The picture to the left was taken at my best friend’s Vietnamese wedding/tea ceremony. It was a beautiful display of love and tradition. It was an honor being there for her big day. According to my dad, love is taking care. As her maid of honor, I have observed how both she and her now-husband care for each other ❤
Flowers were a major theme of both her Vietnamese and American weddings. Today, I found this poem I had started writing a while back and it reminded me of how understanding how to love a person can be as difficult as learning how to keep a flower or any plant alive. The poem is kind of somber but I hope you enjoy it ❤
You want to possess me
but you don’t nourish me.
You forget that even a rose withers
when it’s not watered.
You tend to my petals
but you forget my thorns.
You seek to explore my beauty
but don't seek to understand my flaws.
You look at me with lust in your eyes
yet you do not see me.
You touch my skin
but you don’t feel what’s inside.
I am more than this shell.
I am more than how my name is spelled.
I am more than the cards life has dealt.
I am more complex than the ocean’s depth.
With half a year officially gone, I would like to remind you that you are amazing for sticking through this thing we call life. Many people wanted to be here today and some did not make it so you definitely have something to be grateful for. I personally challenged myself to write 10 things that make me #blessed. Here we go:
1. That I have survived, may I say I have even thrived, in the first half of the year. All praise to the most high.
2. My niece can actually speak whole sentences now and it quite an intelligent little girl.
3. My brother has now been in the professional work force for a whole year. Congrats little bro.
4. My family has overcome challenges that life has thrown at us and it always makes us even stronger when we’re together
5. I started the year off in the motherland facing Mt. Kenya and on the equator line.
6. The tennis league that I am a part of qualified to the state championships where I won 2 matches and lost one.
7. I have been able to balance both my work and personal life.
8. I have had this blog for about 2.5 years now.
9. I got a pedicure this weekend and decided to be more adventurous so I got hot pink instead of my usual lilac color.
10. I bought some jeans online and when they came in the mail I was expecting to be disappointed. But to my surprise, they fit perfectly; even better than the ones I’ve bought in a walk-in store.
And with that, I hope my jean story inspires you to take more risk. FYI I bought a size up so in case they didn’t fit, I could gift them to my friend so maybe also karma rewards us when we think of others. Happy rest of 2019 😊❤️
Since birth, I have always been a daddy’s girl. When my mom used to get frustrated doing my hair as a little girl and want to shave it, my father would tell her to dare to cut it and risk getting returned to her village (this was obviously a joke by the way). But yes, my dad has always looked out for my best interest. When I wanted to get my hair chemically relaxed to be straight, he said no but since I wanted it so bad, my mom said yes. Now I wish I had listened to my father because my hair was so much healthier before. In fact, people I grew up with in Kenya remember me for my long hair. Hair stories aside, I sought my dad’s satisfaction the most (see previous post about how I tried to remain neutral in who I loved more). I think this was because my dad was very social and would brag about the exploits of my siblings and I to anyone who would listen. My mother is more introverted so not so much bragging there but of course, we could tell when she was proud of us too.
They say that when a woman looks for a man, we look for our father’s or our brother’s characteristics in the man we marry. Sometimes, consciously and sometimes, subconsciously. In one of my previous relationships, the guy told me that his goal was to love me more than my father loves me. I did not think much about it then but recently, I thought about it and realized that the man who promised me this made a promise he could not keep. For one, my father has never put me in any situation that could hurt me. Secondly, my father will go above and beyond for anything that is important to me. Finally, I am named after my father’s mother so my father not only sees me as his daughter but also as the spirit of his mother. In essence, my father loves me as one would love their mother and child at the same time.
I am not saying that your spouse can or cannot love you more than your parents. That is too deep of a philosophical question to answer in a blog post but what I do know is that as a woman, your relationship with your father plays a major role in your life. I know some people who did not have the most present or loving father and so they look to God to be their heavenly father. I think this is because we all desire security and love especially when we are young. I am blessed that my father provided both needs. He is not a perfect person but I can definitely say that I would not be the person that I am today, including my achievements, without his support. And to defy societal standards a bit let me share a few interesting characteristics about my dad:
He has beautiful handwriting, actually better than my mom’s because he was taught calligraphy as a child.
He is really good at cutting paper in a straight line and stayed up with me several times during my science fair projects to help me decorate my posters.
The quote that I remember most from him is “work smarter not harder”. As such, I have a slight obsession with problem-solving and have a slight pet peeve with inefficiency
To make this blog post more well-rounded, I will say that we should all aim to be better than our parents and so I am not blind to any bad qualities that I may have picked up from my parents. But I think if you ever ask a woman whether she would prefer a better husband to her or a better father for her kids, she would go with the latter. So with that, thank you to the fathers who help to bring up good human beings into our society. Apparently, some countries celebrate fathers’ day in March so I guess this early fathers’ day blog post for those of us in the U.S.A while it is in due time for others. Either way, thank you for reading. 🙂 ❤
I know this is a complicated title but I think it is going to make a lot of sense in the end. So I recently watched a sermon by Steven Furtick who is the lead pastor at Elevation Church in Charlotte, North Carolina. In his sermon, he talks about confidence and how we must lose confidence in the flesh (ourselves and other humans) by gaining confidence in the Lord. He also addresses how our comparison to others can be a bad thing while comparing ourselves to Jesus/God can be a good thing. Why? Because God/Jesus isn’t using mad filters and great photography angles while wearing Gucci sandals to post on Instagram. God/Jesus is perfect and therefore, does not have to fake it till he/she makes it. God/Jesus does not even have a star on the Hollywood walk of fame. Therefore, when we look up to God/Jesus we are pursuing an authentic purpose where comparing ourselves to other flawed beings is pointless.
This sermon really touched base for me because I have been/still is that person that is faking it till they are making it and setting unnecessary pressures on myself because I have confidence in my flesh. Really I should be reminding myself of the grace that God has given us to make mistakes and not be perfect like him/her. So recognizing that you are just human is really important especially when your role models are humans. I came to realize at the end of my college years (my last graduation was last year by the way so I still remember them pretty well) that all the people I looked up to were inherently flawed. There were professors that I looked up to due to their work ethic but their love life was in shambles. There were career mentors that I looked up to who valued work more than mental/emotional health. All this kind of crushed me at first because I had to re-evaluate what I was chasing but eventually it led me to have peace and faith in something greater than myself.
I initially discovered pastor Steven Furtick when I was going through that tough re-evaluation time where I had a lot of anxiety about the future. Despite being very hip and wearing Yeezy’s to church which some of the older generations would frown upon, Furtick has really great messages and I find him pretty funny which is a great quality for a pastor to have. I think if I lived in Charlotte, I would go to church every Sunday but since he is not, I watch him on YouTube. For those curious about him, I will link this particular sermon below. I hope you may find peace and meaning in your life. That to me is Nirvana (enlightenment) but that is a story for another time.
As you can see in the picture my work uniform is all black. Each department in a hospital usually has its own color for scrubs, like the OR/surgical area is usually green while nurses wear blue. In some hospitals, pharmacists wear blue too but I ended up in a hospital where the pharmacy department wears black. As a black wardrobe enthusiast, I was still a little disappointed because my favorite color is blue. However, I have come to love it as the attire reminds me of what a ninja would wear. So here I am, a pharmacist by day and a ninja by night haha.
Have little to zero expectations. The number one killer of happiness is having a set mind on how you want something to be. Usually, this something is beyond your control. As you may have already found out by now or will eventually figure out, you cannot control your work environment unless you are a big shot like Oprah who owns a lot of resources in her line of work. But big shots aren’t born overnight so even Oprah had to deal with work environments that she did not control when starting her career. So have very little expectations about your job especially the personalities of the people you’ll work with. Which brings me to my next point: co-workers.
Learn to deal with many different personalities. Some people may not be as mature as you and trust me, most of your co-workers won’t think the way you do. Some may not be able to understand your differences but hey they did not bring you into this word, so you shouldn’t expect them to even like you. Remember you were hired because you have the qualities and skills needed for the job so that’s what you should focus on that. Work isn’t meant to be the place where you make friends with people (that’s a bonus if it happens). You were hired to provide a service and that’s what you should focus on.
When you walk in the door of your job, leave your home life there. Similarly, when you walk out the door of your job, leave your work there. If you work from home, have an at home office where you only focus on that space so you don’t overwhelm your home with work. Of course, sometimes you’re going to remember something you should have done at work and might have to follow up on that. But if you’re thinking about small things like something insensitive that a customer or employee might have done, then you’re letting someone live in your head rent free. If that happens, find someone to talk it out with, like a family or friend, then let that situation go.
Exert yourself but try to develop some work-life balance as well. I play tennis at least twice a week and I am doing Pilates once a week now. I also get a monthly massage. I also read pretty frequently and don’t forget about this blog writing. All in all, I would say that I am taking pretty good care of myself. However, there is always room for improvement: I have slacked off on making art and playing guitar. I did play my guitar at a couple times last week so I am working on that. What are you doing to work on you as an individual?
Be easy on yourself. No one becomes successful in their job overnight. We all start as amateurs at everything we do. Remember that one time you had to be potty trained. Imagine someone having to teach you how and where to take care of your excrements. Well, you don’t have to imagine it because it happened but you just don’t remember it. So now imagine someone training you how to be an accountant or a doctor or even an artist. It’s going to take time before you are the next Leonardo da Vinci, Steve Jobs, Michelle Obama, Oprah, you name it. Always practice patience especially with yourself because most of us tend to be harder on ourselves.
I wish you love, light, and peace in your journey of achieving job satisfaction (most of all, peace). Thank you for reading 🙂 ❤
1. Conditioning. There’s a lot of different conditioning types. Regular, deep and protein are the three main ones. Regular conditioning is basically what you do when you use a normal hair conditioner that is usually paired with a shampoo. You should ALWAYS condition after shampooing your hair to restore moisture as shampoos can be really drying (especially those with sulfates). In addition, you should either use a deep conditioner or protein treatment at least twice a week. I just recently started using a protein treatment and it really does work. My hair is significantly softer for the rest of the week when I do a protein treatment. I would guess this is because protein treatments strengthen the hair strand.
2. Trimming. I’ve never anyone that likes to have their hair trimmed as most of us are after “long hair, don’t care” goals. To be honest, I only get my hair trimmed once a year as opposed to the recommended 3 to 4 times per year. This is mainly due to distrust of hair stylists that get scissor happy when you don’t really need that much hair cut off. There are some youtube videos on how to self-trim and I might start doing that (the most important tip for self-trimming is to have the right scissors which are known as shears. Normal scissors aren’t as sharp as shears so they don’t allow for a clean cut ( this can lead to even worse split ends).
3. Protective styling. I last trimmed my hair last September and since then my hair grew about 3 inches which is actually pretty good for me. I mainly attribute this growth to protective styling as my hair was usually in cornrows. I’ve done micro-braids quite a lot in the past and I attribute this to my lack of hair growth in those years. Micro-braids led to breakage and dryness of my hair so I have completely abandoned that style now. I also have never colored my hair or done a lot of heat styling. I only get my hair straightened once or twice per year. I usually schedule my trims around that time because it seems easier to trim straight hair versus curly hair.
4. Scalp care. I think most people forget that the scalp is just as important as the hair itself. Even if you only wash your hair once a week, you should still clean your scalp as needed. I keep a spray bottle that has shampoo and water in it so I can keep my scalp fresh throughout the week. This could be due to sweat or product build-up which can clog your hair follicles. Clogged follicles can lead to less hair growth so look out for that.
5. Proper tools. Finally, you can have the best hair but you can still damage your hair if you don’t use the right tools. Never use a skinny comb for curly hair unless your hair is straight or stretched. The best comb for curly hair is a wide-toothed comb and this can be used for detangling as well as styling. If you are looking for a detangling brush for curly hair, use one that has large bristles instead of small ones. I personally use the Denman D3 brush which is kind of expensive but totally worth it. It easily glides between my curls and doesn’t snag unless I have a knot in my hair. For hair knots, the best tool to use can be your fingers as you can easily unravel the knot instead of pulling on it with a comb or brush. There are also people who regularly use their fingers for detangling and that works for them.
The main point is to learn what works best for your hair.
I hope this helps. If you have any additional tips, please feel free to share. 🙂 ❤
In the spirit of thanksgiving, I have come up with a list of five things that I am thankful for this season. I’ve never had the traditional American Thanksgiving experience with lots of family because we don’t have a lot of relatives in the U. S. The other reason is because my family doesn’t like how Turkey tastes. We actually had pet turkeys in Kenya and one of them used to bully me by vibrating its feathers towards me. I was around 6 years old so the force of the vibration was actually enough to knock me down. After some “Kenyan martial arts” training from my grandfather, I stood up to the turkey and ruffled its feathers. This worked for a little while until one day when the Turkey caught me off guard while I was walking out of the house. Not too long after that, the turkey died mysteriously. My theory is that my Grandpa had something to do with it but unfortunately heaven doesn’t have a phone to ring him up.
Without further ado, here’s the top 5 things I am thankful for this season:
Having more time to experiment with my natural hair. Seems like I am finally getting the hang of it. For those who are curious, I use the L-O-C method which stands for Liquid (water), Oil, (apricot oil), and Conditioner (Cantu leave-in-conditioner). I also moisturize my hair and scalp with melted castor oil; I’ve noticed my scalp really appreciates this because I have a dry and sensitive scalp due to damage from chemical relaxer treatments in the past. I might do a video on this one day but in the mean time, there’s lots of videos on Youtube for every hair and scalp type.
Being around my family everyday is also a blessing since I spent 6 years away from home for school. I definitely got very home sick during those times and its so wonderful to be around them for all the milestones that we’ve experienced this year.
I am thankful in advance for all the good foods I am going to be eating this holiday season. From goat, my mom’s world winning pilau, samosa, and more, we’re definitely going to have multiple food babies. I am on samosa duty this year so I can’t wait when my family can’t get enough of them.
Being done with school for the indefinite future is also music to my ears. Before my grandfather passed away about 10 years ago, I clipped his toe nails and he blessed me with his dream for me to be a doctor. This year I am proud to have fulfilled that dream by getting my doctor of pharmacy degree. All thanks to God and my family for supporting me through that journey.
A gratitude list is never complete without giving thanks for good health. I definitely don’t take for granted that I get to wake up everyday and be able to do everything that I need to do. I was definitely better at my fitness at the beginning of the year than I am now but hey it’s the holidays. I have also been meditating for the past 10 days so at least I am working out my brain. For those interested in trying out meditation, I used the app Headspace but Youtube is also another place to find free guided meditation.
I don’t know if “stand up for your rights” is a fitting title for this post. But whatever. I don’t have much time but I really have to say what’s on my mind right now. So..I just took out my braids this week and I honestly can’t deal with the waste of time and money that I go through (the money part is my parents but w/e) to get my a little below shoulder length hair to get my hair braided. And the drama! oh the drama! I live in the U.S.A. where braiding costs $150 do the math-that’s alot of mullah!. Thank God i usually only have to pay $80 cause I am African. But these people in the U.S. who do hair act like they are doing you a favor. They take forever, they are on the phone while they are doing it, you practically have to beg and do it according to their schedules. Which i can’t deal with this CRAP anymore. And I had a big fallout with relaxers I think 5 yrs ago.where I started from zero with my hair. I was actually in Kenya when I did the big chop and started on this braids journey that I have been on ever since.
So I have decided to go NATURAL-completely no braids nothing just maybe twists outs or twists or braiding my own natural hair. And I am sticking with it. I have found great inspiration from natural hair bloggers on you tube and even a Kenyan chic on blogspot. So i am going to do this! Some of you may ask. Why is this such a big deal? why does it like seem like a milestone to me?
Well let me explain it to you. I live in America! Where most black women and society as well consider natural hair NAPPY/disgusting. I don’t even know how my friends will take it. But I don’t care .This is not about them. This is about me. I am tired of braids. I want to embrace the REAL me! the real hair GOD gave me! And I don’t care what anyone says.
So let me explain this hair drama I have. I was sold on the idea of dreadlocks-they are easy to take care of after u get them set in. Maybe some like the one in the picture below. So I tell my parents about it. and they say yes. Later when i tell them about the appointment I made. My mom is like “dreadlocks I i didn’t know you wanted dreadlocks!”No i don’t want those kitangaris (trash) , looking like a chokora (street child) “so obviously my parents are biased about dreadlocks. My mom said she thought I was talking about twists. So after fuming with anger about my mom’s confusion, I think about twists and realize that’s a plausible idea. So I twist my hair and well it’s not that bad. So right now I just finished twisting my hair. I will untwist it tomorrow and get the twist out look above.
So on Monday I am supposed to call my Bro’s friend who does locks and explain to her my mom was confused and when she said “yes”, she really meant “hell no!”. And convince her to twist my hair. Hopefully she’ll say “yes”. If not then I might have to just go back to braids. Honestly, I will try everything so that I don’t have to go back to braids. But school opens in 1 week so I don’t really have much time.