How comparison is and is not the thief of joy

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hollywood walk of fame, Sept 2018

         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.

 

5 tips on how to survive most work environments

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Post-work photo, July 2018

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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?
  5. 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 🙂 ❤

5 hair tips that really work!

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. 🙂 ❤

5 things I am thankful for in 2017

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Fall 2017, bantu knot out

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

“Stand up for your rights!”

-Originally written July 31, 2010

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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.

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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.

 

 

Image via Wikipedia

NB: Six years later and now I am still experiencing the same dilemma concerning work appropriate hair styles. Please comment if you identify with the struggle or have any tips. 🙂