The past few weeks amid this coronavirus crisis have reminded me one thing: how to not overcomplicate life. We all have so many desires, expectations, and goals that we sometimes forget to live for today, for now. I am writing this after learning that one of my family friends has passed away in a tragic manner. At this time, we are so focused on not being infected with coronavirus that we forget that people are still dying in other ways. Someone probably died from a heart attack today, another probably from drowning, and others from several freak accidents that happen every day. However, we forget this and continue to live life in our bubble. We take our life for granted and focus on myriad issues like petty work drama.
I hope that this coronavirus downtime teaches us to focus on what really matters: our heart, mind, and spirit. Do more of what makes you happy. Since some of us may be stuck indoors during this time, try a new hobby like meditation, drawing, or writing music. I would suggest cooking but I wouldn’t want you to end up eating all of your quarantine groceries. I have started listening to podcasts on the way home from work since we healthcare workers still have to report to duty. The last podcast I listened to was Oprah’s Super Soul Conversations, specifically the one where she interviews a self-help author Harville Hendrix about how we look for partners based on our childhood relationships with our parents. I will like to dive deeper into this topic in a future post but in the meantime, please listen to the podcast when you get a chance. I’ll post the link to the website where you can listen to it for free below. I wish you peace, love, and happiness during this time as always 🙂 ❤
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. 🙂 ❤
Unless you have been living under a rock, I am sure you have heard that the Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle, and Prince Harry will be leaving the United Kingdom and will not be active members of the British Royal Family. If someone made me a pseudo-princess and told me to just look pretty, I might love the job of being a Duchess. But let us not forget that Meghan has been subject to unfair invasion of privacy and scrutiny by the British tabloids. Let us also not forget that she was a working woman before Prince Harry and had already made millions on her own- while looking very pretty, I might add. Now let’s talk about Prince Harry.
Prince Harry was, of course, brought up in the British Royal Family since birth but has always been a rebel. For example, he joined the British army in 2006 and rose up the ranks to captain. He served a total of 10 years which included some time in Afghanistan. The man, excuse- Prince, clearly loves his country enough to put his life at risk for it. So why does such a man decide to opt-out of the cozy life in the Royal Family? Maybe because he knows what happened to his mother. Princess Diana was constantly attacked by the media especially when she divorced Prince Harry’s father, Prince Charles. Divorce in the Royal Family was virtually unheard of unless you count the annulments of King Henry VIII from his multiple wives. However, Princess Diana had every right to do so as Prince Charles was cheating on her and in love with his mistress Camilla, who is now his wife and the Duchess of Cornwall. Unfortunately, her decision to divorce led her to be critiqued for every little thing such as her clothing to who she dated after the divorce. The only time the criticism from the media stopped is when she died in a fatal car crash in 1997. Side note: I think I would consider naming my child Diana because my mom was obsessed with her as a young lady.
So when you mix the independent woman Meghan and the rebel Harry, what do you get? Class, the answer is a revolution. If Meghan and Harry do in-fact become financially independent of the crown, then this could be a major precedent for all royal families. That’s right, they should put that silver spoon down and go learn how to make their own money. And if all royal families can be independent of taxes and royalties, then I think that money can go to better things like the war on poverty. Also, can the royal family please give back Africa its jewels and artifacts.
In other words, I am impressed by what Meghan and Harry have done. Their child is truly blessed to have parents who are humble and independent thinkers. I can’t wait to see what the future holds for Meghan and Harry who I will now call the Markle-David family because Harry’s full name is actually Henry Charles Albert David. I think he wins the record for having the most number of first names. I guess Prince Charles could not decide whether to honor himself or his father in Harry’s middle names. On the other hand, I am glad that Harry has decided to honor his wife, himself, and his child in deciding to leave the United Kingdom for life in North America. Who doesn’t love a man who stands up for his wife? I am sure this is going to be a movie one day and I hope to God, it will be an Oscar-worthy film and not a cheesy lifetime movie like the last one. May God bless Meghan and Harry 🙂 ❤
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.
I would like to start this movie review by saying that people should seriously consider watching foreign films if they haven’t already. I love Indian movies particularly and of course, Kenyan movies make me feel like I am home. From the beautiful shots of the capital city Nairobi to the eye candy actors/actresses, the following Kenyan movies are Hollywood quality in my opinion. Maybe we need to coin a new term “Kenwood” or “Kenywood”. Anyway, while we keep brainstorming on a possible name, let me convince you why the following three movies are worth your time. Because as we know, time is money.
I just watched this captivating movie this December and it stars one of my favorite Kenyan actors: the oh-so-handsome and talented, Nick Mutuma. I am sure we will see Nick in Hollywood one day because he’s just that good and he is consistent in You Again where he plays a character who is unemployed due to being fired from his last job. Similarly, his ex-girlfriend from college finds herself looking for work. Coincidentally, they both found work at the same place. The problem is that they can’t stand each other’s gusts. As such, their attitudes towards each other may put their careers in jeopardy unless they resolve their issues. The ex-girlfriend role is played by newcomer Mimi Mars who does a great job executing the tom-boy role. She is also a woman of principle which is why the movie is not your typical romantic comedy. It touches on serious issues such as inequality in the workplace specifically how women are treated as wallflowers that are just supposed to sit there and look pretty. If I were to rate this movie, I would give it 4/5 stars as the supporting characters also did a wonderful job in adding humor and charm to the movie. It is also a family-friendly movie that could be watched with parents and children alike. So without further ado, please see the link below to watch this entertaining movie for free:
As you can tell from the title Plan B, someone will be getting pregnant in this movie. What I love most about this film is that it is pan-African with a Nigerian producer (Lowla-Dee) and while most of the actors are Kenyan, the male stare Daniel Etim Effiong is a very talented Nigerian actor. His character acts tough and dismissive until Sarah Hassan’s character softens him up. Again this story isn’t just a romantic comedy as it highlights legal issues such as paternity, single-parent upbringing, and child support. It also shows a bit of Kenya’s music scene and urban environment. I love the ending but of course, I won’t ruin it for you. From what I remember, the movie does not display nudity so I would give this movie a G-rating for family friendliness. This movie is also free so please check it out below:
This movie also stars Nick Mutuma but with a different love interest played by Brenda Wairimu. It explores such topics as the friend-zone, cheating, and depression. Nick is the ever supporting friend who exceedingly cares for his female best friend Brenda. Despite this seemingly predictable set-up of a romantic comedy, the ending of the movie is actually surprising. There is also some diversity as one of the characters in the film is of Indian descent as Kenya is actually habited by many different cultures. Also, Brenda’s character is a dentist and who doesn’t love beautiful independent women. In the spirit of independence and supporting actors, this movie is actually for rent on Vimeo for only $3.99. The movie does have some sexual references so keep that in mind if watching it with family. It might be better to host a movie night with friends so you just pay $3.99 and split between your friends. The rental allows viewing for 48 hours so no worries if you get distracted during a Vimeo and chill situation *wink*wink* Either way, please check it out below:
When I was in high school and college (of course broke), I would say that I am not a gold digger as I am actually more focused on digging my own gold than anyone else’s. Now as a career woman, I think dating becomes tricky when society views you as accomplished. Any potential suitor usually has to meet a checklist of the usual list: nice to people, family-oriented, but most importantly career-focused. Why? Because nobody wants to sleep on an empty stomach as a result of your husband being fired from his job for the third time. But on the other hand, women are also bashed for wanting a man who is financially secure as we are called gold diggers. So with these conflicting societal views, nobody can win.
This question came up recently on social media where a woman posted a quote saying “stop forcing women to love poor men”. I shared this quote with some male friends and they actually were understanding about this catch-22. Our society wants women to choose an appropriate partner that can provide for a family but we don’t want money to be involved in their decision. Does that even make sense? I don’t think a woman’s thought should be can this man be able to buy a car for me or other grandiose things but at the basic level, a man should be able to help put food on the table for his family (in my opinion). Another flip to this coin is what if the woman herself has wealth or some assets?
I think that if a person has worked hard for their accomplishments, including money, they should not be judged for looking for a partner with similar qualities. Barack Obama didn’t just go into the Chicago streets and marry the finest woman he saw. He looked for the woman who was career-focused just like him. Sure at the time that he asked Michelle out, he was just her intern. But Michelle saw his trajectory and knew he would catch up quickly. So on the same note, there’s nothing wrong with having great consideration for someone’s aspirations because guess what? If you’re shooting for the stars, career-wise, and your potential suitor is just dreaming of a Gucci belt then you might not be compatible. So don’t sell yourself short and accept just any person who locks eyes with you for more than 10 seconds. Look for the person that wows you with their hustle (legal hustles only). I pray that you may all find that person that aligns perfectly with what you deserve. May we all find the Barack to our Michelle or vice versa. 🙂 ❤
I first realized that I struggle with anxiety when I was trying to plan a family dinner at a restaurant for mother’s day maybe 4 or 5 years ago. I had forgotten to make a reservation not realizing that the restaurant would be pretty busy because of course everybody takes their mother, auntie, sister, and grandmother out for such a holiday. So my family and I are waiting outside the restaurant waiting for our name to be called while my anxiety is building up such that I start calling other restaurants to try to make a quicker reservation. Basically, I wanted the day to go perfectly so that I did not disappoint my family and especially my mom. My older brother realized what I was doing and quickly asked me “you still get like that?” (alluding to my anxiety). Before he had mentioned it, I did not even realize I really had a problem or even a history of anxiety. But now that I look back, I realize that I had anxiety but I was not a chatty anxious person so people probably did not notice it (I could be wrong though).
In my journey of addressing my anxiety, I have learned that it is one of the top psychological disorders affecting youth in the U.S.A maybe even the world. Pretty much everybody suffers from some sort of anxiety. It is a normal human response to stressful situations. You can meet the most put together and seemingly laid back people who suffer from anxiety. Like most things, anxiety is on a spectrum from mild to crippling. If it’s crippling your life and preventing you from leaving your house, definitely seek professional help. I am fortunate enough to be able to lead a normal life with my anxiety. It always helps to have people who understand you by your side. Clearly, my older brother is that person for me as he helps me create logical steps towards my problems. My mother is a therapist and one of the things she has taught me is about the importance of breathing. Deep breaths can relax your body with such ease and they’re free as long as we don’t kill off all the trees (I think that rhymed by the way 🙂 ) My younger brother gives the best hugs in the world and my dad fixes most of my car related issues. Also, my 2 year old niece is just the cutest thing in the world and her fearless boss baby attitude continues to inspire me to be a lady boss. Bible scripture and inspiring quotes can also help set the tone of your day. For example, Proverbs 16:3 says “commit to the lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans”. Finally, playing tennis teaches me to focus on each point on its own without thinking about winning or losing the match. Each point is a small battle while the match is a big war and if you know anything about wars, they are won through consistency in small fights. So keep on fighting the good fight of your life (please, no Tyrese “I am fighting for my life” videos).
In summary, my advice is to find the people and things in your life that bring you peace or inspire you to overcome fear. Always remember what Nelson Mandela said, “the brave man is not he who does not feel afraid but he who conquers that fear”. If a man who was in prison for 27 years for fighting for his people’s rights can say these words, then I believe they must be true. May we all face your fears. Literally, look at yourself in the mirror and see the Lion/Simba in you silencing the Scar in you with a growl/affirmation of power. Of course, you can also do this metaphorically if you’re not one for mirror pep talks with yourself. Either way, tell fear who is boss. You. You are your own boss. And for the days you feel like you are not, please listen to this song by Kiana Ledé that I think truly captures anxiety: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CkLA0p4BTTs
They say that women love what they hear and men love what they see. Well, I like hearing and seeing beautiful words. (Also, may we take a moment of silence for Toni Morrison who died yesterday on August 5th and who will forever be remembered as a great writer.) I will admit that I am yet to read her book but have seen the numerous quotes of hers shared on social media in the advent of her death. She was clearly great with words as you would expect. But what does being great with words actually mean?
To me, being great with words means being able to paint a picture so that other senses besides hearing can be awakened. It means being able to argue a point in an articulate manner. It means being able to be efficient with your use of words because most often, less is more. There is no need to be verbose unless you are complimenting a woman (in that case, keep the words coming). Men, on the other hand, seem to prefer fewer words maybe because their mind wanders or maybe because their cavemen prototypes were busy hunting wooly mammoths (an activity that probably requires absolute silence). To add some possible evidence to this, baby girls generally say their first words and sentences before baby boys. But we get carried away into a battle of sexes, let’s return to “the power of words”.
Words can make or break you. Literally, what a person grows up hearing whether from others and especially from themselves can affect his or her quality of life. Someone cue the classic scene from The Help: “You is kind, You is smart, You is important” where the nanny is having to part ways with her employer’s child. When the black nanny (played beautifully by Viola Davis) is telling the white child these empowering words, she is also empowering herself and anyone who hears or reads those words. Those nine words spread like wildfire throughout the internet because words are powerful.
Men, in case you thought I forgot about you, there are some theories out there that a woman knows whether she would date/entertain you within the first 30 seconds of interacting you. I cannot speak for all women but I will say that during the times that I tried online dating, a horrible bio section with mis-spellings was an absolute turn-off. Also, my top pet peeve from guys is when they text “hey” like they did not spend 12 years being educated on how to write a complete sentence. If a man is really that scared that writing a bit more will make him look desperate, then I have some words of advice: “ if you are going to shoot your shot, at least make sure you shoot a 3 pointer”. In other words, go big or go home. Women can smell fear from a mile away with those 1 point shots.
And when you are speaking nicely to others, do not forget to speak positively to yourself. You are the person you live the longest with so remind yourself often that “You is kind, You is smart, You is important”.Thanks for reading. 🙂 ❤
In May, I attended the graduation of a family friend and at her graduation party, her uncle gifted her with a book (namely “You Can Negotiate Anything” book by Herb Cohen). When I saw the title of the book, I immediately exclaimed that I needed to read that book as it could be useful in my personal and professional life. Without skipping a beat, her uncle retrieved his personal copy of the book and gave it to me. It turns out that he had bought himself the copy to re-read as he read it many years ago when my father gave him a copy of the book. Therefore, this book is kind of a “boomerang” as it first started with my father in Kenya, then to a family friend, and then back to me in the USA. Who knows where and to who this book will travel next. But in the meantime, let me share the top negotiation strategies I have learned from the book.
Never reveal your deadline to the person you are negotiating with if you can avoid it. For example, do not tell a seller you need a car by next week as that means the seller will know that you probably will not have time to look around for a better deal. The most powerful thing in the world is time. If you have time, use it to your advantage to make sure you get the best deal possible. Also, playing the waiting game makes you look less interested in the other party so they are more willing to work with what you want.
Avoid having an authoritative style. There are many strategies for negotiation. The author calls an authoritarian/unyielding strategy “the Soviet-style” because, during war, the Soviets would low ball you until you yield to their demands while they compromise nothing. This style only works if you never intend on doing business or having relations with that person ever again because the person will not like you for taking advantage of them.
See compromise as an opportunity to make both you and the other person happy. Good negotiators find ways to figure out what really means the most to the other person. For example, if you are the boss and the person you are seeking to hire wants $50,000 while you are only willing to offer $40,000, find ways to make up for the other $10,000. Such examples could be offering more vacation days, season tickets to sports events, or even gym membership. Therefore, when the person looks at the $40,000 they don’t see it as a total loss of $10,000 especially since the $40,000 is taxable by the government while the additional perks are tax-free. So in negotiation, always try to find a way to get as close to what you want while still making the other happy.
Avoid negotiating on the telephone unless you want an easy win or lose situation. This is because whoever imitates the call is usually at an advantage as they think about what they are going to say before they call. On the other hand, the receiver of the phone call is caught off guard and has to scramble to have good debate points in the negotiation. The author’s advice if you are the receiver is simple: make up an excuse to end the call and tell the caller that you will phone them at a later turn. Now you will be the caller and not the receiver which gives you the advantage. For example, if you have applied for a job and the interviewer calls you with a low offer which you were not expecting, simply tell the interviewer that you need time to think about it and you will call them back within 24 to 48 hours. Negotiating in person also allows you to read body language and make a better case for yourself as it is easier for someone to say “No” over the phone. In-person negotiations are more personable. Who would have guessed? haha
Always seek to negotiate with the person who has true negotiating power. For instance, say that you are at an electronics store and you are looking to buy a TV as well as a sound system. Let’s also pretend that there is no sale going on but you think you should get a bundle deal since you are buying two large ticket items. Who do you think you should talk to? the clerk or the manager? If you said manager then you are correct. Usually, a clerk has no real power to give you sales outside of those already presented in the store. Therefore, you should always ask for the manager if you are wanting to negotiate something outside of what is presented. In other words, never accept no for an answer from someone who does not even have the real power to say yes.
In continuing the history of this book, I have to find someone to gift it to. I am thinking of my mother because she is very much a strategic negotiator and has a great interest in human psychology. If you end up reading this book, I hope you do the same as negotiating is a key part of life whether at school, work, or home. The best negotiations in the world get paid millions of dollars to do it so it is quite the skill to have. As you would expect, practice makes perfect and even the author admits that he botched his first negotiation project with a Japanese company because they played the waiting game against him until he only had minutes to present his case. So don’t get discouraged if you fail the first time, learn from it and apply it to your next challenge. All the best in your pursuits. 🙂 ❤
This past weekend I had the pleasure of witnessing a beautiful wedding in the breathtaking location of Boothbay Harbor, Maine (Congrats again to the newly wedded couple). It feels like forever since I attended a wedding but it’s only been like 2 years haha. My first career in life was being a flower girl. In fact, some brides were begging my mom for me to be in their wedding but at some point, she had to say no because attending multiple weddings in a year can really deplete your pocket. My cousin tells me that I wasn’t very good at being a flower girl since I did not smile a lot but I guess I was cute enough to be marketable. We were both flower girls at her parents’ wedding and I can tell you she did a way better job than me. There’s photo evidence to prove that I was “stone face” instead of radiating with smiles like she was. Fast forward, years later and I am supposed to be the maid of honor in my best friend’s wedding so I guess that is kind of a promotion. Don’t worry, I’ll make sure to smile from ear to ear even if I get lock-jaw.
Smiley or not, witnessing the union of two people is a blessing. Weddings are always a reminder of the power of love. Love is one of the few forces that can transcend race, class, education, and even politics. Also, it is a force that can grow exponentially. At the wedding I attended this weekend, one of the speakers remarked that how greatly the bride loves her groom now will grow even more with time. Often we love someone so much that we cannot imagine loving them more but wait until they are the mother or father to your children. My father spoke at the rehearsal dinner and revisited his tested and true theory that “love is taking care” (now that I think about it, the children’s book Le Petit Prince (The Little Prince) also has this central theme). To summarize, don’t just tell someone you love them when showing them love actually means more. Other married couples, came up to my dad to show appreciation for his message so I think my dad is on to something.
To reference Le Petit Prince a little bit, love is like a flower. It is undeniably beautiful but you have to handle it with care. You cannot give it too little or too much water. You have to protect it from the elements such as wind. And people say when you talk to plants, they grow better so communication is key in gardening just like in love. Also if you do your gardening right, one plant can bloom many flowers and even help the ecosystem by helping produce pollen for the bees. Bees then pollinate the world further and increase the number of plants in the world so that we have enough oxygen being released in the air. Similarly, one love story can inspire more love in the world and I think weddings provide a great forum for just that. I am sure every married couple that goes to a wedding gets inspired to love their spouse more while every single person gets inspired to prioritize love in their life. So yes love is truly powerful. May we vow to treat it as the precious force that it has the power to be. 🙂 ❤