When Faith comes to an all time low…

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Hey Readers !

I feel as if I haven’t spoken about my Christian journey on here in a long time, I’ve been blogging about other topics apart from my journey with Christ, and I guess the reason behind this post is a great way to get back into doing so.

Unfortunately I haven’t been in the greatest state of mind when it comes to my relationship with Christ. Who knew that behind me sharing motivational scriptures on my IG stories or writing about topics that are fun and enthusiastic, there was a girl sitting behind a screen suffering from a mixture of emotions and uncertainty with God?

Long story short, I had suffered two major disappointments in the past week and a half, mainly to do with my education. I had cried, strayed away from God and doubted he had even listened to my prayers. The fact that I had to wake up the next day and walk into university, engage in conversation with people with a wide smile on my face was the most daunting part of it all. It was hard.

I really believed that my prayers were answered and that God was going to pull through for me. So when I was hit with the disappointments, I was really angry with God, I questioned him with all sorts of things- “God why didn’t you answer my prayer” “Did I do something wrong, is this a punishment or something ?” “Surely the things I ask for would have brought great joy and glory to you, so why did you deny them? ” and I was just left confused.

The ironic thing was, immedialtey when I had discovered the disappointment, the first thing I did was to go on my laptop, play a worship song, fall on my knees and cry out to him. THAT’S WHAT MADE ME PAUSE. After drying my face from the black spectacles left from my mascara ( typical of me to not buy waterproof ey? ) I turned off the music, and just sat in silence for a while.

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I realised that whatever trial I go through, God always pulls me back towards him. The minute I have an unanswered prayer, or things are just turning out for the worse I immediately call out to him. Isn’t it strange that the person I would expect myself to be the most angry at is the one I am driving towards as my immediate help and guider? This my friends is the ultimate and indescribable power of God. Just face it, once you’ve given your life solely to God, there’s no turning back- he has you in his grasp until the very end. That’s why in any situation you may come across- think of the first thing you turn to…

Yes you may turn towards friends, and family for support, But when you lay in bed thinking about those things, those thoughts go directly towards God. It’s taken social media and a good church service today to make me realise that God listens to us when we pray. Social media because I just happened to come across a SnapChat post by a friend, sharing her thoughts on God putting us through tough trials and seasons for a reason and then from the church sermon, I learnt that God simply listens to us when we pray- it just might not be the answer we were expecting.

In the meantime, I’ve started a new Bible plan titled ” What Hinders Answers To Prayer” and it’s going well so far, given me all the answers I need. So hopefully I will completely overcome this overbearing hurt that I am feeling.

I decided to share this post because to whoever is reading, I know you’ve been in my position before. Even if you are not religious, you’ve wanted something so bad and it just never happens… I anticipate that once you read this post, you will find some kind of encouragement and motivation from this, so I leave you with some quotes that have uplifted my spirit :

Verses to lift you up whilst in disappointment:

Philippians 4:6 : Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God

John 16:33 : I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace . In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world

Psalm 46:10: He says ” Be still and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth”

Psalm 55:22: Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken.

Remain Blessed x

Social Media : What’s the limit to Influencing ?

I was having a discussion the other day with a close church friend and we were discussing social media and the role of influencers. How much they influence, how much we should be influenced by them, the roles they play in our lives and how we let them dictate living our lives daily.

Before I write any more, I’m going off the definition of an influencer being:

A person who has achieved a high status/credibility on social media platforms, and can use this to change people’s mindsets, activity and beliefs by their words or by their actions themselves. 

yeah, hope that makes sense 🙂

As we are going into 2019, it is no surprise that people of a younger demographic all have a smartphone and have access to at least one social media account. Whether it be Instagram, YouTube, Tumblr etc. here you can find millions of social media influencers who have made it a living to become an influencer through working with brands and organisations that mainly gain income through promoting their products. Asides from that, they have the power and the means to create an instant following by starting off trends and wearing the latest clothing and designs. Hey, if the hottest influencer out there is rocking a new pair of jeans or a new pair of earrings, wouldn’t you want to do the same too ?

I myself have a fair share of subscriptions on YouTube that I watch and look up to. Either because they have some amazing style, offer great tips on makeup or beauty. Or quite frankly have presented life-changing tips that have actually affected the way I live and how I view life in general. However, I don’t follow these people on Instagram or Snapchat.

So, what’s the reason behind doing so you ask ? I KNOW MYSELF. I go on Instagram and Snapchat without a doubt at least 20 times a day ( probably more than this, I know I’m working on it) and as much as I would love to see these big influencers and celebrities on my screen, a part of me deep down inside would feel resentment. We live in a world where there are pressures to be the best that there is out there. I’m sure we are not all stranger to the saying “comparison is the thief of all joy” and this my friend, is the true reality.

With social media, there is always the feeling of being the best or owning the most amount of followers, and I will even own up to this- we love the feeling we get when we get an extra like on a photo or when a huge page reposts your picture with all credits being given to you. You feel valued, recognised and praised for it. But why can’t we get these things in real life ? Why does it take a page on social media to tell you that you have cool style or take great photos. It’s all the effects that comes with social media and I guess it has become normalised to think we are not effected by the power that social media has on our “social” lives.

I didn’t want this to be a long post, even though I have so much more to say on this subject, so I will probably end here. But in essence, I choose to not be influenced by these people so that they dictate my everyday lifestyle and habits, but I let them influence me in a way that I will be motivated, humbled and open for success !

Thanks for reading !

#ESSENCETALKS 1

Hey readers, I recently mentioned on my Instagram stories ( if your not following me on there then really, what are you doing ? @essenceofefe) that I wanted to talk about my opinion on some controversial topics that I think about but do not really discuss. Weird fact about me is that I love debating on topic’s surrounding politics, race, gender etc. I guess it brings out the sociology side out of me (not that I studied it anyway lool). So my first segment of Essence Talks is about a question posed by one of my followers:

“Why do you think the rate of teenage pregnancy/pre-marital pregnancy is pretty much the same between atheists and Christian Women ?”

My initial reaction to this was, hmm interesting viewpoint, something that I hadn’t considered before, so I decided to delve into this topic and give my opinion, the perspective of a young adult who is also a Christian woman.

My first thought to this was, well we are in 2018, almost going into 2019 and as we know times have definitely changed from the traditional viewpoint of relationships, or let’s say the cultural viewpoint of relationships (as I am from an African background) you know the normal, go to school, go to university, graduate, get a job, find a boyfriend, start dating, get married, live together, start a family, and the list goes on from there. It’s not knew to think that times have changed from the conservative way of planning out life. As a 19 year old girl, I know of so many people who are parents or in a serious relationship at my age. And whilst my parents may be shocked to know about it, I don’t really see it as a shock to me. Women are either having babies  really early, or really late and it has completely become the norm.

 

Now as a Christian, I’m sure we have all become familiar with verses such as “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh” or ” Because of the temptation to sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband”  which pretty much explains the instructions about pre-marital sex. However, I believe that in this generation, sexual freedom is out in the open. Whether it’s through movies, music, media, or friends it is a common topic in comparison to years back when it was such a taboo for girls to start having children before being wed. But in reality, as we progress on to a new year, the topic has been exposed and it is not uncommon for young women to be involved in relations, even before marriage. Let’s just say that girls are expressing their right to their sexual freedom. They are just getting… jiggy.

(Sorry, I just had to add the GIF, spice up the blog, they’ve been too dry lately lool )

Moving onto teenage pregnancy, this year hasn’t been so bad. According to the BBC, there were about 23 conceptions per 1,000 15-17 year old girls in 2014 compared to a high of 55 in 1971. So in reality, we are doing pretty well. Doesn’t necessarily mean it’s not still happening. This is why some may say the rate between teenagers and older women who are married are the same. And yet, this reason can mainly be attributed towards changing times. Hey, who thought in 2018 that the LQBTQ+ community would gain such large prominence in the public eye ? Times are moving on and we just have to learn to adjust to these changes. I guess we are not so strict on the rules and guidelines of the Bible, or we have just moved out of the ways of the Old Testament. I like to see it as, since God gave us the opportunity of free will, we are choosing to exercise this right, if not I guess many people wouldn’t be in this situation or in others such as getting tattoos, smoking or even drinking alcohol. It’s something that happens and its accepted socially, no matter what religious background you are from.

I could go on forever about this topic, but to save myself from rambling , I guess I will stop just here. So far this piece has been really interesting to write about, and I have enjoyed it as I can express my truest opinion on controversial topics ( I like a bit of controversy, yes I do) hope to do more post like these in the near future and I hope to whoever is reading this, you find this interesting !

Remain Blessed !

My Fave Beauty Products of 2018 So Far !

So, I’m no makeup expert or blogger, but I wanted to document some of my fave beauty/makeup products that I’ve really enjoyed and used up this year. Although the year hasn’t ended yet, I still feel like these are notably the best products that I have added to my routine which enable me to create the best makeup looks for those crazy nights out! (lool I’m really just attending a wedding or going out to eat)

  1. Fenty Beauty Pro Filtr Foundation

So, this year Riri released her makeup line titled Fenty Beauty which included foundations of 40 shades alongside a universal lip gloss and other amazing beauty products. I had been using my Maybelline Fit Me which was really good, however I knew that I was attracted to the Fenty foundation based off of all the reviews and hype going around it, so I decided to purchase it before my trip to Canada. I have the shade 450 and so far, it’s doing really well for me. For what you buy you get a lot of product (30 ml) in comparison to other foundations, and the range of 40 shades means it is suitable for every woman of every single shade and undertone. So far this is the only high-end foundation I am using at the moment, but I do want to delve into other foundations that are out there.

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2.  Becca Ever Matte Poreless Perfecter Primer
So yes, I fall into the category of people with oily skin- like OILY SKIN, as in a couple of hours after I apply my makeup it will look as if I got oil from the bottle and drenched it onto my face! I have tried many primers since I got into wearing makeup and none of them have done me justice. Until I found out about this primer from Becca. I had previously known about it from various beauty bloggers on YouTube using it in their tutorials but have never ventured out into looking at it. This year I purchased a small bottle (12 ml) to try it out and I must say it has done me really well in controlling my oil throughout the day. This is defo my go-to primer (until I find something better). Another product I can recommend is the KIKO Matte Face Base primer.

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3. NYX  Makeup Setting Spray
Another product which helped with my oily skin is a fixing spray by Nyx. I only started to incorporate a setting spray into my makeup routine this year, and honestly it is the best decision I have made ever. (yes, I used to leave my house with an ashy powdery face lool) But introducing a setting spray really helps to complete your look after all the powders that have been sitting on your face. After highlighting, it’s my favourite step when I am going for a really good makeup look.

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  1. MAC Lipglass in Spite
    Lastly but not least is my favourite lip gloss so far which is by MAC. In my opinion it is a really enticing nude gloss for dark skin tones, and it just perfects your whole look completely. I purchased this whilst in Canada, so it was a bit on the cheaper side, but despite the price in the UK, I will still recommend this product. Mac do a whole range of lip-glosses and lipsticks, so I look forward to having a collection of them, slight addiction is pending lool.

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Thanks for reading this makeup/beauty post. I hope to do some more in the near future surrounding drugstore or cheaper products as most of the products I mentioned were of high end, and as a student I know that can be quite difficult to manage.

 

Stay Blessed x

All About My Braids Part 2

“Outer beauty attracts, but inner beauty captivates”

Welcome back to a new post readers !

Today I decided to blog about braids yet again! I realised from my last post in February, that there is yet so much to delve into about the topic surrounding braids, yet it isn’t really explored that much. So this post pretty much explains the history and backgrounds of braids and how it has transformed into what it is in 2018.

Looking at the origination of braids, we have to look at Africa, particularly West Africa. In the villages, hair was known to act as a statement. Based on your hair, a person could tell your background, family roots, location and so much more information about you just by the styles and the presentation of your braided hairstyle.

This is why when the Trans Atlantic slave trade occurred, many women’s heads were shaved for sanitary reasons, meaning they lost a part of their heritage and identity.

However as slavery ended around the 50’s, the black power movement’s in America stemming from the civil rights movements encouraged a “Black Consciousness” out of black women to recognise their roots and their hair as being just as acceptable as the typical European style.

So, in comparison to 2018, where braids are appreciated even more than ever! Why are we still talking about them? The true fact is, that deep down oppression of braids still occurs today. I spoke on a previous post about the topic of Cultural Appropriation and how trends and lifestyles typically known to be created by black people are adopted by another culture. Although it may not be out in the open, it still exists.

Braids are no longer seen as something used for portraying an identity, rather it is used for styling and social media purposes. Which isn’t necessarily a negative thing, however it can mainly be misinterpreted as a muse to boost social media followings on pages. Again, isn’t a bad thing, as it is showcasing the many talents of hairdressers around the world. So I guess it is at a point where it is neither negative or positive. Views on the purposes of braids are completely subjective.

I believe it is up to us as older women to not only educate the younger generation about their roots but to encourage them to recognise it as their original identity, stemming back from centuries. I guess because it is what’s in fashion alongside other styles such as wigs and sew-ins, but at the end of the day it is nice to know where your heritage come from.

So this concludes my post about braids and it’s origins. I hope to research more about other African cultured items and trends that are valued at such a high standard like it is today. Until next time!

(All research used for this post is credited to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e_l0rEJq1_s)

Setting Your Mindset Up For School

So, it’s officially September (seriously guys this year is going too fast, I can literally remember the 31st of December 2017 when I was in church getting ready for the new year ha ha) and if you haven’t already seen the back 2 school adverts on television and the college enrolment posters on billboards and train stations then maybe you’ve just been hiding under a rock look. But it is definitely back to school season! and what better way of starting the month off with some tips on how to prepare your mindset off for back to school.

I think the first step to getting in the right mindset is doing it PRACTICALLY. And by this, I mean getting the necessary resources for a good school year. This can range from correct uniform if you are in a secondary institution, or getting clothes needed for sixth form or university. Stationary is essential for school, this can range from notepads to folders, to flash cards, highlighters, even a good functioning laptop is needed if you are in a higher institution. Practically getting yourself back into the school zone will give you a good shock, and tell you that you are going to have a great school year, and you’ve left that lazy holiday mentality back in Ibiza (or wherever you went lool…)

Secondly, it’s all about the MENTAL preparation. Let’s face it, school can be stressful, very stressful. I’ve mentioned in the past about taking care of your mental health, and I can’t reiterate this enough- its so important. School is a place where you make friends and meet them every day, however it can also be one of the loneliest places, especially in university (I’ve had my experiences of this too) so mentally preparing yourself for what can seem like a long year is very important. So, try and do what is best for your mental health, whether by talking to mentors or councillors, family members or investing in your faith e.g. prayer. Going in with a strong mind can help you when you face obstacles such as exam stress.

Lastly, PHYSICALLY. I don’t think this is really talked about enough, but physical health is really important too. It can be simple things such as eating healthy and having a balanced diet. At the end of the day you need to have energy to focus and perform tasks to the best of your ability in order to perform well at school. So gradually beginning a routine of getting enough sleep, eating the right things and drinking enough water can really make a difference to your school day. And this depends on where you are in your education, for example a Uni student may need a lot more energy for all-nighters and long library sessions in comparison to someone who has just started year 7, so take time and evaluate how much energy you need for a school day. Physical health is just as important as mental health. Both work in unison.

In conclusion, this was just a short post put together, as I was reflecting on how I can make my school year a better and efficient one. I thought it was great to share on my blog for those starting school soon, or for those who have already started a new year. Wishing you a blessed, prosperous and enjoyable school year!!

Something I’ve Never Written Before…

This is something I’ve never written before
I guess it’s self-explanatory, the fact that
such words or thoughts have never escaped or made a
conscious departure from my thoughts

Never have I uttered such thoughts and wonders,
many that I keep hidden away, locked up in a
psyche that refuses to bare it’s nakedness to outsiders
in the world , to the unknown, to the unseen

Since this is something I’ve never written before
should I dare to even begin to write it?
words that can’t be traced back to its original being
once stated can’t ever be taken back?

Or should it forever remain a distant memory
of words that could have been spoken
but locked away in a passage leading to my mind
words that that will eternally stay hidden, not awoken

So, this is something that I’ve never written before
although I write down these words that I’m thinking
I’ve actually never written something like this
Should I dare to even begin to write it?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Issa Testimony !

So, I’m back with a new post, it’s been a while as usual (I’m familiar with my inconsistent uploads now ha!) but today I decided to write about how important it is to talk to God- like literally how important it is to tell God everything.

As we all know prayer is when you are having a conversation with God right? And we think that God is this super being who is bigger and powerful (which in fact he is) therefore our prayers must be super formal as if we are writing to the Queen herself. But I’ve learnt that telling God the smallest thing, even though it may be embarrassing or uncomfortable to mention to God really does help as God answers prayers.

Lately I’ve been struggling to talk to God – LIKE REALLY BADLY. As in I can’t even formulate a sentence to say to God in the mornings as I am usually cranky and tired from sleeping all night, and then before bed I usually watch a little YouTube or scroll through Instagram and that usually puts me to sleep- but not talking to God. It’s got me quite worried as in desperate times of need e.g. exam season I can spend hours with God, but in times of enjoyment e.g. holidays, I struggle so badly to have a conversation with God. But then I try and remember the times when I was honest to him about my feelings and struggles and things turned out for the better from then on.

Little Testimony: So this year I created an Amazon account as I had some old textbooks I didn’t need any more so I decided to sell them, now I’m not sure if anyone would agree on this but Amazon is a very complicated website, like very complex so of course I made a mistake and set up my account wrong, so by doing this they deducted £15 from my account which of course I was very angry about. So about over a period of 2-3 months I battled with them back and forth constantly about getting my refund as there were several steps involved in the refund process. It was a long and frustrating time in getting my refund, however I realised I had not even spoke to God about it. It just hadn’t come to my attention that I hadn’t told God about my problem that I had. So, I decided in the morning that I would actually talk to God about this problem and within a week or so of doing that, I received my refund. Lesson learned.

So, this is basically a lesson to you and to myself really about the essence and benefits of telling God everything, even from the littlest thing to the biggest. Even things you may think you can handle on your own and in your individual time can be helped by the power of God. I would say this is a contradiction as I honestly do struggle with this myself and I hardly tell God about the real deep things that I may be feeling, however I guess this is something I need to develop on and be more serious about as God really does care about every single detail in your life. Hope this helps !

Stay Blessed x

Why I Write.

 

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So, I guess I could say that from a young age I’ve always loved words. It began with reading and you could describe me as a “bookworm” in the sense that my head was always wrapped up in the latest adventurous story that were printed on pages. Eventually I realised that words put in the right frame have the power to influence, educate and transform people, and that is why I write!

Previously I’ve expanded my work from poetry to Spoken Word which is a format of speaking poetry aloud to a crowd, once again with the motive of either educating or inspiring people. This can be used to support examples of famous speeches from Martin Luther King, to Maya Angelou to George the Poet. These speeches have gone down in history not only as revolutionary but powerful and motivating speeches that have changed the world. Evidently so, it has paved the way for many changes in society.
However, I attribute some of my works to artists such as Suli Breaks and DYLEMA who are both UK poets/spoken word artists. Not only because they are captivating in their words and writings but after seeing them both perform live, they’ve left that impact on me that still directs me to my spoken word pieces today.

Suli Breaks, most notable for his piece titled “Why I hate school but love education” which has gained close to 9 million views on YouTube is what particularly attracted me to his work. I guess what made it gain such prominence is the fact that it was targeted to many teens, like myself making it very relatable to some of the topics raised in the video. Topics ranging from not being able to fully express your uniqueness under subjects such as English or Maths, and topics such as Black History Month being limited to the generic understandings of Rosa Parks or Martin Luther King. He managed to create a distinction between the purpose of school and the purpose of education which many people could relate to sincerely, simply put it was a great spoken word piece.

Likewise, DYLEMA performed her piece “What If a black girl knew” at a university showcase I attended last year, and her words were truly inspiring. In a short space of 5 minutes she was able to poetically translate to a crowd, common issues that black girls face such as stereotypes of girls in society, insecurities relating to facial features and a lack of opportunities we come across. The fact that once again I could disclose my feelings towards this powerful piece is also what attracted me to her work and motivated me to start writing my own.

So far, I can say I have around three or four spoken word pieces that I can say is finished and accomplished in achieving its goals which is to inspire and to motivate people. I hope to develop my skills further in creating more inspiring pieces to showcase to people of my age and to others too.

Thanks for reading!

 

#MentalHealthAwarenessWeek

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In light of Mental Health Awareness Week, I have been doing a lot of thinking and studying of how mental health is dealt with in the community of young adults, as well as ethnic minorities.

Another blog post will be needed to explain my opinions on mental health in the community that I am from, which will be both young adult and ethnic minorities, but for now here is a spoken word piece that I wrote and performed at an event that was sponsoring the charity “Mind”. Mind are a charity that focus on Mental Health and they offer advice and support to people of all ages who may be going through any mental health problems. This may be through counselling or support teams who offer health advice over the phone. Check out their website to find out more and also to donate ! : https://www.mind.org.uk/

Piece:

Dear Mum
I’m sorry
Probably woke you up from pacing around the room last night
I promised myself I would be quiet this time, but It just wasn’t right
See this time round I could hear the ticking of the clock on my wall
As if it was physically driving through the veins and streams of my head
Preventing me from being able to talk.
Sorry that I sounded like a 2-year-old child being forced to sleep alone
Without the comfort of his mother’s arms generating heat, penetrating through to his bones
See instead I stayed in a room where, you might as well call it one of the poles
Because the cold that was circulating around was to deep for my soul
See, I’m sorry
But I just don’t get you
The minute I could actually verbally articulate just what I’m going through, you just say “darling don’t worry, it will brush right over you”
The sleepless nights, the constant headaches, wondering how you even made it through another day
Yeah it will just brush right over you
See I fail to understand, that because of the melanin that’s being released through my skin
I’ve been subject to numerous repetitions of my mother’s familiar words
Continuously piercing within
“it will brush over you”
See I find it funny, quite damaging how, I’m supposed to pray and expect it to go away
Like it’s a cold or maybe a rash even
But the constant fear of a panic attack, yeah there’s nothing that could ever match
To this pain, that I’m feeling
So, Mum I’m sorry, but I’m not sorry…
Not sorry because society puts me under a bracket of people who don’t understand their health
Not sorry just because I’m apart of a certain ethnicity I’m supposed to keep my hurt to myself
I know you don’t get it, but I will overcome
So, I hope I haven’t shocked you too much, made you go wild
This is just a letter, written from your child.