2020 Is That Year.

2020. The year of clear vision.

The start of a new decade. I really had to sit down and ‘deep’ it. I have lived for a decade and I’m about to enter into a new decade. As I listen and read the many phrases of “you are about to enter into your best year yet” and “2020 we’re not slacking” I start to wonder how I can make this year my best.

2019 was hard. I’m sure many people can attest to this, for me personally the combination of second year of university, working on my personal development, my blog and applying for placements (which is too complicated to go into I don’t even know how to explain) it was a tough rollercoaster. It’s weird how people can relate to the feeling of 2019 bringing nothing but disappointments, lack of achievements and hurt.

But hey- it’s 2020, if you don’t remain positive, who will ?

1. Stop saying “New Year, New Me”.

Now I’m not trying to be a negative Nancy here, but stop saying this phrase unless you are actually going to do something about this “New Me” thing. I’m sure many of us on social media have seen the various stories and posts of how 2020 is going to be better than the previous year (including the woman who is stepping up on those steps with a box named “edges” signifying she is not leaving that behind lool) and how this year is going to be the best year yet because “I am now a changed person”. But it’s easier said then done. Don’t just say the phrase for saying sake- act on it.

Yes 2020 is the beginning of a new decade and it is good to have a positive outlook of your character for the year; however, it is important to remember that come December 31st 2020, you are not going to see a change in yourself unless you have worked on it
consistently throughout the year.

2. Get an accountability partner.

So, if you are going with this “New Year, New Me” vibe, at least get someone who can be
accountable for this. My suggestion will be to write down all your goals, either financial,
spiritual or character motivated and hand it over to someone who will be willing to check you up on some of your goals you had for the year. This can be someone close to you like a sibling, parent or a good friend. Make sure they are reliable and motivational though, you wouldn’t want it to be someone who doesn’t care about your growth or wellbeing. Therefore, look for someone who is going to add to your improvement and be accountable for your goals.

3. Get a gratitude jar.

I was introduced to this idea by my friend Tisha, who suggested getting a jar and writing on a piece of paper something you are grateful for within that day. By the end of the year, you can empty the jar and read all the things that you are grateful for within that year. I think as we go through the year, we may go through struggles or difficult time that makes us forget the smaller things we can be grateful for. Just having air go in and out of our lungs each day is a blessing, that can be something you put in your gratitude jar !
If you want this year to be remembered as a year of success, this gratitude jar will help you achieve it.

4. Just live.

This point applies to my generation, the younger 20’s or the older teens. I’m sure you have heard the saying “This new decade is going to be wild- you’re going to be married, having kids and buying a house” wait up, hold on a minute ! Please we are just 6 days into 2020 !!
Yes, the next 10 years ahead of you may look like a lot in terms of life changes, and it’s
nothing to be afraid of, but I urge you to just take this year and just live.

There is nothing wrong with staying focused on your future, but also remember to take the time out and just enjoy the year that is ahead of you. My “New Years Resolution” as people would like to call it is to just branch out of my comfort zone and try out new places and new activities, travel more and just LIVE- Not be so caught up and be strict on the goals I had planned for the year.

Thanks for reading this post, I hope you have a pleasant and peaceful year, and here’s to
new posts within the new year “ *clinks glass*

Remain Blessed.

#ESSENCEINTERVIEWS 2

Hey, Hey!

I’m back with another Essence Interview, and this is where I sit down and discuss tips and tricks with people, I find motivational, inspirational and people who have a different outlook on how they live their life. It’s been a while since I sat down with my good family friend Desiree, an Olympic athlete who so happened to be staying at my uni at the time (see how God works ey?) and it was such a great interview, if you haven’t already you can read it here.

So, for today’s post, I have sat down with former blogger Tisha, founder and editor of blog behindtheschmile.com. A blog filled with amazing and relatable posts to do with lifestyle, top tips about friendships and life, and of course her personal experiences that keep us intrigued with joy as we realise, we all go through similar paths in life, isn’t it weird that social media reminds us that we are all the same, like really, really similar in person. Food for thought…

Funny story is, I didn’t realise I had known Tisha from way back, like secondary school times, until a fateful day at a church we both attended during my first year at Uni, and then I saw her, a face too familiar to forget, so I had to approach her, and my assumptions were correct, we had attended the same secondary school and ended up at the same university ! (Really is such a small world) I instantly had to ask her to feature on my blog!

So, Tisha, thank you for taking time out to talk about blogging, so I guess I’ll start with the blog itself, the backstory; why did you start and what made you decide on the name?

So, I started blogging in Year 13; wasn’t anything too exciting and honestly, I didn’t have anything to put on my UCAS lool, so I thought, why not do something that no one else is doing? People have been blogging for a while, but at that time it wasn’t really a big thing. I got with a group of friends and we decided that we should all blog together, covering a range of things from fashion, beauty, makeup etc. At the time I used to get a Glossy Box which was a monthly beauty subscription box, so that was my section I covered every month. So that was how it started, the blog was called ‘Our Thoughts, Your Eyes’ however I never understood the name lool, out of 8 of us, I was the only one that didn’t like the name, but we just went with it.

As you can imagine, trying to get 8 people to run 1 blog- it wasn’t working out well! So, after 3 months, it was only me and one other girl that was writing. By the time I got to Uni, I decided that it was my blog and I was going to handle it on my own. So, I did a series about packing for uni, budgeting, settling into uni. And then I did a post about freshers; because my freshers was a bad experience and it was about relationships during freshers, although I didn’t have one, a lot of older guys were trying to take advantage, so I wrote a post about it- and it did really well. Then I thought, okay why don’t I write about relationships in general. I spoke about networking and being insecure and friendships, which turned into a whole series and did really well- so I thought maybe I can write about something that’s not a Glossy Box, so that is when I started to write more lifestyle/development posts. I then went on a placement year and I had this blog- which technically at this point was only mine, but I still hated the name, I just didn’t understand it, so I decided I can’t keep writing under a name that I didn’t understand, and ‘Schmile’ was something I’d been saying for a long time, when I was in school everyone just wanted to take an ordinary word and make it sound interesting, additionally people were always telling me to smile because I frown a lot, so I turned the word smile into something more interesting- Schmile

At the time, the blog was completely anonymous- I wasn’t associated with it at all, therefore I named it ‘behindtheschmile’ as I was the person behind it writing- so that’s how I came up with the name!

Why blogging, why not YouTube or Instagram, and giving how popular it is today would you have changed it to these platforms if you never started blogging?

Funny story- I actually had YouTube, I’ve never been one to do things by myself and after year 11 had finished that was the longest summer that we had, so me and a friend began a YouTube channel, and she was really into fashion and style, not so much me, but I still wanted to be a part of it, however collaborating with friends isn’t always the best option, so I set out myself and bought a camera and got my siblings to record me doing skincare videos, hauls, OOTD’s when they used to be popular , D.I.Y videos, as these were the most popular videos to film-they would get like 5000 views, and that was a lot back then!

However, I realised, I wasn’t doing the videos out of interest, I was just doing it as those were the videos I had seen. But with blogging, I didn’t see or read any other blogs like the ones that I had written, so it was different.

I stopped the channel because everything felt forced- I would literally make videos on how to bendy roll your hair- meanwhile I’m questioning myself like am I even a hair stylist? So, these things weren’t of any interest to me.

Instagram was never a platform for me to be honest- I took pictures but I never thought of me being someone big on Instagram- so I guess blogging was for me as I like writing posts. Also, I feel like blogging is easy in not becoming famous. With YouTube, if nobody watches your videos- everyone else can see that, same for Instagram. With blogging as I first started, nobody knew I was doing it, and nobody could tell whether it was doing well or not. If I wrote something and it went really well then, I was excited. If I wrote something and it did really badly- oh well nobody needs to know! I think that’s the main reason I stuck with it, if it did badly then nobody knew, but most of the time it did really well.

What did you love and hate the most about blogging?

Love- so many things. When I started blogging and writing things that I cared about, I loved that I was able to articulate my feelings, I felt like I was going through a lot of things and I felt as if people didn’t understand what I was going through, so when I wrote things down it became a lot clearer and complete strangers were able to relate to what I was saying for a long time. Until 2016, I didn’t tell anyone I was doing it, so all the views that I had were from random people on the internet that I had never met, and God bless them all as they made me so happy. I was able to connect with people that understood what I was dealing with and could offer advice to. That was really encouraging as I went through a lot personally, I guess from year 13 to Christmas of last year.

Now hate is a strong word, and it’s the word I’m going to use as when I revealed my identity and was no longer anonymous, a lot of people started to make judgements. People that I know and didn’t know, a lot of people had the need to tell me what I should and shouldn’t write and what not to expose about myself, a lot of people were very judgemental as I like to write in a style that was very informative- so I say what I had been through then how I dealt with it, almost as if I was teaching and I knew better than everyone else, so a lot of my personal relationships became very tense, as all of a sudden they had a lot to say about this girl who 5 months ago never even knew was writing this blog. The reason why this was so challenging was because I started this blog when I was figuring out who I was and while I was figuring that out a lot of people had things to say, so I’ve decided to still write things, but keep it to myself.

How did you balance blogging alongside your personal life e.g friends, university, work etc?

When I first started blogging, it was just for UCAS, so I saw it as another homework assignment to write about, I guess I’m not a social person, so when I got to Uni, freshers wasn’t that fun, I wasn’t involved. So, whilst everyone was out, I was writing blog posts, I guess it was something to fill up the time. Whilst I was on my placement year, I was so isolated, in the middle of nowhere, didn’t know anyone, I was the only person that looked like me ( I worked in engineering), so blogging gave me something to look forward to, so instead of binging on Netflix, I would spend 6 hours a day writing blog posts- and I had like 50 blog posts to go and I was just rolling them out and rolling them out. So, I had a lot of posts backed up that were ready to go each week. In terms of balancing it wasn’t a struggle as it was the only thing that I was doing outside of school/work. The blog became my life. The only thing that was difficult to balance was relationships, as if I would write something and somebody would read it, they could take it the wrong way- and that that didn’t end too well.

What would be your top tips for someone considering starting a blog/website?

  • Write about something you enjoy- don’t do it because everyone else is doing it, if you have something passionate that you want to write about then write.

  • Be able to write about something you enjoy so much, you don’t care if nobody reads it. Love it to the point that you couldn’t care if anybody else noticed it

  • Be consistent on your niche. If your niche is makeup, keep up with the latest beauty trends and products so people are updated, if it’s music keep up with the latest songs being released. However, if you are writing a self-development/lifestyle blog then take your time, making sure to take regular breaks.

 

  • Always put out good quality work- never rush anything. There are posts that I’ve looked at and after I’ve thought to myself- why did you upload this? Just because I had rushed it. It got to the point that I was writing just to upload something every week It’s nice to see improvement though after a while, so its optional if you want to keep those posts up
  • Do your homework, blogging is not as easy as people may think it is. Before you write something, you have to do your research, after you write a post you have to edit it and decide on a good structure. You then have to promote your blog, not just your Instagram page, this includes responding to emails and comments left after each post – it can be a full-time job, similar to a social-media marketing job.
  • If you are self-hosted, you have to learn how to run a website securely, this includes protecting it from viruses and hackers, sometimes you have to invest good time, and well time is money

Any last comments?

Starting the blog was one of the best decisions I’ve made in my life, I’ve met a lot of really nice people and learnt a lot about myself by gaining these new skills. So even if you start a blog and it doesn’t come out as successful, make sure you find something you can learn from it, as there is always something that you can learn.

Thank you for reading !

ESSENCETALKS 3

Hey readers, and Happy New Year !

I’m glad to start off the new year with an ESSENCE TALK, and you can find these posted on my Instagram where I state on my stories that I’m about to write one, and you can send your questions in !

So today’s question to open up the year is:

“Can Religious people listen to secular music ?”

Quite frankly, you can write a whole dissertation, book, journal on this topic alone, but for the purpose of this post I won’t keep you guys reading for ages! So the question states “Religious” and I interpret that as all religions, however I only follow one which is Christianity, so I will be basing it off of that, but I’m sure the points I make can be applied to other religions too.

So to answer the question – YES.
I am a firm believer that you can listen to all types of music, whether it be gospel, grime, RNB, hey even the latest drill songs can be enjoyed if you really want to. Now I understand where the controversy and the confusion may arise as how can you be listening to “Great are you lord” on Sunday and then listen to “Gun lean on the beat as well” on the following Monday- some would say you are just contradicting yourself on your beliefs and what your singing during your gospel music sessions

However I believe that the fundamental difference between the two are the words/lyrics to songs. I’m no music expert, but we can all agree that songs have lyrics and then a beat to it. Now some secular songs may have explicit or demeaning lyrics to it, and even I may find it too offensive, so I simply don’t listen to it- BUT, I must say I do love a good beat anything with a good vibe and a cool production of sounds has me hooked instantly- hence why Afrobeats can be considered one of, if not my favourite genres of music to listen to.

Back to the point I was making (I always seem to digress off topic *rolls eyes* lool) I believe as religious people we shouldn’t let words influence the way we act or our lifestyle. Therefore I try not to take lyrics to heart or literally, especially if they don’t go with the word of God.

It’s quite difficult this topic, because I would be lying to you if I said that I listen to gospel music and worship music 24/7 because in reality, I don’t. But that shouldn’t be seen as a negative thing or a downer on your faith, after all I believe in the verse “So whatever you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of god.” (1 Corinthians 10:31) Therefore if you are following a secular song, I suggest if you feel in your heart that you cannot honour God by listening then simply stop. However I don’t feel it’s necessary to cut all secular music out of your life, God wants us to enjoy, as well as enabled us with the freewill to choose what we indulge ourselves in, so I see it as harmless if you do listen to secular music, I guarantee you I will always be having a Wizkid or Maleek Berry song playing in the background if you’re around me , it never leaves me feeling less religious.

I can’t speak so much on other religions, and if I do, I definitely need to go back and do research before I write anything on here- just so my facts are accurate, but I have the feeling that some religions may be a bit stricter and may prohibit access to

So I end it here, by saying that I believe religious people can listen to secular music, however it’s important to note that some music may have profanities that might disagree with one’s religion, so I guess its subjective and it sole relies on the person to make their judgement on what music to listen to.

Thanks for reading !

when the beat drops dancing GIF

Confessions Of An Insecure Girl

Hey Readers…

So I remember writing this post back in April of what was 2018 , however something prevented me from posting this , but i thought its’s a new year and why let things get in the way of posting your great work and effort … so it’s not an easy post but it i’m sure it would motivate someone who may read this :

So, let’s take a trip down to memory lane… maybe around secondary school times. The early stages of puberty have just kicked in and you see yourself developing in various ways. Ways that maybe you didn’t quite understand. As unsolicited cushions of fatty tissue, unattractive blemishes and wild pubic hair begin to invade your body.

Then the social construct of insecurities comes along, and you start to realise that as your body changes, the images you’re faced with in a daily basis don’t. The covers of Vogue, Grazia and even page 3 of the Sun, look nothing like you. And before you know it, you’re out of the game. You tick none of the boxes when it comes to the world’s perspective of conventional beauty.

When it comes to insecurities, the thought of the body comes to mind, doesn’t it ? Don’t get me wrong, body image- the major player that men and women of all ages have to battle, even as we mature and emotional uncertainties about our bodies tend to remain forever young. This can range from height and weight, right down to awkward physical assets such as boobs or maybe deeper issues such as skin tone. It has been stated that by as young as 13, at least 50% of girls are significantly unhappy about their physical appearance. Upon reading this admittedly, I fell into the 50%.

University intensified this for me. Stepping into a new place where you barely know anyone and first impressions are imperative to making your mark. The first nights out are always the great ones meeting people and making close friends. However, it stood out to me that I was insecure about my appearance when I wouldn’ even wear certain clothes because it exposed certain things about my body . E.g weight gain. I feel like this was the case for many young men who aspire to be extremely built #Gains and women who want the cole bottle curves.

I guess it became quite serious when I was at the point if virtually starving myself, just to get the look that I wanted. The look that “society” deemed to be perfect. Now dieting is completely fine, and it is considered healthy- only when you are doing it the right way and for the right reasons though. Now, I can admit that I was doing it for my appearance and definitely doing the most unadvisable way. I would have frequent periods of simply not eating ; describing it as my way of “fasting” and adding my ideal body weight to my short lost of prayer points.

I fell deep into the dark side of social media and created a new goal for my weight gain.

Approximately 91% of women are unhappy with their bodies and resort to dieting to achieve their ideal body shape which is mostly influenced by social media. I mean amazing bodies are literally glorified all over timelines and explore pages, and while this virtual fit-fam may seem motivating to one individual, it is a detrimental reminder of a constant insecurity to the other.

With around 800 million people using Instagram daily, it is inevitable to be influenced by the photos posted on the platform and not develop insecurities about it. Especially for a young adult in this generation, you are more or less likely to have at least one type of social media platform you use, whether it be Instagram, Snapchat or even Facebook. So you are bound to have encounters of public figures or celebrities with ideal body types which can be discouraging at times to the viewer.

I really got hit with anxiety with my self when it came to social media. I was constantly checking my weight, my appearance in the mirror, how my makeup looked whenever I was out and constantly reapplying that Fenty glow believing it would magically mask how I truly felt. I was so bothered by how others perceived me and would review old selfies to remind myself of the times I felt I was THE actual sauce. It took me a while to realise that it was in this constant cycle of feeling unfulfilled about myself and how uncomfortable I was to be in my own body. I knew I had to control this urge of wanting to improve something with my appearance, even when there was nothing to work on.

So here are some thing i’ve started to note to ease this feeling of not appreciating myself:

Written affirmations : I would write down my best assets and things that I value about myself and read them over and over again until I started to appreciate these things for their true worth.

My Faith: Being a Christian, I turned to God for help and I found out that Psalm 193:14 really aided me in struggling times, but after a while I started to overcome my insecurities with his help! I started to be honest with him about my insecurities and I started to realise that God has definitely made me the way he is for a reason.

So to end it here , I hope this motivated you to accept yourself for the way you are. This was a long one so thanks if you made it to the end 😂,

Thanks for reading and see you on my next post !