Growing Up As The Only Girl.

Oh. So … we’re really going down memory lane huh?

Okay no problem.

It was so random when I thought of the idea of writing about my experiences growing up being the only girl. So yes if you didn’t know I’m one with three brothers all older than me, one residing in Ghana and the oldest being in his late 20’s. Whilst this may not seem like a big deal, there are probably girls in my position with 5 or 6 brothers, I still thought it was great as I could reminisce on the good old days of begging my brother to play Barbie and watch Bratz on TV with me. This will also include my perspective of being an ‘African’ only girl as I believe so well that this will differ from let’s say the… British perspective.

Oh yeah, you can have the chance of gazing into the pictures of my early childhood as a treat, I guess!

Phase 1: Adolescence

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I always wonder how a girl who grew up with brothers who loved football, Power Rangers and colours of dark greens and blue hues, could end up being a girl who is a lover of beauty, hair and female empowerment. Basically, how I didn’t end up being a tomboy. As a young girl I loved playing with my brothers, and I guess I could say the same about them. Let’s just say at this age I was prone to receiving the palms of my mother’s hand against my thighs in quick motion if she caught me playing with her Fashion Fair foundation or caught me walking in her red pair of heels across the flat. Goes to show that from a young age I was never drawn to those things my brothers loved. Every Christmas I would still crave the longing of a Barbie doll whilst my brothers ran around the other Toys R Us isle for the latest action figure of Spider-man and Ben 10.

Additionally, I had a neighbour who lived 5 steps away from me (literally) who I played with almost every single day. We’re still close to this very day and I must say she was my style icon when I was younger. From teaching me to gel up my hair, to what clothes I should wear for that summer fun fair to applying my first set of individual eyelashes for a party I went to in year 9. So most of my after school evenings were spent at hers. So, around this time, I guess it wasn’t such as big deal that I was the only girl. Yes, I longed for that same Sister-Sister style relationship I had with another girl, but simply I enjoyed being around my bros. There were definitely some hilarious memories that I will never forget- just not the same if I grew up with girls I would presume.

Phase 2: The Awkward Stage.

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Ah who can forget the joyous days of secondary school? The times where you would go in and laugh till tears came out of your eyes, the times where hormones are raging and you’re going through mixed emotions- emotions that only a fellow female would relate to.  See it’s quite difficult to adjust to bodily changes around the female region (you know what I mean, I’m not going into detail, everyone should have done GCSE Biology) and not having anyone to talk to about it besides my mother was not easy. I guess this is the stage where I needed the ‘sister’ I so longed for the most. By the time I joined secondary, my older brother had endured at least 2 years of school, whereas the oldest had already progressed towards college days. It still baffles me how I managed to organise and do my prom all by myself with the help of my mother of course. But even that- the age difference is a bit you know somtin somtin -from time she said I should do pin curls or geri curls to prom I knew yeah “Mum you are really not familiar with our time period are you?”  I must say I have a lot of female cousins, and just like my old neighbour, my summer holidays and half-terms were spent at theirs. Whenever I had an occasion to go to, be it wedding, birthday or any party they were always at my beck and call. For hair and makeup- I guess my personal beauty team, only we were related and I loved them very much lool.

So, with this growing adolescent stage came the time where you may hear the frequent statement of “You are now the woman of the house” “You have to cook for your brothers” etc bellowing from your mother’s mouth. My fellow Africans, why is it that the women is automatically seen as the lady of the house in terms of cooking and cleaning whereas the men are ushered into their careers of money-making, high-position corporate places? It is 2019, and we have come along way for the female. And that’s why I love empowerment so much, but I must say during this time those words began to remain forever in my memory. It is then that I wouldn’t say I gained a bit of envy, but I soon realised my ‘place’ in the household in comparison to my brothers. I don’t know if this was a way my mum used to prepare me for adulthood and motherhood as in reality you do have a duty of providing for your family, maybe a better method could have been used, which could have stopped me comparing myself to how my brothers got treated in the house.

Phase 3: Present

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So here is 19-year-old me, currently typing away right now amongst other things I have to do. I guess the big question is- did I struggle growing up as the only girl, and the answer is no, I haven’t struggled. It’s been a crazy journey and being the only girl has impacted the way I think till this day. Yes, having a sister would have been nice and eventually I will get one once they get married, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that being an only girl has taught me so much about the male mindset. How they think, develop and mature. It’s actually quite funny.

And besides, a sister is so much more than having somebody who shared the same womb as your mother, I consider my friends from school, from church and my relatives all to be my sisters.  I wouldn’t change any arm wrestle, any playfight and any moments of struggling to hold the Xbox controller for anything. It’s the memories that matter to me the most.

So, if by chance you are reading this and you are an only girl in the midst of pulling your hair out of your scalp to help cope with the stress- don’t worry, it’s okay. Years after, you will look back and be grateful for these memories that will never you, and it is with this that I end my post.

(waits for applauds)

Too cringe? Lool

Stay Blessed x

#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 !

What I’m Leaving Behind In 2018

Hey Readers !

So I’m back with a new post today, and I just had to squeeze this in before the year ends, otherwise the title of this post would be completely pointless.

I’m sure if you’ve been on YouTube lately then you’ve seen the “Things We Need To Leave In 2018” videos piling up on your watchlist. For those of you who remain oblivious to it, it’s just a video of people’s gathered thoughts and opinions of what they believe shouldn’t be carried into 2019. You know, AirPods, bad frontal wigs, Fraud Bae… the list goes on and on and on.

But on some recent self-reflection, I decided to come up with my own version of things that I am not taking into 2019. Now these aren’t materialistic things like wigs or whatever, they are more characteristic and behavioural traits that I think should stay in the year of 2018. So here I present to you some things that I plan to leave here, and hopefully you can relate to these and follow me into it as well !

 

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1. Not sharing my blog enough.
So, I’ve realised that I’ve been holding myself back when exposing this blog. Truth of the matter is, to this day many people don’t realise I blog or that I own one. They may have seen it on my Instagram page that I post pictures and often use the popular phrase “Link In Bio” on almost every caption. However I still feel scared, yes scared, to share my blog. Currently I only share my blog on Instagram as I feel that other bloggers are around, so sharing my blog will be the norm, just how someone shares their hair page, or their music page. HOWEVER, when it comes to other apps such as SnapChat or simply through word of mouth, I never managed to accomplish the act of sharing my posts there. I guess because I know the people on my Snap, therefore I was scared of what they would think of me doing so, and a part of me doubted if they would even read my posts.

In this day and age where everyone is starting up their channels, and gaining follows on all social media apps, little me with a blog on the side must admit it can be hard to compete with others, but what I guess is my New Years revolution is to definitely share my post on all my social media platforms and to actually tell people about it. I mean, it’s not compulsory to read my posts, but if I can bless/inspire/motivate one person by my blog then I think I have achieved my purpose of the blog.

2. Comparing myself to others.
We have all heard the saying, “comparison is the thief of joy” and that is the harsh truth. I’ve realised this year that I have been comparing myself to other people’s success and gains, and that has had en effect on my self-esteem. Not only comparing my blog, but other things regarding education, self-development and also personal life goals. This is a big one for me in the upcoming year, as I have learned that everyone is walking their own paths and is going at their own pace, therefore if I cam slower or quicker than anyone in achieving something, it wouldn’t really matter, we are all chasing our goals individually!

3. Contradicting myself.
Another phrase you have all hear is definitely “PRACTISE WHAT YOU PREACH” and I can admit that hasn’t always been the case for me. Numerous amount of times, whenever I am writing a motivational post, I plan exactly what I am going to tell my readers, things they should cut out of their lives and things they should bring into their lives. But me being me, I fail to state my failures and my trials. Things like praying to God and reading the Bible, chasing your dreams, not letting anxiety get to you, The reality is even after I finish writing my posts, am I strict in doing so myself? I can’t come on here and talk about all the things that would solve a problem or situation for somebody reading, without incorporating these things myself. Everything is easier said than it is done, however I would be contradicting myself, or just simply being a hypocrite if I don’t practise the things that I preach on here- It simply gotta go in 2019 !

So to end here, I don’t see tis post as just a negative rant of myself, but rather an acknowledgment of my wrongdoings in the year. As I go ahead to change these things in my life for the new year, I also urge my readers to evaluate their own selves in preparation for the new year. So this is it for me in 2018, and I can’t wait to be back writing with you guys in 2019.

Have a lovely, prosperous and blessed new year !

It’s December: What are you waiting for ?

Hey Readers !

Funnily enough, I remember writing this post back in November, so initially this post was meant to be entitled ” It’s November: What are you waiting for?” but I thought to myself- Hmm, before I type another word, why don’t you apply this to yourself first before you start writing and directing people to make choices with their life you haven’t even done yourself ( slowly whispers “Efe you really tied it” to herself)

Background story over- the purpose of this post this week is exactly written in the title. We have successfully made it to December 2019. Now I know not all my readers are religious, but I would like to say personally that God has been very good. When you realise it, going out and making it back home safely is a blessing and that has occur for every day of the year, and God definitely deserves all the glory for that !

But at this time of the year, you see the various tweets, Instagram memes and our dear famous sister reappear on our various social media pages. I don’t know her name- but she looks like a Beatrice… So we are … going to call her Beatrice I guess…

peniel-enchil-pics-10-bellafricana-digest

This time of year, we are always talking about the things we intend to do for the next year. Whether it is to start that new diet, or to start that new business plan, page or YouTube channel. Whether it is to start on a new project or to start saving towards that dream car of yours. It is always projected over into the new year. Yes of course, it is good to have visions and dreams for the new year, after all a new year presents that start for everyone. But really, what’s the harm of starting that new thing in December? after all we do have 31 days to start ahead, so why not just – start ?

My friend always used to say “life is too short”, and I’m sure we are all familiar with the phrase YOLO as well, and I certainly have applied that to my life. This very blog that you are reading this post on is a perfect example. I had been contemplating starting this blog for God knows how long and I was also adding all the worries of life on top of it- so it seemed as if this blog was never going to come into existence.

But I revisited the phrase, and simply thought- Life is really too short ! Not to scare you or anything- but our days here are numbered on earth, and wouldn’t you want to have a peace of mind that that thing that has been your long lasting passion was developed into a great idea ?

For a long time, I had suffered from what is known as the “what will people think of this” syndrome. I thought to myself, I can’t do this and expect people to actually pay attention to this, its pathetic. I do want to write a post about my initial thoughts about this blog- but that’s another topic for another day.

Let me not digress any further. The point is, I think we need to just start whatever is bugging us to do, and this doesn’t have to be massive things such as buying a house, because obviously it takes some time and preparation. But whether it is investing in that book, or starting your own website. Even calling that friend you have been planning on speaking to ever since September- NOW IS THE TIME.

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Don’t let December and this Christmas atmosphere deter you from getting head start on that dream you have been thinking of every day since the year started. Even if it’s a brief plan or blueprint of how it would plan out to be, there’s no harm on starting a bit early, to ensure that it all works out successfully.

Thanks for reading and Stay Blessed x

#ESSENCETALKS 2

Hey readers !
It’s good to be back with a second segment of Essence Talks, this is where I get people to send me a message on Instagram (@essenceofefe) about a question or a controversial topic that they would like me to talk about or comment on. I really enjoyed the last segment where I talked about the topic of pre-marital pregnancy in christianity. If you haven’t read it, you can catch a sneak peek of it here.

I must say, I got a range of wild topics -from plastic surgery to the topic of black people not supporting each other to even Madeline McCann ! (but I small small love me a conspiracy theory though) However, I decided to pick upon the topic sent in by one of my readers-  university (Here we go again…. lool)

The question sent in was –
“Is university meant for everyone ? ”

NO 

Simply put. NO
(unless proven otherwise.)

Now I can end the post here, since I’ve addressed the question there. It’s not one of those things where i’m undecided or I’m stuck in the middle of maybe and no – it’s simply put, I believe it’s not meant for everyone. But I guess it would be kind of a wacky post if I just end it here- it’s not an Instagram Q&A – you’re expecting  full answers – so let’s dig in shall we !

giphy-2So, the way I see it is that in my 2 years of being at university, I must say it is a crazy, crazy ride. Apart from being entirely responsible for your own self whilst being at university, it can also change your life drastically, unfortunately for some this being a negative.

1. Most people, not all, but most people would leave home for university. Many may move out to a campus, many will even move cities and some might even move countries. With that being said, your Mother, Father, annoying brother who refuses to put down the toilet seat and that annoying sister who refuses to stop touching your makeup bag simply isn’t there for the majority of your university life. Whilst for some, this may be a dream come true, for others it slowly becomes a thing that affects them deeply. Simply the loss of family support systems around them can really damage a person. That’s why I wouldn’t completely recommend jumping out to the furthest city away from your parents if you know you need them around you every step of the way for moral support- campus life and learning by yourself is definitely not for everyone.

2.Following from my first point, the INDEPENDENCE is real. University is the only time where you are fully responsible for going to that lecture, going to that tutorial, emailing that tutor, submitting that coursework- it’s all up to you. You would think that gaining independence would be a great thing (which honestly it is) but if you haven’t been slowly eased into it, it can be very difficult to grasp. For some people, they need that extra added push by a teacher or a loved one to tell them to start on that essay or to finish revising before going on a night out. This is how people get led astray and end up loosing themselves as they don’t have anyone to guide them on making university work

3.Quite frankly, university isn’t for everyone simply because there are different paths to set goals and plans. Going into 2019, there are no surprises that there are various ways of  earning a living without going through the traditional route of university. Hey, our good friend Ferdi coming fast literally secured himself a deal with BooHoo simply because of a funny video that went viral. I’m not saying to get a friend to record a funny video of you, be put up on social media and it blows- because it doesn’t always happen like that, let’s just think of this guys fortune as luck. But getting to a career through the world of social media, apprenticeships, freelancing, businesses are just some of the numerous ways people are avoiding the £9.25 k amount of uni fees. Quite frankly, not every single career needs a degree, sure some qualifications would look nice to show you have studied the expertise of a field, but as we are progressing into 2019, it is slowly beginning to become an optional choice to have one, not an essential thing.

So there you have it, I decided to put it into 3 points to stop me rambling on about the topic, as I have plenty of more things to say, but I could be typing for ages. This was not done to put anyone off going to university or to any form of higher educative institution. Rather, it is just an insight into my opinions of everyone applying, I guess you can compare it to certain foods, you either like it or you don’t- University is for some and for others, not so much !

Thanks for reading !.

#ESSENCEINTERVIEWS 1

Hey Readers!

So I’m back with something exciting and new, since September I’ve been pondering on this new segment called ESSENCE INTERVIEWS, where I interview successful people on tips to do with motivation and their journey to get to where they are now. It wasn’t until the beginning of October that I put this plan into action, and by the beginning of November, this planned was birthed into reality !

So I start off this segment with a very dear friend of mine, someone I’ve known since I was like 4 years old and someone who inspires me more than ever- Desiree Henry. Desiree is a British sprinter from North London who competes in the 100 and 200 meters races. So far she’s acquired an amazing bronze medal in the 2016 Rio Olympic Games and a silver medal in the 4 x 100m relay in the World Athletic Championships in 2017. Amongst these many achievements, she is an Adidas ambassador and lover of photography ! It was such an honour to catch up with her since I haven’t seen her for over 7, maybe more years ! I’m glad that I got the chance to start off my new segment with her, and I look forward to continuing with this with more great people to interview! Check out the interview here :

  • So Desiree, how did you know you had a passion for athletics ?

    I feel that my passion for athletics began when I attended multiple competitions and just found that I was winning ! Of course everyone wants to be the best, everyone likes to win and feel successful and have their moment, and after winning a few races, I just wanted to do everything in my power to maintain this and be successful, become an athlete and be successful at it, so I believe my passion started from there.

  • Do you feel pressure to stand out amongst thousands of athletes that are around the same age as you, if so, how do you deal with this pressure?

    Most definitely , in terms of the pressure I have to realise that, yes athletics is an individual sport, and the competitiveness is extremely high in the UK, but I think what puts things into perspective is when I went to America, and found that not only are there girls my age running just as fast as me, working just as hard as me, but it was the numbers. I’m sure that there are 100 girls that could do what I do, and that could knock peoples confidence. But that could make me think how am I going to make myself feel even more special, I just think to myself my drive is completely different to their drive, it’s just remembering who I am, remembering the work I have put throughout the years and not discrediting it and just giving myself a pat on the back and realising that all my efforts haven’t been for nothing, and I’m going to be successful regardless, even if it means I’m my own cheerleader you could say.

  • What is your favourite thing about being an athlete ?

    Hmm, my favourite thing about being an athlete would definitely be the travelling aspect of it, being an athlete has opened up my eyes to so many cultural experiences, and not only cultural experiences but being able to experience it through travelling and going to different countries, a big thing for me when I started off being young, was travelling around the UK. I thought that was the greatest thing, but now athletics has brought me to places such as South Africa, China, The Bahamas, America etc. It’s just incredible that I’ve had these opportunities to go to these places ,so that’s not only comepetition experiences but life experiences, that have been amazing and have been able to achieve through athletics.

  • Do you feel that the sporting community is lacking in black females, form diverse areas e.g London ?

    To an extent, yes. I am lucky in the sense of  the generation of sprinters we have are top female sprinters , that are London sprinters, so I feel like we have the representation there. Of course we have to think about the future, what are the future generation looking like for upcoming sprinters ? and I wouldn’t say a lot of them are from London, but I think we are lucky for the support and for me to do my job which is to represent London the best I can, even if that means winning a medal. Just giving the younger generation, hope and a future. Then I would also look at a wider scale, London is partially represented in out sport, but on the grand scale, are black women represented in sport in general ? If it just means that I can do my role and get my face out there as much as I can, then I’m doing a great thing, we are on the right path of having well represented black female athlete.

  • What makes you gain confidence in times of anxiety, for example when you have a huge race coming up or a big interview etc ?

    Well for me, when it comes to races, I’m at the stage where I’m running against my heroes, my idols and all that kind of stuff. It’s really easy to crumble and get sucked in and forget all he hard work you’ve put in, but now I’ve been able to train my brain, that when I’m standing there on the line, those days of sweat,blood and tears that I’ve put in at training, it’s going to be for a reason. This is the moment that it’s all been worth it for, and I think it only takes me a few seconds to simply realise that and once I believe that all the work that I’ve put in has been worth it, and all the work is going to help me with my performances, I just feel unstoppable! I can look to my left and to my right and be like ” right, let’s go, bring it on!” because I’m confident in my work.

  • In terms of motivation, what would you tell your younger self ?

    I would tell my younger self, the hard work that you’re putting in right now, maintain it. It’s going to define you as a character and separate you from not just being an average sprinter but being one of the best in the world and a world class British athlete, so I would commend myself on that, on my perseverance and determination. I would also say- enjoy the journey ! You are going to experience a lot and in experiencing alot, take a moment to just appreciate every single opportunity. Whether that’s going to a new country and racing there- take a moment to walk around and explore the country because another thing is, you’re gonna travel the world a lot, but just make sure you get the real experience and not just see the tracks, the hotels and repeat that cycle but try and get that experience in. 

  • What would you say to someone who wants to follow in your footsteps and gain exposure for their career e.g boosting themselves on social media ?

    I would start to think how can I help myself, and I would start with things such as charity events. That way you are doing a selfless act, something that is not going to bring financial gain out of it but to gain experience and communicate with people, that could be an amazing thing. So by charity events, this could be giving away old clothes or speaking at schools etc. Because it ultimately helps you to build your own character and it gets you think to think from another perspective, so if you’re going to a school and you are going to speak to people from another generation, if you’re an individual or an athlete, everyone has had life experiences, and everyone can learn from a moment and if you can share those experiences and what you’ve learnt to to a younger generation, again through that you have done a selfless act- share it on social media! It’s not a problem at all. And yes people can say, “oh well, you’re only doing it for social media clout” but also you did something amazing, you took time out of your day, not getting paid by it, but taking time to help others, I feel like that is a  major important thing. It’s important to build yourself first, build your own self confidence and to get to a place where, you don’t feel as well that you need outsiders to tell you are great or amazing, but simply spending time and building on your own self confidence it the best thing. 

  • And girlllll, I need some fitness tips so, what are the essential/starter-kit basic things to getting that body in shape

    Right, we are getting right in there ! When we say “fit body” people have to remember, it is not going to happen overnight. If you are going to the gym, I’m telling you don’t look in the mirror the next day, thinking you’ve made an improvement – because you haven’t. But this shouldn’t discourage you, but I think the number one thing is – brace yourselves- CARBS !
    As much as we love our rice, bread, pasta etc, that is the number one thing I would reduce on my list. I personally don’t have any carbs, but for someone that isn’t an athlete and they are doing their day to day things, I would reduce the amount. By this I mean having 1-2 carb dishes a week, eventually progressing to having no carbs at all. I tell you that is where a lot of fat comes from.
    Tip number 2 – everyone loves a good ab circuit workout. and if you can implement at least three ab workouts a week, roughly 10 exercises for each of them =, I feel like that’s an amazing foundation for you, just to introduce exercises into your body. Nothing too strenuous, something easy, maybe if you are watching a Netflix show or just chilling, something that is not taking major time or is taking out time from your busy day. I believe those two, would be my top 2 things, if you want to start your journey to a healthy and fitter lifestyle.

  • Any lasting things you would like to say..

    I used this quote the other day “dreams don’t work unless you do” and this can be applied in every aspect of your life. How I relate that to me- if I don’t go to training, if I don’t put in the work and effort, how am I going to be successful ? You or anyone else can apply that by making sure your going to lectures, going to seminars guarantees you graduating or getting the grade that you want, whether your a teacher or something, going to work inspires the next generation and helps them too. So that has been my quote for the day, – ” dreams don’t work, unless you do.” 

So that’s the first post of this new segment completed ! I’m so excited for starting this and can’t wait to see what come out of this. I would like to thank Desiree for contributing to this and you can find her on :

Instagram : desiree_lh
Twitter: @DesireeLHenry
Facebook: Desireehenryfanpage
Youtube: Desiree Henry

Thanks for reading !

 

 

 

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 !