#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.

fenty beauty

 

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.

becca

 

 

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.

nyx

  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.

mac

 

 

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?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Culture is Not for Sale !

So, this week I have decided to blog about my opinion on the idea/theme/social construct or whatever you would like to phrase it as – Cultural Appropriation. The whole scepticism around the concept, and how it has affected me directly or exactly how it has affected girls my age or around my ethnicity.

But first, let’s define the term as: “the unacknowledged or inappropriate adoption of the customs, practices, ideas, etc of one people or society by members of another and typically more dominant people or society”

In simpler terms, it’s the process of taking another group’s culture, or traditions or lifestyle and adopting it as your own, and therefore making it accepted in your culture, rather than theirs, hopefully that makes sense?

The term arose around 2016/2017 and it came to it’s prominence due to its association with celebrities such as Kim Kardashian, Katy Perry and Justin Bieber all facing criticism over it. Even celebrities we recognise today such as 6ix9ine who regularly use the derogatory word “n*gga” in his lyrics is facing high criticism from let’s say the “black culture” after using the term quite frequently

So why would anyone be offended over this idea? Let’s look at it in depth. The whole process of it is when you are taking a person’s culture (mainly of a lesser dominant race) and using it as your own. An example of this could be when Kim Kardashian wore braids and posted it on her Instagram account. On the outside, there is nothing wrong with it, after all she is just wearing a hairstyle, isn’t she? However, the problem starts when she referred to the braids as “Bo Derek” braids after the famous actress who wore the hairstyle in a movie. Many black women were highly offended by this act, stating that she completely disregarded the history of braids and cornrows, as it can be traced back to relating to slavery, as those were the styles that women wore before they boarded slave ships and had their hair removed, it was apart of their culture and customs, and unfortunately it was stripped away by the slave owners, due to their wanting of them to assimilate to western types of hair which is mainly straightened.

Other instances include singers such as Katy Perry being criticised for wearing Geisha which is the tradition of Japanese culture which includes wearing pale white make-up and elaborate hairstyles. This stemmed from her American Music Awards performance in 2013. Many people again were hurt and offended by the act, which she later apologised for. Now there is not anything wrong with wearing other people’s cultural attire or materials, it can simply mean you show appreciation for their culture and are interested in it. However, when it is culturally accepted by a person of a dominant race, whilst the weaker race is criticised for it, it becomes a problem and many people who view it happening on social media become very offended by it.

So, what is my opinion then? I completely understand the hatred and the annoyance coming from the receiving end of cultural appropriation. After all, imagine wearing something you find attractive, but when a person of a higher status or wealth wears it they are praised and adored for it whilst you are ridiculed for it. However, I believe we have to look at it from both sides. Taking the example of black cultural appropriation, with hairstyles and facial features such as lip shapes, aren’t we doing the same by doing processes such as contouring noses and wearing weaves and wigs? There is the argument of it being protective styling and beautiful, however we happen to take the culture of Europeans or Caucasians by wearing straight wigs, even with the emergence of frontals to make it look extremely realistic (as you can see I am digressing into hair talk)

But the point is, in realistic terms, we take things from people’s cultures all the time, sometimes without realising that we are doing so. This is not necessarily wrong, as it can be considered as a way of appreciating the beauty in one’s culture, I think where the problem lies is when the persons culture is not being accepted for its originality and praised when someone of a different culture takes it into the public light. Whether culture appropriation would ever be solved is the question, as time goes by, people’s cultures are being shared and intertwined with others rapidly. So, should we start to accept that this is occurring, or should we put an end to appropriation due to the harm that it causes to the lesser dominant race ?

Thanks for reading !

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.

My University Experience SO FAR

My University Experience Blog –

Woow 2018 definitely needs to slow down, because it is already March and I need to catch up!  Happy New Month guys!!

So, as we are already into the new year I decided to reminisce on how my Uni experience has been so far :

First things first, I can start off by saying that being at university has enabled me to learn so much about myself in terms of how I deal with my schoolwork, my friends, my social life and my extra-curricular activities. These past few months have really allowed me to evaluate how I am especially without living with my parents and also with moving to a new city in the UK. So, I’ll explain exactly how my experience has been so far…

Let’s talk school work. So, prior to starting university I had no idea what the transaction will be like from a-levels to degree type of studying, so I wasn’t ready for the big jump in terms of how lectures worked and how coursework was planned out. I found attending lectures in my first couple of weeks quite simple as I had just started, and I thought it would be best to not miss anything important- but by the time I got to the end of my semester the familiar phrase “you’re gonna miss some of your lectures” became to common in my case. I had never attended a proper lecture before coming to university, only through an open day visit or if I attended a guest lecture, so the whole system of adjusting to lecturing style was new to me but I eventually got the hang of it.

You think A-levels gives you independence? wait till you reach university level- now that is where the independence really lies. You are an individual learner to the core! Yes, they provide you with resources and work to benefit you, but it is solely up to you whether you want to use them to your benefit or not, at the end of the day they all impact you on how well you perform at the end of the semesters. But I learnt from a-levels that I am extremely extra so whatever resources they give me I just use it to the fullest anyway, even if it not that necessary to my work.

Okay, enough about the boring topic of work, we know that university doesn’t only include school work but also a lot of social activities on the side. Now my uni (which I can’t disclose for personal reasons and also because I’m not trying to do the most lool…) offers a great university experience especially in your first week or 2 of starting. Once I arrived I immediately knew I didn’t want to be that person who stayed in their room and didn’t socialise with anybody, so I made an effort to speak to my flatmates and to get to know people who I had never come across before, and I am glad that I made that choice as It helped me to make friends whilst I was just getting to know the university for what it really is.

Likewise, with extra-curricular activities and societies, I also made the effort to join some clubs that would not only get me out of my comfort zone, but that would also make my university experience a successful and interesting one. We all need a break from revision or coursework once in a while, so I made the effort of joining societies that I would love to do in my spare time. For example, I decided to let my creative side come out a bit, so I joined a society called Open Minds who specialise in drama, poetry, music and spoken word. It was actually a great experience as I ended up becoming an intern for them and also performing one of my spoken word pieces as their showcase which I really loved doing. There are bound to be some sort of society that will cater to your personal interests, so I would encourage you to join some!

Money- What is that ?? no really what is money in university please? It is somehow non-existent really because it just disappears out of your account just like that! And to think I was watching tons of financial preparation videos before I reached uni to prepare myself in advance. Yeah, knowing me and my spending habits, it never worked really. I probably need to do a separate post on money and finances at university, and the lessons I learnt from it.

Well since I am only in my 2nd semester of my 1st year, there isn’t really much I can say, but maybe I will do an updated uni experience, when I finish 1st year or 2nd year, so that concludes my blog post.
Thanks for reading!