Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Dress : Oasis | Necklace (pendant detached) : Wallis
I'm sure it doesn't take a degree in Literature or Psychology to suss out what this post will be about. Yeezy's words resonate all too loudly right now; "racism still alive, they just be concealing it", and that works both ways. Unless you've been cocooned beneath a rock for the last half of the year, you will be well aware of the facts; Michael Brown (18 year old, black male) was shot dead by Darren Wilson (28 year old, white police officer) in August 2014. That scene alone paints the image of a faithful law enforcer carrying out his daily duties, and his latest statement "I have a clean conscience, [I] did my job right" wont lead you to believe otherwise. However, its the disputed circumstances of the shooting and the resulting violent protests, that has prompted me to (metaphorically) put pen to paper. Facts Only: an officer carrying out his duty wont cause this level of civil unrest in Ferguson. 
Monk Valley, Turkey
Deeply rooted is the issue of racism, the misuse of police force and the interrelationship between the two. I know the E/M readers among you might have your judgment clouded by the media frenzy created by your favourite African American celebrities, to believe Brown was a stellar example of an angelic black youth, but the facts of the case state that he indeed was fleeing from a convenience store which he had just shoplifted from. That does not excuse the latter actions of the officer, but please...let me land! ABEG! So here he is, with his friend, having looted from a store, and is in effect, stopped & searched. I fortunately have never been in such a situation, but was a youth in the era where the media amplified youth crime in London to the point where every hoodie with a tan was being stopped on these streets. So I have heard first hand information of how your fences go up, and how your defence mechanisms come into full effect once you feel that tap on your shoulder.
Pigeon Valley, Uchisar (Turkey)
So let's go back to the scene...Brown is instructed to step to the sidewalk by PC Wilson, and refuses. What follows is skewed facts about a struggle and *BANG* shots fired. Now, here's where I drop my baton as defence counsel because PC Wilson doesn't stop there but continues to fire shots...12 to be exact. 12 shots to stop a minor shoplifter? He stole ONE item (cigarettes) to my knowledge, and he is victim to capital punishment without the justice of trial? Hmm...now the graphic scenes you see on your screens daily makes sense huh? 
Hiking down Uchisar valley, Turkey
However, racism works both ways. Not every young black male is a criminal, granted. But not every white/caucasian police officer is racist! I get that its important to ask the question of whether this would've occurred, had the shoe been on the other foot? But I can't help but feel that the violent civil protests that have ensued in Ferguson don't serve to glorify Brown's legacy, but further reiterate the root of Wilson's actions. PC Wilson claims to have acted in self-defence, and that is easy to understand in light of the first shot fired, but difficult to justify the eleven shots that followed. Now we see minority protesters being arrested for standing up for this point, but their actions serve little or no purpose, other than to worsen the situation. In America, 'deathly force' is justified, and that is the defence adopted in this case. Much like Rice, this initial judgment has prompted understandable public uproar, and I believe in a judicial system based on the facts presented within the isolated confines of a Tribunal. However, Ferguson has witnessed human quakes since August, as a result of PC Wilson's actions and I see no reason why a middle ground could not have been compromisingly reached. 
I thank God I exist in a country that respects my 'Right to Life' - Art.2 (ECHR), regardless of my skin tone, gender or religious belief #BLEURGH

'cause BROWN was BLACK?

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

My avid followers would've spotted a break in the regular schedule; there was no BLEURGH post last wednesday. That's because I turned 25 and was gifted a week long holiday to Turkey! I love travelling and sharing new experiences with the ones I love (and also you guys), so I was thrilled to pack my bags and jet off to the European border/Asia, for some much needed R&R; rest and recuperation. 
Top : BANK | Skirt : H&M
In the week I was away, I was mildly unplugged. That means I hardly checked my social networks; only communicated with my nearest and dearest; and abstained from sifting through hundreds of emails trawling in daily. When I did, I found modern Western life to be consumed with image, frivolities and this 'jumping on the bandwagon' lifestyle. I can illustrate this using the 3 most talked about topics:
1) Kim's 'Break the Internet' PAPER cover - why are we shocked or even willing to discuss this cover as controversial when this woman's fame is founded on a sex tape? NEXT!
2) Solange's White Wedding - Yes, it was a beautiful and effortlessly elegant wedding, but I was so confused waking up to an entire timeline littered with the same image. Geez people! Plant the seed of originality and grow a brain! Must we all post the same thing? NEXT!
3) BandAid 30 - From condescending lyrics to a near white-wash lineup of British talent, I'm not quite sure where to even start with this topic. "Do they know its Christmas?"...I mean, do the artists involved in the project even have a clear cut understanding of the message of Christmas? Because, regardless of what the consumer-product-obsessed-West would have you believe, its not all about Santa, presents and candy canes *sigh* 
Aspendos Bridge, Turkey
Just the thought of sinking back into this culture of comparison and consumerism is unacceptable, so I was thrilled to have gone away and come back with a polished mindset, ready to tackle the future. I'm African, and the concept of R&R is lost on my people. Their idea of R&R is visiting their hometown/village during festive seasons, and I can't knock that because I used to tag along for the ride as a kid and loved the freedom of villa-life. However, having grown up and lived in diaspora only to return to the Motherland occasionally, I have found such villa trips tiresome and taxing. That's not to say I don't enjoy it, or that my parents loathe it, but you spend half your time out there repairing and fixing the home to what it once was, and the other half entertaining the countless guests who'll inevitably drop by upon news of your arrival. No matter how low key you are, these trips seem less of a holiday upon returning to the UK, as you feel spent not just financially but emotionally and physically also.
Necklace (pendant detached) : Wallis | Bag : Warehouse | Sunglasses : Oscar De La Renta
This trip to Turkey however, was God-sent...literally! I'm a Christian, a Historian, an Activist, a Sociologist, Psychologist, Sponge of modern and historical culture...among other things. So I was not even half prepared for this utterly enriching journey. I learned so much about myself as a Christian, a woman and a friend, and left rejuvenated and ready to face the next chapter of my life. Needless to say, this #QuarterCentury chapter of my life is off to a great start!
"Rest is sweet to those who labour" Plutarch

R&R in Turkey

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

This post was inspired by the most recent episode of TOWIE, where Ricky slated his (now ex) girlfriend's bedroom antics as "f*cking boring" (pardon his language). As both my and my friend's jaws dropped to the ground, it opened the dialogue on double standards, sex appeal and the plight of womanhood. 
Dress : ASOS | Heels (not pictured) : Steve Madden
I can't help but look back at some of my judgment in the past on promiscuous females, especially those in the media. These females have been publicly ostracised for their sexual indecency, and made to feel ashamed for openly expressing their sexuality. Again, I will reiterate, I do not condone such behaviour as in the same way men are expected to behave gentlemanly in public, so also should the lady-like standard be held up for females. I am not pitting a gender against the other, merely stating that I wouldn't respect a man who slushed his peen in my face, neither will I accept the same from THOTs. 
Me & Lolli at a wedding
Back to the matter...if these females are cast out for their overtly sexual demeanour, then why is it that same hand (that of a man) points to females again, branding them 'boring' in a negative manner? Men proclaim not to wife hoes because no one is down for the chore of turning a hoe into a housewife. Yet, they are equally unwilling to wife a bore who they'll have to train to turn tricks on the bedroom pole.
Ring & Tennis Bracelet : Swarovski
"A lady in the street but a freak in the sheets" (or its derivative) is probably the most overused rap lyric of all time, and perhaps they're on to something. But I can't help but feel hard done by, as a woman, to have to fit certain criteria for the public and later, in private. Men are just expected to be one thing; gentlemanly. That requires treating your woman as a queen, aspiring to better yourself and your family, etc etc. Yet a woman must fit far too many moulds as wife, mother, lover, to name a few. I blame the likes of Steve Harvey, who have moulded the task of being a woman in the 21st Century as a calculated equation of sussing out how to be "bawdy in thoughts, [yet] precise in words" John Wilmot. It's clear that a man can be himself and still bag a baby momma, a wife and whatever else...but women are conditioned to alter this and taper that, to be deemed appealing to the opposite sex. What's wrong with Jess choosing to remain demure in the bedroom? And the same applies for the alternative...just seems very hypocritical to me. 
Be you a bore or a whore? Be yourself, is all I implore. BLEURGH

Bore or Whore

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

"I am learning everyday to allow the space between where I am and where I want to be to inspire me, and not terrify me" Tracee Ellis Ross
I have been trudging through trying times of late, and I know I am not alone. Darkness seems to have engulfed me, and I struggle daily so hope is not lost. The world seems gloomier, and other people look far more prosperous.  Life has that funny way of reminding us that its not a smooth plane; its full of ups and downs. So I seek solace in the fact that this too shall pass. There is light at the end of the tunnel, and I may not get what I want but I will get what I deserve (which, as a Christian, I believe will be far greater than my wants and hopes).
"If you saw the size of the blessing coming, you would understand the magnitude of the battle you are fighting" Anon.
Shirt : Primark | Joni Jeans : Topshop | Bag : Warehouse | Watch : Guess
"Hope is definitely not the same thing as optimism. It is not the conviction that something will turn out well, but the certainty that something makes sense, regardless of how it turns out" 
Vaclav Havel
One definition of hope is "desire accompanied by expectation". I agree with that definition to a certain extent, but always believed hope was the marriage of that definition with some element of action. Hope cannot be based on inactivity, as that will be futile. But I am slowly learning that 'hope' is the atheist equivalent of a religious 'faith', and that requires supplication of one's burdens unto God.
"Courage is the choice to act in faith while fear is present" Anon
 
"By perseverance, the snail reached the Ark" Charles Spurgeon
It's hard because we live in a world that teaches us that our futures are within our autonomous control, and it is dependent on our level of proactivity, or ability to network, or the intuitive judgment of the individual. To a certain extent, all that is still required, but thankfully my faith allows me not to base my failures or flaws solely on myself, but view it as a bigger lesson leading me to a greater accomplishment...and THAT is hope.
"Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness" Desmond Tutu

Necklace : Abuja Arts & Crafts Market | Sandals : Enugu Market
"Always keep your head up because if its down you won't be able to see the blessings that have been placed in your life" Anon
Hope is the ray of sunshine that I now find beaming down at me; the realisation that life's trials and tribulations are Job-like lessons serving a greater purpose. Document them if you will, because they will serve as great dinner-table fables in years to come. I am choosing to never lose sight of the struggle so that I can truly appreciate the view at the summit. 
"To live without hope is to cease to live" Fyodor Dostoevsky
"Hope is tomorrow's veneer over today's disappointment" Evan Esar

Ray of Hope

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

I was fortunate enough to be a guest of the NSPCC and Childline at a private pre-screening of The Judge starring Robert Downey Jr (RDJ), at The May Fair Hotel last week. The Judge chronicles the tale of a seemingly successful corporate lawyer, who is forced to leave his materialistic comforts of a glass house, sexy wife and thriving career in the city, to return to his small town hometown upon receipt of some tragic news. Aside from the melodramatic cross-examination, I believe it was a perfectly depicted family and courtroom drama that highlighted the flaws in humanity and the legal system. I left already placing it on my Top 3 legal films of all time, behind The Devil's Advocate and The Exorcism of Emily Rose. Without further adieu, its time for a thematic review in true BLEURGH style.
Blazer : Urban Outfitters | Shirt : TM Lewin | Trousers : Littlewoods | Chelsea Boots : Primark
TIME The Judge's strained relationship with his son following a tumultuous past, is heartbreaking and yet, hopeful. I'm sure there have been some, myself included, who have had difficult relationships with parents in the past (or present). At times, it feels never-ending. There is no light at the end of the tunnel in a heated exchange, and once those words have been spat out venomously it is even harder to retract. Allowing past demons to plague the relationship lands you nowhere but in the pit of regret, malice and anger. In order to truly move forward, one must decide to briefly visit the past but resolve to wipe the slate clean. Words and actions affect not only the parties involved, but put a strain on all connected parties such as siblings and partners, and its better in the grand scheme of things, to let peace reign. Time truly is the healer of all wounds, but active pursuit of a resolve within the time allotted to each of us is a better use of the ticking clock. 
PROJECTION The Judge is RDJ's titled father, who has earned the respect of his peers and those in the community, but lacks it from his son. This is the result of bad decision making in the past, and allowing pride to cloud one's judgment. Learning not to project your disappointments, feelings and insecurities on others is one of the greatest lessons in life. It gives you room to trust, to love and to grow as an individual. And it also helps to avoid resentment and hatred from either party. I was prone to projecting my insecurities on others, and judging them by my actions or thoughts. Once I learned to let each person earn my honest opinion of them based on their own actions, I learned a greater deal about humanity as a result. 
REDEMPTION As a christian, it is my core belief that once tainted, one can ask for redemption and be purified. This has enlightened my outlook on humanity, as I am less judgmental about one's character as a result of one act, trait or flaw. I do not believe we are all born and remain one way. I truly do think it is demeaning not to regard others as multi-dimensional characters; funny, smart, loyal, charismatic, etc. If we have sinned prior, and fallen short of His glory, there is still time and room for change. RDJ perfectly embodies this, as the end of the film shows him reckoning his past and present, with a new future that's brighter. 
"Sometimes you've got to forgive in order to be forgiven" The Judge

The Judge

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