Wednesday, April 15, 2015

I couldn't help chiming As Told By Ginger's theme tune by Macy Gray while writing this; "Someone once told me the grass was much greener on the other side. Well, I paid a visit, though its possible I missed it, it felt different, yet exactly the same." Is that the truth or what?
Blazer : ZARA | Dress : Boohoo | Loafers : H! by Henry Holland
We live in the age of comparison; its subconscious. Scrolling through your timeline/feed, you can't help but covet thy neighbour's X or pine after your peer's Y. You want it so bad. Yearn for it for so long. Want turns to need. And soon, you can't envision what live would be without it, so you begin its hot pursuit. Well, I'm here to discuss what occurs once it's been attained; the anti-climax. The "now what?" moment I've spoken about in the past. 
Geffrye Museum, Museum of the Home
I've abandoned some and basked in others, yet the feeling remains exactly the same. Much like the Macy Gray lyrics, I found that yes, I've felt accomplished for a nanosecond and somewhat smug about that particular achievement...all before reality set in. You see, no matter what, there's always a con to every pro. That's the beauty of life; it is perfectly imperfect. Nobody or their life is perfect. Third world relatives look to first world underclass relishing their constant electricity and Liberty, yet the same can be said vice versa of the exotic climate and liberal lifestyles. 
Maturity dawns at the realisation that green grass is relative. Shades can be misinterpreted, and texture can be acclimatised to. What am I driving at? Success is what you make it. The mind is a powerful tool; what you visualise comes to pass in your actions. So learn to live in the moment and relish every second as a blessing. Training my mind to alter my outlook rather than bask in my circumstance is what I believe keeps me accomplishing achievements beyond my heart's desires because I'm focused on pleasing a higher power (God), rather than pitting myself against X or Y (earthly desires/ vanity). I feel like this is the umpteenth time of me drumming in this message, but it still hasn't hit home for me yet, and I'm guessing someone else reading this feels the same. 
"Every great thing starts with an idea, followed by doubt, and finally a resolve to abandon or pursue" Dane Cook

Nevergreen

Wednesday, April 08, 2015

Keeping with the goal of reading atleast one book a month, I was kindly sent 'From the Start' to read and review for you guys. 'From The Start' is written by Melissa Tagg, and is a split-tale of two characters (Kate Walker, the jaded romantic-screenwriter who is fed-up with writing and not living out true love and Colton Greene the retired NFL player who is trying to figure out what his next 11 yards will be post-career). Their lives take several turns winding them through Kate's old home town, and landing them closer together. The chemistry is electric, and you can't help rooting for the success of the characters the whole way through. "Their journey would change them...and just might change the reader" Chapter 20. Kate is more cautious with her heart, actions and speech than the big, bulky Colton with his grand gestures and bold statements. Being the hopeless romantic that I am, I was in lust from the moment his broad shoulders made their fist appearance *swoon*. I REALLY enjoyed reading this novel and was sucked in from the first chapter, and was so sad to turn the last page so I hope you enjoy this review.
Shirt : H&M | Dress : ZARA | Heels : NEXT
RISK-TAKING: Life is about acknowledging what you want and going for it. "Be the girl who takes the risk and goes after what she wants" Chapter 19. I am slowly learning, like Kate, that "If you're going to dream...commit to it. Don't just talk about it" Chapter 4. If its in line with God's purpose for your life, going after it whole-heartedly by perseverance and faith can only work to your favour. If it doesn't work out, you learned some worthwhile lessons along the way that translate to other areas of life. I'm slowly learning to be a lot more bold in my speech and actions, and although its a slow learning curve from turning rash decisions into calculated bold ones, I am learning"to let myself want something enough to fight for it" Chapter 20
Old Trafford & Media City, Trafford
"Sometimes getting something presentable on the outside makes braving the inside easier" Chapter 5
LOVE-LOCKDOWN: "What was a girl supposed to do after her heart dried up?" Chapter 1. After emotional turmoil, we tend to shut our hearts down as a defence mechanism to future heartache. However, this only serves to work against us because we fail to try to truly love. And to love in the greater sense of the word; "putting someone else first" Chapter 10. The alternative will sadly lead to you losing out on awesome relationships because of a stubborn refusal to open up, and be vulnerable. Its unrealistic to live "a life completely free from heartbreak...it'd mean your heart was hard. Steeled. Unmovable" Chapter 18. Successful relationships are built on mutual trust and open communication, which both characters learned the hard way (as most of us tend to). Learning to do that is a slow process, but if both parties are equally invested, its an enjoyable and character-building one nonetheless. 
"Do [you] realise fine is generally code for horrible?" Chapter 4
"There's something God's been teaching me - this idea of letting go"
"The value in stepping back and waiting"
"Discerning when its right to hold on and when its right to loosen up."
"Don't want to waste time holding tight to a season...thats hit its expiration date" Chapter 9
PURPOSE: "Knowing you were created by a God who loves you. Finding your purpose in that and that alone" Chapter 18. Its a message gaining traction of late due to empowering religious visionaries such as DeVon Franklin. I spoke about it in more depth last week, but it is cutting yourself some slack and handing over authorship of your destiny to the Man in charge."It [is] hard to hear God's voice over the demands of her own heart" Chapter 3. Learning to see that the Lord works and deprives only for our good? PROFOUND! "This was what vision looked like. The kind born and nurtured through determination, effort...success" Chapter 3. Destiny and purpose may sound like spiritual hoo-ha, but look back on what you've overcome & try to rebut the recurring thought that it all worked for a greater good. Nope...impossible! Stepping back and doing what makes you happy, as well as enriches the lives of others is the best way to step closer to your destiny. And remember, "don't assume saying yes to one dream automatically means saying no to another" Chapter 14. 
"Peace that came with living own story, knowing every turn of the page and tug of the heart was a new beginning" Chapter 20 - From the Start

From The Start

Wednesday, April 01, 2015

We are all familiar with the saying "fake it until you make it". That's an all-rounder that applies to sex appeal, intelligence...and happiness. There's been a surge in open admittance to depression of late; from the likes of everyday bloggers to Chimamanda Adichie. Unconsciously, we are creating a culture that openly accepts it's ok to feel sad & in one's feelings. However, the flip side is we're, in essence, nurturing a younger generation to indulge in negativity and dwell on their failures, rather than accept it and aspire to success.
Coat : ZARA | Blazer : Fenwick | Shirt : Blanco | Trousers : Wallis
I have come to discover, through my faith, that wholeness is not in the world. Seeking happiness in earthly pleasures and vanity is futile. This, in my humble opinion, is where we have erred. We are running blindly into self-constructed brick walls of goal schedules and time-limited life plans, all in a bid to gain that thing to complete us. Don't think you are exempt because you place more value in philanthropy or family life than career goals. I see you puffing your chest proudly parading your bae's recent promotion to singletons. It's one and the same.
Bloggers Fashion Week London #BFWL
It is only right to acknowledge my foolishness on April Fools' Day, because I truly have been a fool. A fool to think I can complete myself with attainment of a degree or a dream career, or the perfect networking circle. That's not to diminish the achievement of each, but to recognise that each is only a checklist. Let's be real. After each, we find ourselves thinking "what next?", and that's because we've over-valued each goal as the end goal. 
Boots : Dorothy Perkins
The end goal is no goal at all. The end goal should be realising we are not the author & finishers of our own destinies. And without force-feeding my faith to you, it's the realisation that seeking one-ness with God is the only goal one should endeavour to attain but on a daily basis. I have fallen victim to the alternate lifestyle in the past, and have even blogged about it countless times, but learning to set aside deadline goals to God is a new found challenge and one I think will lighten and enlighten others of the load of depression. Not only are you displacing responsibility for failure, but you are also freeing up the weight of planning, mapping and check-listing SMART steps. That's not to say we waddle through life aimlessly, but rather, learn that we are only vessels for a greater purpose than our small minds can conjure up in dreams. 
"A fool thinks himself to be wise, but a wise man knows himself to be a fool" William Shakespeare

Fool to Full

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

In the spirit of continuing with my effort to read atleast one book a month, I was sent a digital copy of Watersmeet by Rachel Cotterill to read and review. Watersmeet (is the first of a series centred around the Twelve Baronies) is the tale of the protagonist, Ailith, who is informed of her innate magical abilities by a mysterious elder, Malachi. Magic is heresy under Temple Law, with a penalty of death, and thus begins Ailith's wonderful secret adventure to self-discovery through self-assessment and experimentation. I can't lie, I found it very difficult connecting with the plot, and that will be reflected in my somewhat lacklustre review, but I will endeavour to shed light on its themes, etc nonetheless in true BLEURGH fashion.
Sleeveless Duster Coat : LOVE Clothing | Jumper : Forever 21 | Leggings : Mango
Dumming Down - What I found particularly interesting was the fact Ailith lived in a patriarchal society where female literacy was unheard of. A woman's sole focus - akin to Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice ladies - was to be married off to a suitable suitor, and live a submissive life as a wife. Ailith is the rebel who was taught to read and write by her somewhat-feminist grandmother, but must keep it a secret in order to be socially accepted. When this issue first crops up, its interesting to note that Ailith also conceals her intelligence so as not to appear more intelligent than her male counterparts, which is an idea that is still evident today. While in Nigeria, afriend of mine informed me that her entire department were deterring her from returning to the States to pursue a Masters degree, for fear of capping her marriage eligibility criteria. Nonsense!  The fact that we still live in an age where it's advised to dumb down so as not to intimidate a man is just...dumb! Surely, your likely match will challenge you in all realms; intellectually, physically, emotionally, spiritually...etc.  
Lunch & Cruise along River Thames - City Cruises
Familial Detachment - I found Ailith's relationship with members of her family somewhat interesting. She is drowned in a big somewhat gypsy-like family, and although the book commences with petty sibling squabbles and personality differences, its clear there's an air of love and affection customary of traditional collective cultures. I grew up in a similar household where my siblings and I were pitted against one another by my parents, yet, inspired one another to achieve our very best. Cheerleaders and competitors, if you will. In this age where competition is feared and stigmatised, I believe an upbringing in such environments is imperative to instil the right drive to achieve great goals from an early age. 
Fur Headband : Primark | Fur Shrug : eBay
Love, Lost & Found - I liked the romantic twist in the tale and how it didn't fall into the predictable mould. Sometimes love stares you right in the face, and other times its in the oddest of places, and I found the book perfectly depicted the nature of love. I will leave that topic to speak for itself as I'm still a learner and cannot claim to be an expert. Watch this space.
"It can only [work] when you add your intention to it. Know how to project your intention" Watersmeet

Watersmeet

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

This post now featured in African Woman Magazine
I endured the first 6 or so episodes of Shonda Rhimes' 'How To Get Away With Murder' and was enthralled by yet another depiction of the 'Strong Black Woman' (SBW) in the media of late. Case in point: Scandal's Olivia Pope, Suits' Jessica Pearson, not to mention the latest offering from BET, Being Mary Jane's Mary Jane Paul. The image of the SBW is being shoved so far down our throats as a flawed mould that it's odd to see why so many aspire to be carved into it in the first place. 
Jumper : TKMaxx | Tanktop (layered) : H&M | Leggings : Mango
All the characters named above are prime examples of the fact the SBW is expected to function without limits; without emotive reasoning; in solitude...in fiction. A SBW is somewhat superhuman; enduring all manners of social ills, caring for everyone else's need but theirs, and much more all without relying on another soul & bearing the brunt of the burden solo. One of my favourite songs from The Hills' soundtrack is Ingrid Michaelson's Breakable, whose chorus lyrics always resonate with me; "we are so fragile like cracking bones, we're all just breakable". The SBW is flawed because it discounts for the simplicity of human nature; we are fragile creatures. It's falicy to think the SBW can survive abuse, under-appreciation, subordination, overwork, infidelity, and all-in-all BS, because she is built of stronger stuff than her counterparts. 
It's taken my own self-analysis & the near breakdown of an SBW, for me to humanise this model & see its unworkability because there was a time (and I'm sure many can relate & still pine for it) I too wanted to be an SBW. Growing up watching my mother as superwoman beat the odds, sh*t on gender stereotypes & still hold down a home, was admirable to say the least...but at what cost? Maturity of mind is necessary to understand that invincibility is mythical. A SBW, like every other woman, suffers, and it need not be in silence; cries, and it need not be in the confines of her room; yearns, and it need not be for material possessions but the love & support of another; works, and it need not be for others to reap the fruits of her labour...and the list goes on. This image of self-sufficiency is damaging young women growing into the mould & falling short when deemed undesirable because they lack vulnerability they were never taught was desirable in the first place.

Hat : Forever 21 | Jacket : ZARA | Necklace : Dorothy Perkins | Boots : New Look
In the infamous words of Ri-Ri "we all want love, we all want the same thing". The need for support is not a sign of weakness but a recognition of the limitations of basic human inadequacy & the realisation of the strength of dependence. The notion that to be "strong" insinuates eternal independence & invulnerability is unrealistic & what's driving rising single-parenthood, divorce rates and infidelity in black culture. It's time we took steps to actively shift the emphasis of the SBW as a power house, and instead choose to highlight her power source: network of friends; a loving & mutually dependent partner; her spiritual faith, etc. 
"Women are never stronger than when they arm themselves with their weaknesses" Madame Marie du Deffand 

Strong Black Woman

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Self-worth and self-esteem is a topic I've been emailed to discuss on BLEURGH time and again. I've always steered well clear of it as I don't believe in sharing wisdom I am yet to adhere to. So yet again, pardon me as I scale the fence of the topic, brushing past it whimsically in order to delve into the issue in seeking it in another self instead. The image of a caped crusader may take different forms of a Marvel comics superhero depending on your generation. Either way, a Mister-fix-it is envisioned. You see, we grew up picturing there'll be this grand master who'll sweep in, dust us off our shelves and help shape us into the image of perfection.
Cape : Turkish Market | Leggings : Mango | Boots : Dorothy Perkins
Sadly, these relationship idols hold no water in reality, because in real life, you must be self-assured before seeking to carve out a unified identity with your spouse. Otherwise, you'll find yourself falling for the mindset that without bae, there's something wrong with you and you fall short of world-set standards thus settling for lesser halves in a bid to feel whole. The solution? Find yourself and purpose first before aligning it to someone else's. Otherwise, you're setting sail on a ship that's bound to be rocked/ capsized by turbulence ahead.
Dinner at OXO Tower
You see, we tend to idolise working relationships, without choosing to learn the craftsmanship that goes into its mechanics. I remember asking my network for its definition, and being moved by one in particular; love is living a life of self-sacrifice. That is perfectly exemplified in Christianity through Jesus' perfect sacrifice upon the cross, but can we take it down a notch and try to adopt that in our everyday lives? 
We live in such an instant world; everything at our fingertips. This is seeping into our relationships through dating websites, apps and social media. People aren't taking the time to find out about one another because online profiles are one-stop-shops of data on your partner, and status updates cut out the hard work of the psychoanalysis that is paramount to learning about your partner and growing together. The concept of a final-stop union is so alien in our world where all things are transitional. Relationships are no longer viewed as an investment to a life long commitment, as we are so easy to terminate our journeys once we hit a bump. Just look at divorce rates worldwide as proof of this. Our impatient generation are not willing to work towards building a union daily, like our predecessors. People don't have great marriages by allowing them to just exist. We fail to understand that relationships are tasking, and take time, diligence & intricate care in order to reap it's rewards in full. 
"When you love someone, you sacrifice" Kiera Cass, The One

Caped Crusader

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