Wednesday, January 21, 2015

I won’t lie, I’m not an open book. In fact, I have been likened to an onion in the past; the process of revelation is several layers deep. Just last week, in an endeavour to open up to someone I tweeted “Sharing is overrated. Conclusions drawn. Judgment made. Advice doled. Redundant #BLEURGH”.  However, after watching ‘Thanks for Sharing’ over the weekend, I can surely see its benefits.
Coat : Warehouse Exclusive | Crop Top : New Look | Skirt : DIY Ankara
Thanks for Sharing chronicles the life of 3 men undergoing the 12-step recover process for their sex addiction (nymphomania). Being of African descent, I must apologise for my lack of knowledge or awareness of addictions and their effect. It is somewhat stigmatised in my culture as a product of sin/temptation/ the devil; nothing that cannot be overcome through divine intervention/rituals (dependent on your belief). However, my eyes have become all the more exposed to nymphomania and the griping effects it has on its victims after unpreparedly watching ‘Don Jon’ on the plane ride home from Nigeria last spring. I was stunned at the dependency the addict felt to the cathartic release derived from pornographic or explicit material, and was troubled by the hours wasted on sexual gratification as a result.

Much like ‘Thanks for Sharing’, ‘Matters of the Heart’ is a play about 6 characters leading very different lives, but brought together by one issue; love. Both productions may have very different subject matters, but what bonds the two is their depiction of the benefits of sharing. In ‘Thanks for Sharing’, group meetings for recovering addicts is portrayed as an open forum for mutual support for addicts at different stages of recovery to motivate, console and just share their journey with one another. In ‘Matters of the Heart’, sharing is a lot more organic, with girly catch-ups at work and male bonding at the bar, being the forums for divulging intimate details of their love lives to one another. Singles share their plight to find The One with struggling married wives who’ve lost the spark, and it is the unity in their shared woes that love is an ongoing battle that strikes me.
Necklace : Primark | Heels : Red Herring (Debenhams)
We are all fighting our personal battles, and it is always advised to open up to another for advice, care, love, and support, etc. ‘A problem shared is a problem halved’. I’ve never really understood it. In fact, I’ve fought a one-woman-war against it. It might have something to do with me striving to knock down the image that women are weak or emotional creatures? But as I’ve matured, I have found that strength is relatively defined, and the emotional nature of womanhood is not actually a bad thing. In my bid to fight off this image of dependency, I became so bogged down in my issues that my problems were always resolved through a subjective lens. Yes, I reach the end goal eventually, but perhaps it would have been quicker and less painful, had I chosen to share my woes with another who’d grant an objective approach and offer a forum of solace and support for me to lean on instead. I am in no way fixed, and neither were the addicts in the movie who may (or may not have – I am REALLY trying not to give away any spoiler alerts in case you wanted to watch it yourself) have relapsed, but I am learning to see the benefits of opening up and reaping the rewards of emotional intimacy with a trusted party (be it family, friends, or partner).
"Life is a journey you never have to take alone" Thanks for Sharing. BLEURGH!

Thanks for Sharing

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

I walked into this year in fighting spirit, and thought it rather fitting when Harper Collins sent me the latest Ruby Redfort installment; Feel the Fear, to review. The protagonist, Ruby Redfort, is a young, strong female secret service agent for Spectrum. Yes, I'm not this novel's target audience, but I thought my younger readers would appreciate its content. I thank the author, Lauren Child, for indulging my inner child with codes to break and a variety in dialogue, structure and plot twists, that kept me both entertained and intrigued the whole way through. The book oddly begins with more than a few prologues, perhaps for new readers like myself, illustrating a few occasions where Ruby stood out as an extraordinarily fearless kid. The plot kicks off, and at first its just a regular investigation of unusual thefts, but as the plot thickens, Ruby is thrust into more dangerous circumstances that she must overcome to complete her mission successfully.
Shirt : H&M | Capri : Vintage M&S
In true BLEURGH fashion, there were a few quotes and themes that stood out & I thought it only right to bring it to your attention. The first being the difference between fearlessness in youth and stagnation in adulthood. It is made clear that Ruby is like no other, but as evidenced by her predecessors (i.e. Harriet the Spy, Powerpuff Girls or even Totally Spies...remember them?), the flexibility of a gymnast to weave out of life-threatening hurdles, or the tenacity to overcome the villain, are characteristics of youth. The women in the novel seem jaded with the idea of adventure, and are far more preoccupied with the idea that 'great hair opens doors'. I was the kind of kid who did exactly as I was told, but dabbled in what I was warned against on the side. I thrived in overcoming the fear of the unknown, and lived by the mantra of 'everything was worth trying once'. You'll all know I traveled to Turkey for my birthday, and as pictures document, I hiked down the Uchisar Monk Valley and it was terrifying. In that moment, I looked to company for assurance and spotted OAPs trekking fearlessly and had to psyche myself up to complete the hike. And I was thrilled I did, because I learned in that moment, that age was no barrier to accomplishing goals. I had grown into my comfort zone and had forgotten what it was like to be Ruby; fearless and fearful. You have to look fear squarely in the face, and decide that the end result is far greater than the fleeting fear felt.
Göreme, Turkey
'Fearlessness is often regarded as one of the keys to freedom. Is it always a positive quality to be fearless?' Dr Josephine Honeybone. That's an interesting question, and one I've been learning a lot about in my faith journey."The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom" Proverbs 9:10. My faith tells me that fear is actually an invaluable quality, one just has to fear the right thing or person. We get so bogged down by anxiety in social settings or butterflies in new situations, but that's futile because we walk out of those situations changed in one way or the other. Rule 19: Panic will freeze your brain. Whether it be for the better or (in our mind) worse, we leave different to how we came in, so there's a lesson learned regardless. Upon gifting Ruby a pencil, the Doctor advises her to 'avoid the sharp end', and I thought that was synonymous with the events of late; Charlie Hebdo. There's something to be said of caution and decorum, and learning to fearlessly combat adversities craftily, as perfectly illustrated through Ruby.
Rule 16: Even the mundane can tell a story. I believe that we are all angels to someone else. Of late, most especially, I've found those around me prophetically sharing their life's miracles with me, and their mundane experiences clicking with my story (present and future). Its made me retrospectively view my journey as nothing short of miraculous, and in that, I have learned that the future holds far more than my heart desires. That's coming from a faith perspective, but the same can be said for those who've worked hard and are overcoming their own missions and battles at the moment; it WILL be worth it in the end. You WILL come out victorious. I loathe the scathing critique of 9-5'ers from celebrities and entrepreneurs, because I see the value in the mundane; without which our streets wouldn't be cleaned, our apps wouldn't function without adequate terms and conditions, or our technology wouldn't exist without the tireless innovation of brainiacs in the lab. It is from the small, that you learn to appreciate the big. So lap up the mission you are yet to overcome because the triumph will be epic!
Rule 44: When in a tight spot, buy yourself some time: One minute could change your fate.

Feel the Fear

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

I know my British readers will be throwing shade at my adoption of American lingo, because we refer to watercoolers as water dispensers here, but the alliterative intonation was just beaut. That aside, there's nothing quite like office banter. Now, the nature of the profession I've chosen doesn't grant much room for that, however, the foundation of camaraderie is undeniably evident at the Bar, but I digress.
Blazer : Marks & Spencers | Jumper : H&M | Shirt : Blanco | Jeans : Dorothy Perkins
Tote Bag : Dorothee Schumacher | Bag : ZARA
I read recently that Mark Zuckerberg intends to read a book a fortnight. Rather ambitious in contrast to my resolution to read a book a month, but comparison is the thief of joy right? He (and I) are on to something though, and its worthy of note. As I basked in the word wars of opinionated colleagues on my first day as they debated the plot twists of Disney's Frozen, I could not help but steal a smile. I've always endeavoured to remain conversant on key social issues, and that is aided by BLEURGH as it motivates me to keep abreast with current affairs and enrich my cultural capital. However, sporadic glances through tabloids and infrequent news-watching meant that I was so ill informed, I blagged most conversations.
Tatler Fashion Breakfast at Dorothee Schumacher
2015 is the year where I am getting my groove back. That means reading a book a month, engulfing my world in remaining abreast of current affairs by actually absorbing the content churned out periodically by the publications I subscribe to, not to mention still keeping on top of my non-legal interests and hobbies. I feel like we are taught from a very young age to chase after what we want wholeheartedly that we forget to live in the moment and understand that success is as much about the process as it is about the result; as the former makes the latter far more entertaining in dinner party tales by the fireplace. What I mean by this is, I was so blindly chasing after my dream that I was losing the elements of who I was, and as a result, I was less likely to achieve that dream.
Turban : AfroCarribean Hair Shop | Necklace : Abuja Arts & Crafts Market 
Boots : New Look | Watch : Guess
Getting one's groove back means delving head-first back into society; collectively moaning about TfL standards for instance. Not only will you not be considered the office mute, but you become a well-rounded individual as a result. This is something that has been identified as lacking among females, and although we consider gossiping our favourite past time (which hasn't been assisted by the surge of modern technology at our fingertips which makes cyberstalking, screen-capturing and shade-throwing all the more accessible), there is a clear void of substantial conversations taking place among young women of my generation. Its a wonder as we are far more vocal than our predecessors, yet we choose to remain silent when our voice matters most. I challenge you all to embrace a more literal life this year. Whether it be reading more publications or watching the news as you get ready in the morning. Whatever it may be, increasing one's social awareness is key to progression. Stuttering your way through a question on your stance on terrorism might be an interview nightmare, but it should also be somewhat considered as socially unacceptable. If an issue affects a quota in society, its worthy of your opinion. Most especially in election year. My hope is that the more enlightened we become, the greater we will choose to participate in key decisions being made on our behalf. 
Young people...women...ethnic minorities...marginalised groups in general? WE HAVE A VOICE! Its time to use it. BLEURGH

Watercooler-Worthy 'Wagging

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014 has been a journey of a year, and it hasn't been the biggest teacher of a year in comparison to 2013 or previous years, but it doled out a few lessons in its time. I've always been a driven individual; setting goals and deadlines and achieving it within the set time frame (give or take a few minor extensions). However, 2014 refused to heed to my regular routine. In fact, it heeded to no routine. It exalted me, yet broke me down. It praised me, yet tore me apart. And in this time, I learned not to seek help from my surroundings, or seek solace within, but turn to a higher power that is far more knowledgable about how to overcome adversities than a million minds put together.
Turkish Hat : Uchisar Market | Jumpsuit : ZARA
What stunned me was the silence that followed. As a proactive individual, silence was alien to me. 2014 taught me that busying oneself in silence can have positive and negative results. We live in such a self-fuelled economy. We are taught that the root of our success is within, and the drive behind it, is in our control. So from a young age, we are coached to set goals and take active steps towards achieving it. 
2014 taught me that life steps are uneven, and some steps may take longer to climb. Learning to work smart rather than just tirelessly work, is the best lesson ever. I wore myself out thinking and rethinking how to order my steps. What routes to take? What detours to avoid? What I failed to see is that some steps in life have already been ordered, but may have obstacles to overcome before firmly placing one's foot on solid ground. 
I cannot pretend to be over the hurdle, or even optimistic about what 2015 has in store. However, one thing is for sure; I was born to conquer, as were we all. Life has its challenges, and with it comes failures and victories. Neither the former or the latter are better than the other, but lead to life changing lessons all the same. In moments of stagnation, when we see nothing further and feel no fuller, we must learn to view life as an endless staircase. That pause? The wait? Its merely enroute to higher ground, and its ok to take a break to recoup and regain strength to climb higher, because no step is too high to climb. 
Cheers to an even better new year, full of triumph and home truths. BLEURGH!! 

Step Out Of 2014

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

*Sips Twinnings Lemon & Ginger Tea* Yasssss Hunny! Grand epic juices flowed down my Instagram feed this weekend! I'm sure you all heard, but in case you didn't? Let me fill you in on the details that seeped into the public domain. Karrueche Tran broke up with Chris Brown, and he embitteredly leaked intimate details of their relationship (from threesomes to contractual obligations stated from the outset) and the circumstances surrounding their breakup (she allegedly cheated with Drake). *smothers tea bag with manuka honey and pours steaming hot water into mug* See, Chris Brown rightly thinks we were all entitled to this information because we are wait, we are friends...hmm scratch that, we are...we're NOTHING to them!
Dress : Red Herring (Debenhams)
I've been thinking about the growth and popularity of gossip of late, and this incident stood to magnify the problem with modern culture; we are too engrossed in the life of others! I for one, scrolled, scowled and was scorned by the tea spilt by Mr Sweet Boy Brown. I just don't understand why there was any real need to tarnish her image publicly. "Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned" William Congreave penned, but I guess  in the age of metrosexuality and mitches, the lines are blurred. My guy was BURNT and felt no way about letting the world see just how wounded he truly was, and point fingers at the root cause while he was at it.
City of Bath
My brother shared a similar exposé with me recently; one of his boys had stumbled across vindictive messages on his girlfriend's phone, informing him of just how exactly she had been cheating on him. My guy then screen captured the texts and put her on blast on his Facebook. Literally a whole album showcasing how his ex had broken his heart. I love a good bit of gossip, God forgive me, but I feel like a line has to be drawn when it comes to the intimate details of one's relationship. I was reading Absolutely Lucy's post on the 10 signs your relationship needs to go offline, and found myself nodding in concurrence on all points made.
Necklace : Abuja Arts & Crafts Market | Watch : Guess
Sandals : Enugu Market
We live in this super snazzy tech world where we feel like our own PR. We can photoshop our lives and crop out the nonsense we'd rather hide from the world. However, in this age of 5 seconds of fame, it seems we've become far too engrossed with sharing than we are living. If Brown had only taken a minute to truly reflect upon his emotions, he'd have exercised some self-restraint before embarrassing Karrueche and himself (and the third parties involved *wink wink*) publicly. I'm not alien or immune to this. I, myself, have previously shared one too many details of my relationship on social networking sites (from Facebook profile pics and relationship statuses to BBM status updates), and was forced to deal with public intrusion when sh*t hit the fan. What happened to intimate details remaining behind closed doors? Perhaps there are some benefits that come of sharing the inner workings of turbulent relationships online; there's been greater awareness of identifying the common traits of domestic abuse and means of its prevention. But for the broken hearted, side-chicked, sore ego'd people out there? Reel it in.
Relationships "should be a private pleasure, not a public boast" Jason Mason Brown

Public Relations

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